miércoles, 24 de septiembre de 2014

My favorite banned books

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by @jesspetrella

There’s a certain magic in being told you can’t do something.  If teachers (and parents) could only understand that the word makes you want to do it even more, then they probably would dispense with the notion. But, even after all these years, we keep telling people not to do stuff. Not to think stuff. Not to read stuff.

Now, this is not meant to be a deep and philosophical post, so let’s just focus on the books you are, apparently, not supposed to read.

I was introduced to the idea of you can’t read books very, very late in life, for my parents never even mentioned it. I read Lolita, for example, at an age when I’m not wholly sure it was appropriate and if Saramago and Dan Brown thought they could surprise me with their theories on Jesus and/or the church, then they don’t know the kind of things I found in the library at home. Point is, I didn’t know, as I do know, that the moral police was out there, ready to tell you what you can and cannot read (possibly to try to influence what you can or cannot think).

Most of the so-called banned books are not banned now, though I’m sure there are many people who still consider them books to avoid. (The dangerous ideas you might GET from them, oh no …). And so, in honor of those people, I now present a LIST of my absolute favorite banned books I learned many dangerous things from them, indeed. How to think for myself. What freedom meant. The importance of speaking up.  

Just imagine what would happen if all kids read them.

(In no particular order)

1. The Great Gatsby. I always wanted to write this book. Not to write like Fitzgerald, I wanted to wake up having already written this wonderful book about not so great characters  who are, nevertheless, as real as they come.
2. Nineteen-eighty-four. How to explain fear if you can’t quote 1984? How to talk about dystopias? How to understand totalitarianism?
3.  Gone with the Wind. Scarlett O’Hara showed me woman can be strong. Against all odds. Even when it seems impossible.
4. Fahrenheit 451. Ironic, a book about banning books ends up banned because, well, it shows us that banning books doesn’t work. I love my ironies.
5.  Uncle Tom’s Cabin. History, and the best way to learn it. The best way to find an interested audience. Oh, Uncle Tom, how much you showed me.

How much they all showed me. Those on the list. Those new books who are not on any list but that people insist should be. There are many lessons to be learned from books, banned or otherwise, but the most important one, perhaps, is to make up your own mind. About what to read. And, also, about what to think, and what to do. 

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