CELEBRATE THE FREEDOM TO READ
September 27th - October 3rd
It's BANNED BOOKS WEEK and we're recognizing this important week with BANNED BOOK features from our authors.
I was raised in a very conservative home, in a very conservative church. I was taught not to drink alcohol, not to watch R-rated movies, not to swear even. And definitely not to have sex before I was married. I embraced those values and lived them to my best abilities.
Yes, you could call me a prude and I suppose you would be right. But living my life the way my parents raised me has made me very happy. I'm thirty-six years old. I've been married now for sixteen years and my husband and I have five children. Life certainly hasn't been without it's ups and downs, but I've stuck to my conservative roots, and living those values has brought me the greatest of joys.
Since I know you're wondering, no, I've really never tasted alcohol. Really. Not even at my wedding.
But that's not the point.
Despite my conservative values, I am not in favor of book banning. There are certainly books I choose not to read, and even more books I won't let my teenager read, but I don't believe there should be one person or group dictating what the masses are and aren't allowed to read. Life is about making choices. If we aren't free to make our own choices then, as a society, we've gone to a very dark place.
Last summer my book club read "The absolutely true diary of a part-time Indian." There was some debate over whether we were going to read it because that book was number 1 on 2014's most challenged book list. But we did read it and I loved it.
There were definitely themes in this book that went against the way I've chosen to live my life, and I wouldn't be comfortable with my fourteen-year-old son reading it until he's older. There were parts of the book that made me cringe. There were other parts that made me blush. There was language I would never, ever use myself. But I enjoyed reading the book because it gave me a peek inside the life of a person who is very, very different from me. I think that's important. Life is sometimes gritty. It's raw. It's messy--more so for some than for others. Me being able to read about people whose lives are so very different from mine allows me to keep an open mind. It helps me remember that all of us, as humans, share some very basic qualities and we can all relate on some level, no matter how different we are.
For me, that's the crux of it. Books that push the limits, books that go places most people haven't gone, those are the books that shed light on our differences. But they are also the books that highlight our similarities. We all need acceptance. We all need love. And we're all searching for our places in this world. I wish we could remember that when we're faced with our differences, some so big they seem insurmountable. I wish we could remember that we are all the same in the most basic of ways. Reading books is one of the very best ways I know of to learn about each other and come to understand and appreciate our differences in a way that brings us together, rather than tears us apart. These books need to be written and they need to be available.
I'm grateful we live in a time and place where we are all free to be different. I hope we can celebrate these differences and let them bring us to a place of mutual love and respect rather than letting our differences come between us. Happy banned book week!
by Teresa Richards
A princess, a pea, and a tower of mattresses. This is the sliver that survives of a story more nightmare than fairytale...
Maggie Rhodes, high school junior and semi-reformed stalker, learns the tale’s true roots after a spying attempt goes awry and her best friend Kate ends up as the victim of an ancient curse. At the center of the curse lies an enchanted emerald that has been residing quietly in a museum for the past fifty years. Admirers of the gem have no idea that it feeds on life. Or that it’s found its next victim in Kate.
Enter Lindy, a school acquaintance who knows more than she’s letting on, and Garon, a handsome stranger claiming he knows how to help, and Maggie is left wondering who to trust and how to save her best friend before it’s too late.
If only Maggie knew her connection to the fairy tale was rooted far deeper than an endangered best friend.