This week is Banned Books Week, a celebration of reading. The event is intended to highlight free and open access to information, discourage censorship, and to recognize persecution of writers. This year’s theme, “Banning Books Silences Stories” is particularly relevant in today’s climate.
Banning books is as old as books themselves. Books might be banned for any number of reasons, like they’re considered politically sensitive, not accordance with specific religious values, or they contain graphic content. All of this is subjective, of course.
Many classics that most of us read in high school are perennially banned in some places, like Catcher in the Rye, The Great Gatsby, Lord of the Flies, Grapes of Wrath and 1984. Other banned books may be more surprising, like The Lorax and Harry Potter.
Thinking about Banned Books Week made me flash back to when I was in junior high in the early 1980s. A frequently banned book at that time was “Forever” by Judy Blume, a coming of age story that focused on teenage dating and sex. For the time, it was quite racy. At my Catholic grammar school not only were we forbidden to read it, but the school was so concerned about it that they sent out special letters to parents warning them about the book.
Of course this encouraged us all to race right over to the Kroch’s and Brentano’s book store to buy a copy and see what the fuss was. Pretty much all of the girls in my 7th grade class read this book, and making it forbidden just heightened our interest.
We would read the “dirty” parts aloud, discuss them at great length, and then hide the books under our mattresses. When we finished reading it, we would pass the book along to the next girl. In this age before HBO and the internet, “Forever” was how many of us first learned about things like losing one’s virginity, hand jobs and period sex (apologies to any sensitive readers).
“Forever” was also a love story, and for many of us it led to a lifelong love of what my roommate calls “trashy novels” — books that focus on love and romance in all of its forms.
Speaking of love stories, I’m pleased to announce that today is the publication date for my newest romantic fiction book, “Rock Star Teacher”. This is the second book in the Oliver Boys Band series, a contemporary romantic comedy with some serious themes.
This book, like the first in the series, will be rejected for publication in some countries where book censorship is the norm, so it seemed perfect to release it during Banned Books Week. My fiction writing career is a labor of love, and it’s made possible by living in a country where, for the most part, I can write whatever story my imagination creates. I love sharing my stories with you.
If you want to check out my latest book, there’s an Amazon purchase link below. I hope you’ll like reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Let me know what you think, and if you are so inclined, please leave a review on Amazon.
Until next time, keep on reading banned books my friends.
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Check out my latest book release, available now on Amazon in both kindle and paperback via my Amazon Affiliate link. For more books, check out my Amazon author page at amazon.com/author/rosebak.