An article in the Guardian caught my attention this week regarding the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and the banning of certain books. Alice Walker, John Updike and even Pablo Neruda are some of the authors whose books are banned from entering correctional facilities. Texan prison officials say that restrictions on reading material are for the good of everyone.
This got me thinking. The only reason I first picked up a copy of Lolita was because I’d heard it had once been banned. And this is precisely why I grabbed a copy of Madame Bovary when I was in the seventh grade and read it over a weekend. If you’re going to ban a book, there’s a good chance people will want to read it and will read it. Humans are inquisitive! Tell us something is bad or immoral, and we’ll need proof of that. So, we’ll stay up all night (I will, at least) reading banned or formerly banned books, trying to understand why a story has been censored.
I’m not sure I agree with books being banned anywhere. Some people might argue that certain books should be banned in prisons to avoid disrupting an inmate’s rehabilitation, but I’m not a fan of censoring ideas of any kind, whether people think it’s for the greater good or not.