WHAT IF…ALL Books Were Banned?
Ray Bradbury (one of my favorite Sci-fi authors) says, “There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.” In 1953 he wrote a novel titled: Fahrenheit 451 (the temperature needed to ignite paper), which became a must read classic almost immediately. The future of America portrayed in these pages does, indeed, paint a sad picture. However, it ends with HOPE when the main character makes his way into the countryside and finds book lovers who live there—who have memorized books—for the time when people are ready to rediscover their value.
IF you haven’t read this marvelous novel before, I won’t tell you the ending. Yet, as an author and writing coach, I will suggest you look for one of Bradbury’s main themes which is so beautiful written/woven throughout the book: the cycles of life and living. All writers of all genres can benefit from understanding this concept at greater and greater levels throughout their writing careers. The concept of “to everything there is a season,” is played out in real life each and every day—in our own lives and our Readers’ lives—and must be developed in the actions and events of our characters’ lives.
Another of my favorite authors, Dr. Seuss, offers a quote that should give all writers encouragement: The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.” On the surface, these points may not seem to relate to Bradbury’s Fahrenheit theme. Yet relating reading (the great value of reading) to learning and going places IS the hope of all writers who develop their stories (either fact or fiction) with the heart of their Readers in mind—giving them the opportunity to GO where their feet cannot take them.
Last week I gave you the statistics of Readers who purchase fiction (53%) and non-fiction (43%) books. In the fiction category, fifty-five percent (55%) is bought by women and forty-five (45%) by men. Of all those who read fiction, their favorite genres are mystery/suspense (19%), leaving the remainder of the eighty-one percent (81%) to enjoy each of our preferred genres—which definitely gives each author/writer a strong foundation from which to promote our books. And yet, IF the day comes when banning books is the norm rather than the exception, HOW would be deal with it?
As a parent, grandparent and great-grandparent, I admit that I’ve essentially “banned” specific books from the shelves of my children. There is a safety zone needed when it comes to young minds that are not yet developed to the point of clear and logical thinking. However, in recent years I’ve come to wonder whether there really are some books—that promote ugly and dehumanizing ideas—that should never even be published. Many traditional and self-publishing houses are accepting the role of “parent” in this respect, and I applaud them!
As I close today, I will leave you with thoughts (quote) from Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple, who faced some hefty criticism: “Great literature is help for humans. It is medicine of the highest order…It can lift them [readers] into a new realization of their own power, beauty, love, courage.…[having] the best interests of all of us humans at heart. That we grow, change, challenge, encourage, love fiercely in the awareness that real love can never be incorrect.”
Great authors will always receive censure—just look at the centuries of detractors who have tried to “ban” the Bible. When authors create works that are in “the best interests of all us humans,” their/your books will remain “until the end of time.” Go Forth! READ! Write! Publish!
|ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene has been writing something since before kindergarten days and continues to love the process. Through her small business—DOYLE WRITING SERVICES—she brings more than 40 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their projects. This is a nice fit as she develops these blogs for Outskirts Press (OP) a leading self-publisher, and occasionally accepts a ghostwriting project from one of their clients. Her recent book release (with OP) titled FIREPROOF PROVERBS, A Writer’s Study of Words, is already receiving excellent reviews including several professional writer’s endorsements given on the book’s back cover.
Royalene’s writing experience grew through a wide variety of positions from Office Manager and Administrative Assistant to Teacher of Literature and Advanced Writing courses and editor/writer for an International Christian ministry. Her willingness to listen to struggling authors, learn their goals and expectations and discern their writing voice has brought many manuscripts into the published books arena.