The Lure of the Forbidden

banned-books-week-SubversivesThere’s a definite allure to the forbidden, which we can all acknowledge. You’re told, “Don’t touch that,” and your hand reaches out. You’re told, “Don’t eat that extra cookie,” and it’s an instant craving. You see “this book has been banned or challenged,” and inevitably, you pick it up for a read. Is it the implied danger? The thrill of getting caught reading something naughty? The proud feeling of being tough, like, “No one’s going to tell me what to read!” and reading what you want?

It’s hard to deny the appeal of getting your hands on something that feels like it’s forbidden. And, when the covers are colorful and shiny, well, you can’t be blamed if you just couldn’t help but reach for that book.

The one thing that many readers find, however, is that once they read a book that’s made it on the “most challenged” list, it can be difficult to understand just why the book’s on that list. Common reasons cited for challenging a book are: “anti-family,” “offensive language,” or “unsuited for age group.” That last reason seems to make a book particularly enticing for younger readers; tell them not to read something and it usually makes it irresistible.

Whatever the reasons, there’s nothing to increase a book’s popularity like telling people that they shouldn’t read it. So, during Banned Books Week, are you up for some potentially subversive, mind-opening reads? Come see us at Central; we’ve got plenty to tempt you.

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About centerforthereader

St. Louis Central Library, Center for the Reader, is where you can find fiction, reading suggestions, author information, and much more!
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