Sunday, 30 April 2017

The Importance of Books {And Everything Else, In Between} - Discuss & Wonder #7

I was actually debating on whether to post this discussion or not. It doesn't really have to do with just one topic, but several of them which I really wanted to share with you! I've been doing some research on banned books and I've also been thinking about our ability, as readers, to judge books according to what is morally right and what isn't. To find their faults and point them out, without being rude but respectful.

 This way, we get to educate people through platforms that were made for us and wouldn't have possibly existed without us. Something which doesn't necessarily mean that, people will agree with what we have to say, but they sure as hell have to respect and accept it without making a fuss about it. 

It was very difficult to find a title for this so, we're calling it

First of all, I find it very unfair to ban books. Well, that might sound a bit unconventional but, I'm not in favor of the word ''ban'' at all. There are books that some people might love, some people might not enjoy that much and others might even hate. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and that's why we write reviews and converse with each other about books and everything that has to do with them! 

If I don't agree with the points a book is making and what it's trying to promote, I won't pick it up. But at the same time, I won't judge people who have decided to give it a shot. Simple as that. There are so many things going on in the world right now and, books are definitely at the very bottom of the list of things we should be banning. There are going to be exceptions of course but, that is my opinion on the matter!

It's more than okay for us to like and be inspired by different things, stories and people. Banning a book, even if some people find it offensive is definitely not right. I always do my research before reading something which I feel like is the best course of action. That's why for me, the synopsis of a book is probably the most important thing. If it intrigues me and makes me want to read a book immediately, I won't even bother with reviews. If I'm not that sure though, I will check out some spoiler free reviews that might be positive or negative. Which doesn't mean that I will be affected by them or base my own opinion on them. 

 If you're aware of the topic a book you picked up deals with, then you're also aware of whether you'll enjoy it, find it lacking in certain parts or end up hating it. I might end up not enjoying  a book that I chose to read of course but, I won't expect the same from everyone else who has read it. I will express my opinion, explain why it wasn't enjoyable and respect other peoples' thoughts on the matter. 

I also feel like this is something that readers develop through the years. When I started reading - ages ago mind you - I certainly did not know how to choose the books I wanted to read. I actually read whatever at the time, which sounds quite ridiculous because if I were to go back and re-read all of those books, I probably wouldn't enjoy half of them as much as I thought I had back then. Our taste in books certainly changes as time goes by and I personally choose what to read based on my mood but, this process is different for everyone. I have loved books that, the majority of readers hated and disliked ones that the majority loved. Which is the way things - everything really - work.

Back to banned books and the meaning of the whole thing. This is the definition of  ''Banned Books'' according to Wikipedia:
''Banned books are books or other printed works such as essays or plays which are prohibited by law or to which free access is not permitted by other means. The practice of banning books is a form of censorship, from political, legal, religious, moral, or less often commercial motives.''
Banning books is something each government decides to do. What I mean by this very unspecific statement is that, if a book is banned in the United States for example, it doesn't mean that it's also going to be banned in Sweden or any other country for that matter. Some libraries also require applications in order to read some of these banned books and they are of course kept in separate ''restriction'' rooms. Something that I personally find completely ridiculous. 

*You can find some of them here.*

I'm not saying that we shouldn't ban books. I believe that, the ones with questionable content that should not be promoted in any way, shape or form, should be banned. But banning books ''on grounds of being repulsive'', or ''for portraying residents of a specific area as unflattering'' or even for ''attributing human language to animals and making them act as humans'' is completely unacceptable. 

Most of these books have been around for centuries, they are classics that the world still supports and there's definitely a reason - or various - for that. I'm not saying that they don't have their faults. But what each individual considers as ''faulty'' or ''problematic'' is definitely dependent on our way of life and thinking. On the way we grew up and even on our morals and culture. We study them at school, pick every single word apart in order to look at what's in between the lines and identify what is implied rather than what is actually stated. Which is a process I actually find quite fascinating and immensely enjoyed. The same can't be said for everyone of course which is something that I can totally understand and have no problem with whatsoever! Why would I?

I can understand why a book that has sexual elements in it, might be offensive for some people. Or why books that involve gay or lesbian - and whatever else - characters, might not be enjoyable for some readers. But I believe that, we can read a book about assault and know what is right about it or what is not. Some people might not read books, the topics of which their religion or beliefs might not support. And there's nothing wrong with that. 

*I seriously do not know the right way to express myself on religion and books so, I sincerely hope that I'm not disrespecting or offending anyone right now.*

We can read about a book that deals with mental illness and know whether the way certain things are depicted is accurate or not. That is completely up to the reader to decide and I do believe that, you can relate to books with these topics better if you've been through something they deal with but you're also entitled to an opinion, even if you haven't experienced it yourself. We see people suffer all around us and I sincerely hope that, we aren't naive but educated where topics like these are concerned. Whether it be a book, an article and essay. Anything really. 

Humanity would be so much better if every single person on this earth read books. Which is something that I believe with my whole heart and soul.Books are the best storytellers and teachers. No teacher of mine has ever taught me how to survive in the world we live in, without losing myself in the process. How to make my dreams come true and fight hard for all those dreams I want to actually turn into reality. And no teacher of mine, has ever taught me how I should treat those around me and have respect for every single person that I meet. Which might sound a bit exaggerated but, unfortunately, it's the truth. 

When you focus on who's the best and neglect those who have some difficulties learning because nobody even bothered showing them the right way, then you really need to evaluate your way of life and the choices you've made throughout it. When did a test score become more important in the eyes of the world than kind souls and beautiful personalities? When did appearances start having more importance than what's hiding on the inside? And believe me, I've met beautiful people whose perfect outside did nothing to hide the ugliness that hid underneath. I'm getting a bit carried away here but, I really need to get this off my chest.

To conclude this very long post, I just want to say that, we connect with every single book we choose to read, we relate to its characters and get our hearts broken or mended according to what happens in it. And we're so proud of it, it hurts! In the best way possible! You cannot imagine how happy I am when I get my hands on a new book, open it and smell its pages. And nothing relaxes me more than stepping into a bookstore, forgetting the world around me and losing myself in all these stories resting on the shelves, waiting for me to take them home. Sometime, someday, definitely! 

Sorry if this post is kind of too long! It was certainly a first for me and as I started writing, I could not stop until I had everything I wanted to say in front of me! Hope you found it enjoyable and managed to read it til the end! 

I'd really love to hear your personal thoughts and opinions on the several matters mentioned in this discussion! I probably had more to say but, I might be back for a more detailed discussion on some of these topics!


2 comments:

  1. I agree that reading books is a fantastic way to broaden our horizons and that nothing should be banned (though I don't know that I think every book is appropriate for every environment, such as a school). People should be able to decide for themselves what they want to read and then they can form their own opinions about it.

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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    Replies
    1. I agree that some books are probably not appropriate for school libraries etc, but that definitely doesn't mean that, they should be banned because some people don't agree with them!

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