Banned Book 34 - Scary Stories Series

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark - Alvin Schwartz, Stephen Gammell More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark - Alvin Schwartz, Stephen Gammell

I think these books have to be a rite of passage for school children.  I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t remember these with joy (though such a person must be out there).  Of course, they are too scary to be read, so they are banned and challenged.        

                But they are scary in a way that is not scary.  It’s like you take joy from being scared while knowing that you are safe.  And you are amused.  There is something so fun about them.

                “In a dark, dark room.  Up a dark, dark stair”.

                A friend asks me why I care about banned book lists.  What does it matter, he wonders, no one is stopping you from reading. 

                It matters because more and more I’m convinced that reading is becoming a loss art.  This doesn’t mean I think people are illiterate, though sometimes I wonder.  It means that seems fewer people are reading critically or READING.  If you ever put a review on the internet, be it Amazon or Goodreads and sometimes even Booklikes, some idiot is going to comment on the review about how you didn’t understand the book, you are just a horrible person, why read it if you don’t like it, you are an old fart – whatever.  It seems that these posts come from a fear that if some dislikes (or even likes) a book that someone else loves (or hates) the person is being superior.

                No, the person usually wants to talk and mutually agree to disagree.

                But also it leads to something like 50 Shades of Grey.  Don’t get me wrong – if you love the book, wonderful.  And undoubtedly there are many people who love it because it is a train wreck (you know, like the Resident Evil movies).  But you should at least know when you like something bad, if you know what I mean.

                The only way to hone these reading skills is by reading.  If you kill the desire to read, you kill the skills.  You have to steer someone towards literature not blast them towards it.  Blasting kills the desire to read.  Banning is blasting times 100.