Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Banned Book Week: Christine Johnson Guest Post

I am so excited to have Christine joining me today on the blog. Christine' debut novel Claire de Lune is racing up the charts and I am so happy to have her posting with me.

Christine grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana and attended DePaul University where she met her husband. She majored in Political Science which she says that, "for the record... is a totally useless degree" (which makes me laugh). She lived in Chicago for several years with her husband and held a string of jobs while there and eventually moved back to Indianapolis. She now lives in an old house in an old neighborhood with her husband and kids along with too many books and a weakness for anything sweet. She says that if writing were a full time job, she would be a workaholic and that she likes making things up and writing them down and having people read them.

I asked Christine to share her thoughts on book banning and censorship and this is what she had to say...

I’m going to say something now that seems really obvious to me, but I’m afraid to voice it because what if the book banners haven’t thought of it yet?

But still. Bravery in the face of uncertainly and all of that, so here goes:

Book banning is stupid. It’s stupid because IT DOESN’T WORK. It BACKFIRES.

Do you have any idea how many books I’ve read specifically BECAUSE THEY WERE BANNED? As soon as someone doesn’t want me to read something, I want to know *why*. I want to see what all the fuss is about. And I’m an adult. As a teen (a very, very responsible teen - seriously. I rebelled, like, not at all,) I was even more that way. It’s . . . I mean, it’s so common it’s a *stereotype*, right? The teen who does something just because they’ve been told not to? Because it’s not “good for them?”

There is no teen on earth who sneaks around reading Moby Dick under the covers, or behind a math book on the bus. (If there is such a teen, I’d like to talk to them. For real.) But any book that promises trouble and possible moral ruination? High school students will work to procure that book, and then they will go to great lengths to read it. In other words - they’ll act around banned books the way most adults wish they’d act around Shakespeare.

When books are banned, they get national media attention. Twitter lights up in their defense. And their Amazon sales ranks? Those go crazy. While it’s hard on an author in many ways to have their work attacked by book banners, it often serves as a sales boost for those particular titles. If book banners don’t want students reading a particular book, they’d be better off quietly pushing it to the back of the shelf. Demanding that it be off limits just makes it more desirable. Authors and publishers are constantly trying to generate buzz - and book banning does exactly that.

So, no, I don’t want to see books banned or challenged, because having access to quality literature - even if it’s about difficult subject matter - taken away from teens makes me cringe. But I hope that when those same teens hear the voices of would-be book banners raised in protest, they’ll do exactly what I have done so many times. That they’ll hop in the car and head straight to the nearest bookstore or library, to see for themselves what all the fuss is about.

Wow... amazing words, Christine! Thanks a million. Make sure to visit Christine HERE and see what else she has up her sleeve when it comes to reading and writing. Have a great day everyone!

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