I read across-the-board as a kid, and I often read on board, on a plane to wherever, or waiting for a plane to somewhere. My family moved around a lot and traveled extensively, and books helped me get through many idle hours. Books also kept me company in new places with new faces. Books were a way to practice my mother tongues. They provided a sense of the familiar, an anchor. They were also a wonderful window to the new cultures I was introduced to, a fast track to things I knew nothing about but couldn’t wait to learn.
To me, books are much more than just stories. Books are language. Books are culture. They are time machines and travel agencies. They can take you back and give you glimpses into the future. They can take you to the bottom of the ocean and the far reaches of the universe. Books can teach you new ways of thinking and seeing, but they can also give you confirmation that you are not alone, that everyone, everywhere, has felt as you feel, has dealt with what you are going through, has harbored the same doubts, the same hurts, the same fears. And survived.
Reading is much more than a highly recommended hobby. Reading can change a life, save a life, and denying others not only a pleasant time but a shot at solace is a power no one person should have. It’s a power individuals wield all the same, and one of things Banned Books Week is all about. This year marks its 30th anniversary, a reminder that open access to information and the freedom to read and to explore and express ideas is still a contested matter.
The road to banned or challenged books is paved with the good intentions of well-meaning citizens. Removal requests center on books that contain profanities, racism and/or sex, most are aimed at schools and school libraries and signed, “Won’t somebody please think of the children?” I’m a parent. I totally understand the urge to protect. And I know they say it takes a village, but I’m sorry, some things you just don’t get to decide for my family and what my children read is one of them. When it comes to books, the choices your family makes cannot, should not, extend to mine.
Besides, as John Green has said, “Oftentimes what people are getting upset about is precisely what the novel is arguing against.” Books are sneaky. Books are wise. They are subversive and full of hidden truths. There is no room for dictators in a democracy. No single person should be able to decide what the rest of us read. What if what you don’t want to hear about is what someone needs to hear the most?
Has a book ever changed everything you thought you knew about something? Can you imagine a world without them? I shudder at the thought.
is the author of a death-defying love and lust triangle set in the Big Easy titled Alex Rising
, and Perpetual Pleasure
, a hot and heavy novel starring a commitment phobic immortal and a stunt performer bent on showing her everything she’s missing out on (Ellora’s Cave Publishing).
Dita lives in Scandinavia with her striking Viking and their children. She believes that sex is a positive life force, that love can last a lifetime, that one day she will write full-time and that in 2014 Brazil will once again win the World Cup. To see how it all plays out, visit Dita’s Den
Next week I’ll be headed to New Orleans and the Authors After Dark Convention. It’s my second AAD con and my first attempt at being on author panels. I don’t talk well in front of people so this should be rather interesting.
One of the panels I’m on is about keeper shelves and what’s on mine. I’m still trying to figure out what I can’t/couldn’t/wouldn’t-ever-want-to live without in regards to books. But, while I’m trying to figure it out for myself, I thought I’d ask you about yours.
What books are on your keeper shelf? What do you read again and again and again?
Tell me. Tell me all the yummy titles you’ve been reading lately, and tell me what you’re reading them on if you’re reading digital.
Myself, I’m reading a few different things right now…
First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones
Scrumptious by Amanda Usen
Guarding Morgan by RJ Scott
They’re all different voices, different types of books, different tones… And well, you knew I would have to be reading an m/m…grins.
So, what are you reading right now and would you recommend it to a friend?
The Great American Race has been postponed due to weather. Torrential downpours. Crap.
I was looking forward to the race today. I had everything all planned out. Had my Sunday to-d0 list all written out (yes, I have different to-do lists for each day of the week) and afterward, I was going to settle in on the couch with my Kyle Busch hat and cup and hoodie for a few hours of beatin’ and bangin’ three wide, four wide, a lot of someone’s in the wall racin’…
Never fear though, the race is tomorrow at noon. I’ll need to make sure my Monday to-do list is complete by then…
Now well, with the Sunday to-do list nearly finished, I can sit and read. It’s not like I don’t have a lot of that to do. And I’ve just done some baking (brownie whoppie pies) and have a nice bottle of Trader Joe’s Moscato wine chilling in the fridge… On the Kindle, I have a book titled Duck by Kim Dare. So far, I’m enthralled and I’m only in the first couple of pages. On the Nook, I have a book by T. A. Chase titled Duncan’s World.
The race will be fun to watch. It will be crazy to watch. And, I’m one of the very few women who could care less about there being a woman named Danica in the starting line-up.
I myself have never been to the Daytona 500. I’ve been to other races in Daytona, but never that one. The sheer size of the Daytona International Speedway is amazing and impressive. It’s awe inspiring. The roar, the energy, the way the stands shake as the cars thunder past. The site of where so many victories and some devastating tragedies have taken place, take your breath away.
I can’t wait to go to the 500 one day, to take my son… I have a feeling once won’t ever be enough.
So, about that wine I mentioned… Yeah, I’m gonna go have a glass and gear up for tomorrow.
Have a good night, y’all!