Via Tengrain, I realize that this week has been Banned Books Week. Here's a rundown of the ten most "challenged" books for the past fourteen years.
My mother never forbade us from reading any book, no matter how young we were. She always figured that reading anything was better than reading nothing at all, and that she had instilled her values into us when we were little children, so we could "handle" just about any material. She herself had been granted full access to an uncle's library when she was young, and she followed his example of allowing full access to the family library. Hell, even a collection of salacious medieval tales (much along the lines of the saltier sections of The Canterbury Tales) wasn't off limits... and Till Eulenspiegel was a favorite character of mine even as a child. Even if there had been a copy of the dreaded Necronomicon around, mom would have placed no limitations on it.
Banning books is always a foolish attempt to ban thoughts, a theme similar to the concept of "Newspeak" enumerated in George Orwell's sometimes banned 1984- if you haven't read this particular book, it's doubleplusgood. My attitude is that, if your view of the world can be utterly changed by reading one particular book, then the problem is with your view of the world. Sound ideas cannot be destroyed that easily. I have to confess that I don't celebrate Banned Books Week myself, seeing that I'm a proponent of reading everything any week of the year. Just as I've long suspected that Valentine's Day is a plot to sell cards, flowers, and chocolates, I suspect that Banned Books Week is a plot to sell Captain Underpants books- not that there's anything wrong with that. While I don't celebrate the week per se, I fully support those who do, largely to spite the sort of people who support book burning.