Book-Banners: Adventure in Censorship is Stranger Than Fiction, The
  Fan submitted reviews of Book-Banners: Adventure in Censorship is Stranger Than Fiction, The (Essay):
 
 
Posted By: Avox - January 13th, 2013 9:32:11 am EST

My mum was the one who got me to read The Stand (abridged, then the unabridged the moment I finished it) at the age of thirteen, and it's since become my all-time favourite book. I think book censorship is absolute bull.

 
 
Posted By: Dorcas - January 1st, 2013 6:06:01 pm EST

This essay is 20 years old and is still relevant today. I'll never forget my 5th grade teacher (early 70's) getting very upset that I'd found and checked out 3 books on witchcraft in our public school library. I don't remember why I wanted them, maybe I'd watched a lot of Bewitched that month. The teacher attended the same Baptist church as my family and she couldn't wait to tell my Mother after the Sunday sermon. After the teacher told my mother what type of books I'd gotten, my Mom replied, "Those books sound intriguing, Dorcas just loves to read!" Then my Mother said good bye, turned, and with a smile and a wink she quickly ushered me out of the church and into our car for a good laugh. Foot Note: I nor anyone in my family are witches. Lol

 
 
Posted By: Josiah - November 13th, 2012 1:42:41 pm EST

Being 14, I've only read a small number of Mr. King's books. But what i can tell you, is that kids are exposed to much more than what is in Stephen's books. Kids aren't ever open to reading big books, unless pushed. So why would we ban books may never get read? On the part of Rage, i believe the kids who had shot people in their schools aren't influenced directly by the book. I think they had problems previously. We have no reason to blame authors for the rash actions of crazy people.

 
 
Posted By: Jackie - September 29th, 2012 10:06:16 am EDT

I first read Firestarter the at the end of summer before 7th grade, and I didn't finish it before the school year started. I remember getting in a fight with my parents about taking the book to school, they thought a nosy teacher would confiscate it. I can not tell you how happy I was when I visited my high school library and saw a shelf full of Stephen King. How relieving. I finally get to read whatever the hell I want. And I am finally reading 'salem's lot.

 
 
Posted By: 2mara - September 21st, 2012 12:55:00 pm EDT

I was Googling to find out when Carrie was first challenged/banned and read your post. When I was in Junior High I read every one of your books I could get my hands on--our school library wouldn't dare carry them. Oral reports could have been the death of me, but thankfully your mentoring and the fact that my teacher was completely oblivious to your work allowed me to survive. Now a confession: I hadn't finished reading the Dead Zone before I had to stand in front of the class and report. I completely fabricated the ending... I hope you will forgive me. Yours was much better. ~2

 
 
Posted By: Constant Reader - September 2nd, 2012 7:10:39 pm EDT

Well said, Mr. King.

 
 
Posted By: Pat - August 26th, 2012 3:21:25 pm EDT

I remember my first run in with "censorship." I was 14, and it was my freshman lit teacher. I was sitting outside my homeroom in the morning, reading "It". He looked at me, gave this derisive snort, and asked "Why are you reading that garbage?", to which I responded "It's a good story". After some back and forth, I said "Show me one other kid picking up 1000 page books just for the fun of it, you can barely get most of us to read Farenheit 451... which is what? Two or three trips to the bathroom?" He stormed off, and man, did I get singled out after that! To you kids, when you deal with stuff like this just shrug it off, decide for yourselves, and take pride that you're doing something with your brain other than playing on the x-box!

 
 
Posted By: Dohume - August 17th, 2012 3:34:23 pm EDT

Bloody True.

 
 
Posted By: Albert - August 3rd, 2012 9:02:46 pm EDT

I expect no less of an answer to this issue; people who are dedicated to using their brains would definitely agree with you. On a separate note, if I ever met you in person, I'd probably faint.

 
 
Posted By: Nate - July 23rd, 2012 5:31:02 am EDT

Well are your thoughts of others Stephen, and i agree with your shared approach to said changes. They do not make it easy these days to soar the skies with the pure sight of an Eagle while we lacky the grounds blindly as Serpents through fabrics of censorships, though it halts little progress and in many cases only aids in the prevailing of the other i feel. Life is funny isnt it, no sooner do you find a point between 2 subjects only to find another come fourth, such an ambiguous environment we have created that at times we somehow forget where we are and how we got here, weve run through so many cob-webs that now people have finally come to a halt, brushed them away franticly and are looking for the source of these spiders. When we read your Tales they key our hearts open and the mind accomodates the flow, it is both comforting and inspiring to have you among us, like a cool breeze on a hot day that helps in many ways, another stone on the long path from which we may leap. Be it Ka-ka or Ka-tet, one thing always seems to lead to another at the appropriate time, thus i wish you well on your journey to the Tower my friend, may we all meet there someday.

 
 
Posted By: 9/11/24/7 - July 8th, 2012 9:42:38 pm EDT

I agree, there are books which should not be in our school libraries but, the decision to ban a book, the motivation behind the banning and the person advocating removing a book should be looked at with careful skepticism. No one knows what is best for everyone. Although, there are those who think they do.

 
 
Posted By: Peggy Strickland - June 15th, 2012 6:51:05 pm EDT

I abhor extremism in any segment of society. To me, banning of books is the most profound example of extremists doing their best to force their judgemental attitude down our throats. Granted, I, in my infinite wisdom put my foot down when my nine year old grandson was told by classmates that he simply must read "The Hunger Games." While others might consider this censorship, I feel it is fulfilling one's moral obligation to nurture the tender sensibilities of a developing intellect. A little more maturity, and this child will read what he may. That said, if someone told me that "The Hunger Games" should be generally banned from schools, I would be most vehemently opposed. In recent history our local school board attempted to ban from local high school libraries, along with other classics, "Huckleberry Finn, because of racially insensitive passages. Thankfully, that move was (at least temporarily) blocked. Our students/citizens must be allowed to think for themselves. And, they depend on free-thinking, unbiased and unintimidated adults to insure it for them! Thank you, Stephen King, for your thoughtful dissertation on this issue!

 
 
Posted By: Sabrina - June 7th, 2012 1:17:23 pm EDT

Good on you bro! Yay!

 
 
Posted By: Doug - June 5th, 2012 2:26:07 pm EDT

I wish all school librarians, often the censors in question, would read this. I caught on to reading early and quickly grew beyond the "kids books" at the library. Then one day I discovered that I didn't have to stay in the kid's section. I started reading the "adult" books. Mind you this was when I was still in elementary school. I have never looked back. Sure I read some things I may not have been ready for, but I either stopped reading it out of boredom, or just stored it away to contemplate later. I think we vastly underestimate our children and their capacity to understand. They do understand especially with the help of the adults in their life.

 
 
Posted By: P4NDOR4 Quintessa - June 3rd, 2012 7:13:58 am EDT

Very thoughtful statement. And very valid also. Although most of Stephen King's books are a little too scary for me to read anymore - I have an overactive imagination and live alone, I admire him and appreciate his art. I even make subtle homages to him in my 3D virtual environments I build - photographs can be found if you search under my pen name here. My absolute favorites are Cujo and Christine. I am currently working on a new one which will incorporate a few things from movies such as 'Sleepwalkers'. Without wanting to intrude on another person's space, I hope Mr King will notice this message and take a look :)

 
 
Posted By: Katherine - June 1st, 2012 11:02:11 pm EDT

Bravo Mr. King bravo. I was maybe 9 years old when I read my first Stephen King book (The Gunslinger) and I absolutley loved and have not stopped reading his works since and do not plan to stop anytime soon, he made me want to write my own short stories and perhaps one day a novel. Perhaps parent consent should be given, I have found some things not entirely appropriate, but I think if you are mature enough to understand them by all means read them. I am fourteen now and have read plenty of Mr. King's works and reading my way rapidly through It, this one is the best yet!

 
 
Posted By: KimO PA - May 16th, 2012 1:04:05 am EDT

I was 15 when I read Cujo. That was 1982. What I discovered at that time is I liked the way Stephen King wrote that I feel he is the best horror writer out there. I started getting his other books and still do and movies/miniseries made from them. I would stand against a banning of his books and any other books when I find out about it, in my community. I left my two sons, both adults now read his books and they turned out just fine.

 
 
Posted By: JasonT - May 5th, 2012 3:49:45 pm EDT

With The greatest respect to mr King, I believe in limited ( coditional sensorship ) I do not believe that a child should be allowed to read a horror book.

 
 
Posted By: Andie - April 9th, 2012 4:52:45 am EDT

You know Mr King reading you is akin to a good friend. I am in the process of writing about my 1st love. It's a simple assignment, yet there are components that are gruesome. American Psycho is for certain an odd story. It is the flip side of a gentleman. For certain it is adult content. You're right that your work is a long way from American Psycho. You're right that we should preserve our right to freedom of expression. I've found judgmental people are those that live a sheltered life. I wouldn't want a (12) twelve year old to read it- but I think adults should have that choice. After- all 'real life' isn't always a bowl of cherries. Thanx for your share!

 
 
Posted By: Brad - March 23rd, 2012 9:36:20 am EDT

i read my first stephan king at age 11 it was pet sematary. im 12 now and reading under the dome i like BIG BOOKS

 
 
Posted By: DEE - March 18th, 2012 3:04:00 pm EDT

I completely agree with all your thoughts on this issue. On another note: I think you are the greatest author who ever picked up a pen! Please, oh, please, don't ever stop!

 
 
Posted By: John - March 16th, 2012 12:34:19 am EDT

I thank God for the librarians in charge of the schools that I went to. I was introduced to Mr. King's works at junior and senior high school. 'Salem's Lot, The Stand, The Shining and Carrie were among the first adult fiction that I read. My parents never told me what I could or could not read but they were aware of what I was reading and were never shy about discussing what I was reading with me. Worked for me so I'll do the same for my kids. I look forward to the same great discussions I had with my parents. Who'd want a censor to take that away?

 
 
Posted By: Savanna - March 15th, 2012 7:49:53 pm EDT

It is dumb for people to be banning books when kids barely read books anyway. People should be encouraging kids to read not banning books. Granted yes some of Mr. King's books may be inappropriate for younger readers, but by middle school(which i am in) most kids already know and hear vulgar things. But Mr. Kings work is amazing and kids should read books that are so real. It's how things really work and how people really act. Thank you Stephen King for your amazing books.

 
 
Posted By: EvilZombieMaster - March 9th, 2012 6:57:58 am EST

I am only a young kid, not even 13 yet, but I have already read Pet Sematary, and am starting on 'Salem's Lot. Both of these books ARE inappropriate for some, but that's why they have Senior and Junior sections in Library's (well, we do in Australia anyway). people who don't want to be frightened, or slightly disturbed or upset (no offense) shouldn't pick up one of your books. People who don't want to read it, don't have to. They shouldn't be banned from people who can and want to read it.

 
 
Posted By: Greg Stillson - December 22nd, 2011 6:46:23 pm EST

I agree with Mr. King on most points. Certain materials should not find a home on the shelves of an elementary school library, but I do have to say (having read The Dead Zone) I can't see any reason to ban this particular book from any library. I own over 30 of Mr. King's books and although most do contain some adult themes and language, most TV sit-coms contain subject matter that is just as suggestive and/or vulgar. This is an "eye of the beholder" situation. Still...banning books? wrong.

 
 
Posted By: Jo - December 6th, 2011 9:31:41 am EST

Stephen: I was born in the UK, educated in the US, and am raising a family in Dubai, where "approved" book lists, "state edited" movies, documentaries & news clips are the norm. I challenge the kids to think for themselves, to question those who limit and control the flow of information, and most importantly, to keep asking "why" and 'what if." And, I'm glad to say, the older kids have also gained a healthy appreciation of your works. Keep on keeping on. Well written piece from a thoughtful, provocative voice...

 
 
Posted By: Cchambers4 - November 7th, 2011 11:05:00 am EST

I am a highschool student and my parents let me read your books Mr. King and from what I have read hasnt been anything I haven't been exposed to in school already. I believe that your essay on this matter is completely correct and I completely agree with it. When I go through my school and ask people if they know who you are most of them say yes. So if the kids go to the library and come across one of your novels they have the choice whether to check it out or not. They know the material that you write. I think that highschool students are old enough to make our own decisions and we know if it is going to be bad for us or not. So I don't agree with the books being banned but thats ok if they are because I know kids will find another way to read your novels. :) Sincerly, cchambers4

 
 
Posted By: Anonymous - November 5th, 2011 9:22:40 pm EDT

I just wanted to share something interesting with you, Mr. King (in hope that you will get this message). I'm an elementary school teacher working in the public schools. Teaching some of the basic elements of fiction led to a very rich discussion on themes and messages within the books they read. By the way, I teach 3rd grade in a Dorchester school within the Boston Public Schools. Anyhow, the discussion works its way to positive and negative messages within books. A student held up a copy of Horrible Harry (a trite series of children's chapter books where the protagonist is the antagonist). The child pointed out that invariably, in every book from this series, the messages are wrong because Harry rarely received consequences or learns from the mayhem he devises and carries out. I asked the kids if this was true, I hadn't really put any time into examining the content assuming it was appropriate elementary fare, albeit low-quality literature. Overwhelmingly, they agreed the series of books offered themes which would misguide young minds (my words, their idea). They decided we shouldn't allow them in the class. I thought out loud that perhaps it's not a big deal, it's just a kid's book, and attempted to return them to the shelf. Their collective conscience stood firm, though, and I witnessed a literal book-banning at the hands of kids who wished to draw a moral line and make a collective stand against themes which would confuse, and otherwise, mislead a young mind seeking to develop a useful set of morals in a world gone adrift in moral relativism for the sake of pulp entertainment. I offer this anecdote for your consideration, Mr. King. I wonder how middle-schoolers would react if we simply encouraged moral discernment of the media they usually gobble up without a moment's thought... Just something to chew on.

 
 
Posted By: AnarchyRules - October 18th, 2011 6:57:45 pm EDT

Stephan King has a uncanny knack for opening the mind of the reader to the possibility's of life! And each of his books I read make me realize just how messed up those who seek to rule us are! Anyone who hasn't read the Dome should , because those same folks who seek to ban books , are the same ones who would be running your home town if the dome happened! Thank you Stephan for a life of possibility's and a fun way to get a education in reality!

 
 
Posted By: Daray Willow - October 13th, 2011 8:39:06 pm EDT

I agree, I currently attend a "safe" school that bans any and everything that does not fit its mold. (This includes heavy-metal, Socrates and yes Stephen King.) I absolutly love Stephen King's books and have found that they have played a role in the shaping of mind so to speak. They have opened my eyes to society and human nature and I believe that it should be a crime for anything so eye-opening to be kept from us young people who's minds are still like wet clay and are just ready to be shaped.

 
 
Posted By: Davidm63 - October 11th, 2011 3:08:37 pm EDT

I couldn't agree more with what you have written on this subject. Silence is approval and to tolerate these actions is the same as silence. Subdued aproval of what we know is wrong. Good job with this article and best of luck to you in your future writings.

 
 
Posted By: Mark Alan Trimeloni - October 2nd, 2011 9:06:14 pm EDT

Books beg to be written by the people lucky or unlucky enough to be pursued by them. Everyone, regardless of age, should have a choice as to the material they read. From birth we are who we are. Some of us simply cannot articulate at an early age what we feel, want, or desire. So they get treated as children. Same thing repeats when we get older. The censors need to try censorship of their ideas about censoring others. Let's see how that plays. It won't. Censorship in any form is hypocrisy on the part of the censor. Stephen King paved the way. Now it's time for other writers' to take the wheel and drive "Christine" as far as she will go.

 
 
Posted By: Literate Lunatic - October 2nd, 2011 7:27:08 pm EDT

Controversy encourages creative and deep thought.Words transform. It is the right of parents to decide what their children read; not the bloated heads of high-minded academic blunderers. First we restrict Stephen King- what next...Harry Potter? Bureaucratic officers should spend more tax dollars encouraging the joy of reading rather than squelching the creations that don't submit to its country club rules. Literacy is a dying skill. Less people have the ability to communicate properly through written prose. The child who picks up a Steven King novel is usually reading well beyond his years. I agree with Stephen King - Some books should be off the shelves, but his are written for the pleasures and truth of gritty fiction.

 
 
Posted By: Daniel - September 9th, 2011 12:49:52 am EDT

To Mr. king and others, These twits are everywhere. In the town I live in the local newspaper " the cecil whig." can't even produce a simple story or even headline without gross grammtical and spelling errors. And they aren't strictly accidents. The grammatical errors are repetitive in nature because they copy the local speech patterns.. and the spelling errors also are done over and over leading me to believe that it is the way they think it is spelled.. Now my problem with this is they are teaching my and other adults children these mistakes even myself because if you read this garbage all of the time it sticks.. The local teachers speak and write the same way.. And these are the people saying your great works and others are not fit to read... Give me a break. Now I am not perfect but am niether a newspaper proofreader, grammer school teacher nor am I on a book banning commitee... Its bad enough all of the lies they put in the textbooks and don't mention all the truths they leave out.. Thanks to a few good teachers this was pointed out to me and I was able to self-educate...But unfortunately I gave up on school altogether because of the same knowledge..My pre-pubescent mind saw no need for what I saw as indoctrination. which is funny now because the red staters see it the other way around that if you actually teach children that the world has existed for more than six thousand years you are "indoctrinating " them which by definition we are. We have to tell these kids that the trash thier imbecile inbreeding parents are teaching them is a fairy tale.. Don't get it twisted I am a thirty-six year old with lots of faith that reads the bible all by myself but don't take it litteraly it wasn't written to. Stephen I am not telling you anything, in "the dome" and many other tales you explain how dangerous characters are who do take it that way..well that is enough blabbering by me ..... DO NOT BAN ANY BOOKS.... BECAUSE WHERE DO YOU DRAW THE LINE.....PERIOD

 
 
Posted By: Anonymous - August 29th, 2011 6:43:21 pm EDT

The germans were banning books how did that turn out for them?

 
 
Posted By: Chase - August 27th, 2011 9:37:31 pm EDT

to be honest i live in sudbury its a mining town in ontario canada and my god the amount of low brow button down people here is nuts in grade 8 i had written a short story based around the idea of an alein that had been leading the population of a small town into a church and every year in the form of a priest eatin one of the children and every year the town willfully not understanding it happened same time same place they told me "this kind of subject matter was squallid" my replay was something to the same effect as Mr.King here hell i mentioned him as an infullence and my english teacher my fucking english teacher acted like she had never herd of the man i'm 23 kings been around for a while mind you the next week when some one did a report on hp loveccraft she was fine with it selective cencership willful ignoirence and my many splling mistakes gotta love that crap

 
 
Posted By: Vivian - August 20th, 2011 9:52:31 pm EDT

This is amazing and true and....this IS Stephen King. I don't have any books published to defend, (yet) but if I did, and as a writer and avid reader, I agree whole-heartedly with everything written here. Without books, we'd be a nearly, if not fully, brain dead society. With writing, with books, we learn. We know HOW to learn. The Giver, an amazing book by Lois Lowry has been banned on many occasions for many reasons. But when you read that book, it makes you realize one, how greatful you should be to live in free country, in a place where you can choose things for yourself, and two...we can't let our world get that way. The color died, the hope died, the joy died. And we'll die without those things. And those things can be found in books! Many people suffer from nightmares, and things that they can't get out of there head. And yet...you write them down and they are gone, and you can see them in a different light. I... I could truly go on and on, about this. And maybe I will, but books...we can't exist without them. To even try is like suicide. Book-banners...do they even read? If you read a truly good book, you are going to find something shocking in it. But those things are what let you feel, what make you think, what allow you to LIVE, even in a world that...sometimes likes to try and shut you up, lock you in a cage. Books are they key out of that. Don't ban them, unless you want to cease to live.

 
 
Posted By: Kiamuddess - August 16th, 2011 12:24:52 am EDT

For some reason I was just remembering that awful English 101 class I took 14 years ago and remembering how they were trying to teach you how to write essays (i.e. thesis statement, supporting paragraph, introduction, conclusion, and those horrifying works cited pages I'll never stop having nightmares about). It completely robbed me of any creative interest I might have had in writing another essay for the rest of my life. This essay is why I love Stephen King's writing. He's clear, doesn't conform, doesn't apologize, and that combination (amidst some mind-boggling creativity) makes for the most pleasant reading experiences of my life. King makes me love reading, and want to write. Whether I ever do anything with writing, I'll always have those books to make me dream. King puts every text book I read to get a four year English degree to shame. I learned more from just one of his books than all of the lame classroom experiences of my college career. King better find the fountain of youth, because I would be absolutely devastated to think that I might someday reach the last page.

 
 
Posted By: VWeatherdon - August 14th, 2011 4:14:37 am EDT

I couldn't agree more. I have been reading books from the "adult" section of the library since I was in junior school and I am glad that I had the right to choose what I wished to read.

 
 
Posted By: Tburns - May 26th, 2011 9:09:42 am EDT

There is more to writing than words on a page. Emotions, conflicts, and relationships are conveyed to all who wish to see them. A work can be perceived hundreds of different ways by hundreds of different people. I feel that perception is the mind's way showing one's soul. If censors are seeing these works to be a threat, or dark and ominous, perhaps there are underlying issues that need to be dealt with. I believe Mr. King to represent human relationships within certain situations. I have news for the censors; life isnt all rosy with happy endings. The sooner we can teach people that disapointments and grief and tragedy does in fact occur in life, the better off we'll all be. Hiding this from the youth of the nation only results in weak minded and weak willed individuals in my opinion.

 
 
Posted By: FemaleEddieDeanPreMidworld - May 21st, 2011 8:14:00 pm EDT

As someone who first read Stephen King novels at the age of eight, I have to say I see no harm in his books. Let the kids read them. They will either find them boring, seek out the dirty parts, or devour them wholly, only to reread them at a more mature age and realize how little of it they actually understood. Being allowed to choose one's own reading material is an important stepping stone to teaching kids the joys of reading, no matter what they may choose. In our world of sex and violence in every corner of our media outlets, what harm can there be in kids reading a few paragraphs here and there about things they most likely do not understand and are hearing/seeing everywhere else they look any way? The important thing is that the kids are reading. There is such a shortage of that simple pleasure in today's technological society that kids should be encouraged to read whatever their hands may decide to pick up, at any age. :)

 
 
Posted By: CountryGirl - May 20th, 2011 2:03:42 pm EDT

My thought of this is that they should not banned books.

 
 
Posted By: Selenem1 - April 15th, 2011 12:25:27 am EDT

I had a prof in university who called reading "a subversive act." While I think librarians have a right to decide what should and shouldn't be allowed in their library, I think it's more important to open a discussion about why these ideas are controversial. Unfortunately, people don't want to interact with kids, and that's sad.

 
 
Posted By: Chris - March 23rd, 2011 5:13:24 pm EDT

Very well said. Especially the address to the kids. Ban the book? Ok. I'll just go down to the public library and rent it there. BTW- the "verify text box" below has a number in it...if you've ever read IT then you'll recognize the year of the first encounter the losers club has! Weird.

 
 
Posted By: Jrok - February 15th, 2011 10:56:40 pm EST

I'm in High school, and about a week or two i was called down the psychologist. I had submitted a short horror story to my school's literary magazine, and somehow they got the idea that I needed a therapist because of this. TODAY, I got called back down because I was seen reading Cujo at lunch. After explaining it was my favorite book and I've read it at least seven or so times before, they decided I need full time therapy. I'm not sure which is worse, the fact my school is so dumbed down or the fact our government allows it to happen, though I suppose there's nothing they can do....

 
 
Posted By: Mark - February 13th, 2011 6:49:46 pm EST

Excellent essay! God help us from the righteous who think they know better.

 
 
Posted By: RinaFarina - January 22nd, 2011 7:44:56 pm EST

So I take it you would not replace the word "nigger" with the word "slave" everywhere in Mark Twain's book (I forget which one it was), as many people are now advocating. What a joque!

 
 
Posted By: Andrew - January 14th, 2011 1:03:19 pm EST

A fantastic essay. As a young man with desires to pen my own works, it's refreshing to hear that there are people who support the work of an artist. "...some prude with a highlighter..." What a strong statement! It is also wonderful to hear that people remember Mark Twain and other "banned" authors whose works deserve to be read by hungry, young minds.

 
 
Posted By: Olga - January 4th, 2011 4:43:22 am EST

The author of this essay deserves admiration for his clearity of thought, mastery of speech and genuinity of heart.

 
 
Posted By: Steveh - December 31st, 2010 5:30:36 pm EST

Very good.

 
 
Posted By: Jono - December 28th, 2010 1:37:18 pm EST

I fully agree with the essay. The first Stephen King book I read was at age 11 and it was Four Past Midnight. Since then I have read and enjoyed every book that you have written, sir. The way I see it, people are fickle and ban things (books) that are a threat to their comfort zone. Twilight for example, or Harry Potter are exceptionally successful books yet they are banned in many places because people do not agree with many of the concepts or events in the stories. I teach at a primary school and am appalled at how little the majority of children read. In my day (and I am only 24) going to the library was something we all looked forward to, most of my friends still do. Im almost certain that I have shares in my local bookstore given the number of purchases I make there each year! Books give people the chance to enter a world of their own and to experience it uniquely. To me, a book is exceptionally well written when you can visualize as you are reading. The Stand happens to be the best "mental movie" I have ever watched. Let people read whatever they choose, and form their own opinions. Simple as that.

 
 
Posted By: Kris. - December 21st, 2010 11:15:26 am EST

Thank you.

 
 
Posted By: Meg - December 20th, 2010 12:38:54 am EST

Helped with my thesis, thanks a lot!

 
 
Posted By: Emt - December 17th, 2010 3:18:45 pm EST

Best way to get a kid to read a book? Tell him he CAN'T and watch how fast he hustles to get a copy, which is then, presumably, furtively read and then hidden away somewhere in his room. I think this is the only way anyone like D H Lawrence gets read these days.

 
 
Posted By: LadycatMD - December 15th, 2010 9:37:40 pm EST

Why bother banning books due to controversial content? I mean can't all that content be reached free and easy on the internet now? So I am just glad my kids are READING - how many do you know that aren't these days? And I have never agreed with censorship anyway...

 
 
Posted By: Lisa Dierschow - November 14th, 2010 2:13:45 pm EST

I wish I could write so succinctly. I absolutely agree with Stephan's view on censorship and book banning.

 
 
Posted By: Vince - November 7th, 2010 6:08:03 am EST

I cannot argue with any of these points. While it is a romantic notion for children to be protesting, it is not their job either. Their job is to learn and sharpen their minds (a task they can accomplish by reading banned books.) I love the idea of going beyond the reach of the censors. It is also true that we should always play the Devil's Advocate and defend the media in question so that its issues can be "aired." Our freedoms are too precious to go down without a fight.

 
 
Posted By: Frost - November 5th, 2010 12:04:03 am EDT

I find it amazing that the people who argue for the banning of books are the same ones who scream so fervently against "big government" and regulation. Usually the very same people who are pro death penalty and pro life. How I long for a plague that would afflict only those with small minds and narrow vision.

 
 
Posted By: Christian - October 14th, 2010 8:51:07 pm EDT

I find it absolutely OUTRAGEOUS that books are banned. The Scarlet Letter was restricted at my school, yet the same childeren who aren't allowed to read a classic novel can go home and watch porn and primetime TV! Honestly, people need to lighten up. People, in general, don't want to blame themselves for raising their childeren bad, and they won't say it's the Boob Tube, or the Internet, 'cause they do it too! So they go to these "controvesial books," and pin their wrongdoings on the literature! It's crazy.

 
 
Posted By: Amber - September 29th, 2010 5:35:37 pm EDT
Really nice piece on the effect censorship has on a society in general. Personally I'd let every book (apart from obscenely pornographic novels created only for that purpose, and Twilight) in a school library. The only way you can really develop new ideas and push the boundaries of your thoughts is by reading what other people have thought in the past, and bouncing off that. Our world would be a sadder, darker place if we had no rich literary tradition to draw upon. It's odd to think that in a world that is so completely consumed by secular morality, and so dismissive of religion, that a book like Dangerous Liasions or (more saucy) Confessions of a Nun can be rejected for their content, when they were written a time we think of as more prudish than our own. As a child I read my way through every book in the library. Much of the content was inappropriate probably, but it was stimulating, raw and fiercely intelligent, and I think I can gladly say it has had a massive impact on my life. Good on you Mr King
 
 
Posted By: Anonymous - September 23rd, 2010 5:46:10 am EDT
Okay, I am 15 years of age. Many, many, countless people think that I should not read Stephen King's books. They fear that it will scare me too badly. It is true that Stephen King books are, a lot of the time, terrifying! Sometimes I don't sleep for that night. But it is my choice to read those books. It should not be up to someone else whether I should read them or not. I feel as though, if I want to read them, and I want to be scared, then I should be allowed to. I believe that's the way it should be with all kids too. I do not think that book banning should be allowed in any schools or libraries. There have been so, so, so very many books banned for ludicrous reasons! I know all about it, actually. I am part of a teen group at my library - yes I am that much of a bookworm, I could live in the library - and it's "banned books week". There have been countless books banned for various reasons that waver from "meh, I can sorta see why it was banned" to "Oh my God, why was this banned again?". Even picture books are being banned nowadays! It's not just horror books anymore - nor has it really ever been. In the 50's there were countless comic-books challenged by congress itself because they were "horrific". (I do wonder, Mr. King, if you read these comics when you were a kid?) I've actually read several of them, and they ended up making me laugh more than scream. There are too many kids, teens and even adults that waste their life by watching T.V. or playing video-games as opposed to reading. I say, if a kid actually wants to read, let them read. We should not discourage kids from reading by banning books. No one says it better than Stephen King himself, in the last paragraph of this essay. I am a novelist myself. Although, none of my works are published yet. I wrote a full length trilogy, it's a tad bit horrific, and deal with real issues. I just know they will find some reason to ban my book from school libraries. Does it bother me? Yes and no. Yes because it is a book that shouldn't be kept from people who want to read it. No because it's really hard to find a book out there that hasn't been banned yet. So it'd be rather foolish of me to get upset because my book was banned as well.
 
 
Posted By: Anonymous - August 24th, 2010 9:45:33 pm EDT
Will these people never learn - let people make their own choices. If people try something and decide that it's not for them, fine. But don't restrict other people's choices based on your own opinion. This suggests that you assume young people to be weak of mind and that you hold a moral and intellectual authority - which you do not. We already live in a world where praise and appreciation for the written word is far too quickly dwindling. Not only that, young minds are curious minds. Tell them something is not good for them, mind or body, and they will only want to try it all the more. I would not be a fan of horror films and books toady if it weren't for the wider public's aversion to it. Why do people assume that lover's of fiction that contains violence, must therefore harbour thoughts and desires pertaining to violence? We don't. If something contains violent imagery, consider the context, not solely the content. If everybody who watched violent films were immediately seduced into committing violent acts, why not screen disney films for convicted murderer's? Not a bad idea that.
 
 
Posted By: Frank - August 17th, 2010 1:25:26 pm EDT
Ban speech when it constitutes a public threat. But those who ban new ideas fear something else. My father was afraid of introspection and questioning, afraid of the premises he lived by. Fear is a potent demon and security curtails the freedom we need to know who we are.
 
 
Posted By: Anonymous - August 3rd, 2010 9:38:17 pm EDT
The only place I can get your books is from my school library (I'm in highschool, but in Canada where I live it starts at 8th grade) because my parents won't let me read them and they get emails concerning m library card and have access to a list of any books that are out on it. And I WILL use my school library.
 
 
Posted By: CrazyTrain - July 26th, 2010 1:29:37 pm EDT
That is an incredibly succinct and detailed response. I agree completely and could not have argued it better.
 
 
Posted By: Quick Study - July 25th, 2010 12:12:49 am EDT
Many of the best books I've ever read have been "banned" at some time or another. I aspire to read every book that has ever been banned or censored in the last 30 years. Most of the books on these lists are CLASSICS people! Read them! There is a reason why smaller minds don't want the public to be well-read. Please look up 100 most banned books of all time & read Judy Blume's essay on the same subject. She was really put thru the ringer for her wonderful, inspiring stories...
 
 
Posted By: Scottyb - July 24th, 2010 2:24:34 pm EDT
I started reading Mr. King in middle school. I have made a task upon myself to read nothing else until I have read everything, I can get my hands on, that he has written. The man is a genius!
 
 
Posted By: Arronboschi - July 16th, 2010 11:06:39 pm EDT
as a up and coming writer it scares me to think that their might not be a limit to what some people find offensive and what is generally excepted and who is to decide what is what.
 
 
Posted By: Sinkwriter - July 16th, 2010 3:26:44 pm EDT
At this moment, the only words that come to mind are: RIGHT ON. :) Your words on the subject were much kinder and more respectful than my initial thoughts are whenever I hear about books being banned. Thanks for that -- it reminds me to reel it in a bit and be more sensible. Wait - what? Sensibility?! Horrors!
 
 
Posted By: Edgecomb - July 1st, 2010 12:40:29 pm EDT
Censorship is a major issue that has been going on in this country for years, and will continue to go on. I happen to agree with Stephen in regards that if he spent all his time defending his books, there would be no SK books to read, and this should go with any author. As a parent, I believe censorship should begin in the home. If my child should want to read ANY book that I may question, I will probably read the book myself first if I haven't already, and then decide on whether or not I feel as though my child should read it. With that being said, if I believe he shouldn't, I'm not going to tell the neighbors kid they can't. Some kids are smarter than others, and can handle things differently. I do not want books censored at random in my son's school, and should it happen...you're damn right, I will go out, buy it, and decide for myself what's best for US, not the best for everyone else! Thank you!!!
 
 
Posted By: #1ConstantReader - June 27th, 2010 6:16:36 pm EDT
Amen brother King!!! ;) lol
 
 
Posted By: Andrew Lewis - June 23rd, 2010 11:26:30 pm EDT
I absolutely agree with Mr. King. While some novels that are too graphic for certain age groups should not be allowed, kids can think for themselves at the middle school level and should be allowed to read what they want. Andrew Lewis
 
 
Posted By: Jeffrey McCullough - June 22nd, 2010 10:20:14 am EDT
I totally agree withy ou. Im a middleschooler and ive read it, the stand the deadzone cujo cell misery needful things the shining and countless other of your works. I have been reading them for almost a year now and sp far not a single books of yours has made me feel uncomfortable abot what im reading. Scared, sure but not like i was reading something dirty. So good job on the essay. Your biggest fan Jeff McCullough.
 
 
Posted By: TMH Gunslinger - June 11th, 2010 9:40:18 pm EDT
Every time I hear about someone banning books, I laugh. I am reminded of Sean Connery in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. "You should try reading books instead of burning them you nazi bastard. lol
 
 
Posted By: Stephanie - June 3rd, 2010 2:45:06 am EDT
We had a problem a few yeas back in suburb of Vancouver BC Canada where a city councillor tried to have a book about same sex marriage banned from schools. She actually took the school board to court and wasted over a million taxpayer dollars only to lose. On another note we have had your books on our bookshelves since our kids were young and they were instrumental (along with Dean Koontz and the Berenstein Bears) in getting our kids interested in reading. Thanks for that!
 
 
Posted By: Bubba J - May 28th, 2010 2:18:35 pm EDT
Some children cannot talk to their parents about books that are banned because their parents banned them and the child has different ideas about the book in question.
 
 
Posted By: V. Swann - May 18th, 2010 6:30:08 pm EDT
My wife who is brilliant, read the 'Shining' at age 5. she completed many King novels prior to even being age 10. Despite sneaking the books of her parents shelf (as they would have censored them) it affected her in no way poorly. Even decades later, she has now read thousands of books. I think the interesting, 'naughty' nature of forbidden material is the greatest lure. Thus developing a lifetime reader. Perhaps then censorship had had a very positive impact? Currently, our 5 year old is -scary- intelligent as well. So again, I am stocking my bookshelf with King, Voltaire, and other -no no's for my children to sneak and read.
 
 
Posted By: Galadrial - May 14th, 2010 6:02:02 pm EDT
I think you are a very intelligent, open minded individual. You mention many valid points in this essay - in my opinion, the most important being that we each have the right to decide what we, and our children, can obtain in the way of popular media. That being said, I believe that as our children grow and mature, we as parents should already be aware that we may or may not agree with the things they choose to read. However, in a democracy, which I hope most people use to rear their children, the right to be your own person is unassailable.
 
 
Posted By: Roger - April 26th, 2010 12:41:36 pm EDT
I think that people who ban any artisic works should be under the micoscope because it may be more a flaw in their character than in the work. Book banning makes little sense to me because if you ban a book in a school than all that happens is that book is now hot topic so almost everyone will at least flip though it to see what is so bad about it.
 
 
Posted By: Hounder - April 26th, 2010 12:37:04 pm EDT
I agree with Mr. King. Banning these published works is just wrong and should be stopped. I do agree however that some books should be kept away from certain kids that cannot comprehend the story the book is telling. But all in all it should be STOPPED!
 
 
Posted By: Kim - April 25th, 2010 9:40:34 pm EDT
I love this essay. I teach a unit on 1984 where we do an extensive discussion of what the government should and should not be allowed to do. I'd love to use this essay as a part of that unit!
 
 
Posted By: B Dawg - April 19th, 2010 12:58:59 am EDT
This essay was written 18 years ago. Sadly I don't think Steve fights for causes like these much any more. Even this particular post I'm making now will be screen and deemed either acceptable or not acceptable before it will be allowed to be publically posted. Sad really that SK allows this.....Steve what was that about "some prude with a highlighter"?
 
 
Posted By: Ian - April 13th, 2010 8:46:33 am EDT
Dear Mr. King, publisher, or anyone else that may read this My thoughts on this topic are that when a book is published, if it makes it by an editor, it is good enough for a library! Being of middle-school age, I believe that your books should be open to my agegroup! gladly in my little town school library no books are banned. I love your books and I think that they should be offered to anyone. If I say any more I'm probably going to start sounding repetitive, but I must say two more things. The first, I am doing a report in school on you, and I have learned alot about you and your books, so this is pretty one sided. The second, is not a question but a...um...well...Im begging you! please write back mr. King! I need proof that your out there! fan, friend, and future writer, Ian
 
 
Posted By: Cthun-mythos - April 10th, 2010 4:31:02 am EDT
Its my understanding that when a book is banned from a school library it is usually at the behest of the parents themselves: too worried about their children's fragile psyches, I don't know or care. In my old high school they were actually limiting the hours the library is open even more because of budget cuts and staff and room shortage(there was also only one librarian there). I feel that this is the most damaging kind of censorship- to deny them this convenience of proximity, is to discourage reading in general. This is dangerous. Also, I wasn't a fan of Catcher in the Rye, but if it was banned I'd still be pissed off.
 
 
Posted By: Pufnstuff - April 8th, 2010 1:39:11 pm EDT
As a student of Library Science, I have to put a great deal of thought into these issues. I am also a parent of two young teens, and I have to be concerned with what they are reading. I have come to the conclusion that, if I become a librarian, NO book will ever be banned from my library. Libraries exist to keep books, not ban them. However, I have to recognize that parents ultimately have the right to censor what *their* children read, just as I do. Therefore, I find it reasonable that some material be restricted to minors without parental consent. Requiring kids to bring parental consent isn't censorship, as long as those books are still available to those who want them.
 
 
Posted By: A Fan And Writer Himself - March 25th, 2010 5:19:58 pm EDT
As long as it is not too bad I would say, allow it to be in the lesser libraries. Sometimes books that are banned are not as bad as they're said to be and that annoys me that some cannot read a great work because to characters screw each other in one scene. I don't see any of those goddamned Twilight books being banned from lesser libraries even though she can't even write those sex scenes or scenes of "violence" well. I think that a good age to allow most any book is age 10 since before that if they haven't learned about some of these things they're gonna end up an outsider. Not right for a kid to go through. Plus, the teens need something to get all horny on. That was a joke...
 
 
Posted By: Mom - March 24th, 2010 1:45:42 pm EDT
Having read "It" myself, I would NOT allow my children to read it. The story was well written and captivating, but I was horrified at the detailed description of a 12 year old girl pulling a sex train with her friends to fight evil. If the mental images this description puts into one's mind were played out on screen, those responsible would be arrested for child pornography. Some things should be censored for children. Unfortunately for me, I will forever have that image etched in my mind, and nothing exists to erase it. I am just protecting my children from what I regret having putting into my own mind.
 
 
Posted By: Anonymous - March 20th, 2010 5:31:42 pm EDT
Censorship is imposed to disallow a certain topic to affect or move certain individuals. Yet if a certain piece does affect or move individuals, it means that it should have.
 
 
Posted By: Anonymous - March 16th, 2010 10:22:06 am EDT
hmmm well i have 4 kids aged 21,10,8,6 the thing is the 21 yr old grew up on harry potter and the hardy boys no video games and turned out ok ive been reading horror books watching horror movies playing video games since ive been 18 im now 40 but im an adult and i can handle my viewing and reading and my if any fears.now would i llet any other of my kids watch an 18 cert movie no because there too young to cope with the emotions and fear so would i let them read any thing tnat i would consider an 18 cert book same answer no because i think book if described right and the language good can stick in a kids mind for longer although i dont think books should be banned at all i think they should have an age rating so that at least parents would know whats an appropiate and not ps the older kid loves to read and we now often share 18 cert books
 
 
Posted By: Dan - March 9th, 2010 5:23:25 pm EST
I concur.
 
 
Posted By: Nat~Cat~13 - March 3rd, 2010 1:40:20 pm EST
I fully agree with you 100%. No person(s) should have the right to tell us parents, what is right or what is best for our children. I do believe that the "Art" of writing is positive. I am also in agreeance with you, that the young minds of the junior-high level do begin to develop their sense of being, and where is it in life, that they want to go, in direction. I feel, our society does not offer these age groups, the proper windows of opportunity, to stimulate thier minds academically or socially to be more positively productive. I wish that this age group had more opportunities to grow and explore! I also believe in "Freedom of Choice". I admire your books! I admire, that you keep your reader in "limbo" wondering what is going to happen next!
 
 
Posted By: Person Of Anonymity - February 11th, 2010 4:53:55 pm EST
I, from the perspective of an 8th grader, understand why the school system and administrators would feel the need to ban or restrict certain books, but what they don't realize is that we have already heard the curse words, vulgarity, and much else that could be found in this so-called "mind-destroying" literature. However, what I don't understand is, and possibly never will, is that they are afraid to show us what the real world is actually like (with the horribleness and whatnot); it seems almost like they DON'T want us to know until we graduate college, or whetever amount of education will be our finale, and reality is dropped on us like a bomb.
 
 
Posted By: Anonymous - January 29th, 2010 6:38:42 am EST
I understand why some books need to be banned at primary schools, but rather than banning them shouldn't they come with a warning label on the front instead of removing them from the library. Kids have a right to learn, and if they can't read these things they could be too sheltered, causing a bigger shock when they get out in the "real world". Yes, some kids will start repeating "bad words" from books, but shouldn't there be punishment/intervening then, instead of blocking kids from education, which is why they go to school in the first place...?
 
 
Posted By: Mike In Brooklyn - January 11th, 2010 7:12:04 pm EST
Well said, Mr. King. Our nation's forefathers would be proud. I give my middle-school English students a list of banned books and offer extra credit for papers written about them. I also supply my classroom library with twenty or so King titles, including three sets of the Dark Tower series. Your ideas are thought provoking and that is surely the point of literature. Your work ethic is inspiring, and for this you have my gratitude. Peace!
 
 
Posted By: Me - January 11th, 2010 12:17:41 pm EST
When I was in high school, some censorship group with a silly name like Morons Against Bad Books in School or something challenged Slaughterhouse-five. I don't know if they succeeded in getting it banned from the school library, but I do know that, by the end of the year, most of the high school population had either read the book or at least looked into reading it. MABBIS proved to be rather effective, yeah?
 
 
Posted By: Lola - January 3rd, 2010 10:14:13 pm EST
Books are a gateway for opening people's minds. I've always viewed book banning, because of this. People who ban books don't want anyone to get ideas that comes from it. Books are my life and it has opened my mind and made me discover unbelievable ideas.
 
 
Posted By: Angel - December 30th, 2009 12:03:26 am EST
I agree whole-heartedly that books should not be banned just because someone can't open their minds enough to realize the full picture of the story in a book, not just the bad parts. growing up in a catholic school has probably increase my adversement to book banning. the library we had had less than 400 books, and leass than 1/16 of those had matters concerning any problems larger than not being able to go to the party someone wanted to go to, or the baseball game that some stupid kid lost. I find book-banning pointless. if a kid wants to read a book about someone who saved a fictional world through a series of gory battles and dangerous adventures, then let him! let his mind grow, and let him extend his thoughts to a higher level. theres really nothing wrong with that, is there? and when you think about it that way, book-banning is actually immoral.
 
 
Posted By: Augie - December 20th, 2009 9:11:45 am EST
I love to read, consume books with a passion. I find it funny what books people try to ban. They must not read much, I have found MANY books that would cause people to not just want to ban, but close the library completely. Of course if they want to find them they need to read. When in high school a new book of short stories showed up with 2 of the stories neatly cut out of it, censorship rearing its head. Did anyone complain? No one but me and I was ignored.
 
 
Posted By: Jesse - December 18th, 2009 10:40:34 pm EST
I agree with you on this subject. I do think it is rather sad how because a single person find some little thing they are offended by they will go above and beyond to attack the " horrific video game , book , artist" or whatever else they seem to find destructive to their morals. The truth however is that the time they spent whining about this or that being bad they don't realize that " hey if I have taken the time to raise my child right maybe I should give them a little space and room for their soul to grow and learn by trying something new to their generation." Simply put if you raise someone right why are you afraid of them being influenced by an idea? Ideas will come and go and I can state with no doubt in my mind the ideas of hate and evil will die, but the ones of love and helping each out will last forever even if the we lost all the materials on earth; we will never lose are core values of what it means to be human. ;)
 
 
Posted By: Tom - December 16th, 2009 9:36:28 pm EST
I agree with essay wholeheartedly, however I think it is hilarious that this is the same man who voluntarily removed Rage from book shelves and has yet to put it back on. I love the story and believe that removing from shelves flies in the face of everything he discusses here. I loved a article I read before when they asked him what he thought of people who read his books and went out and committed acts of violence whether they were inspired by or copied something in one of his books. He replied that he felt that he should be able to sue them for plagiarism. The mentally disturbed will always commit violence just seems like some of them lack originality. Maybe Uncle Stevie should re-read this essay and reconsider his self imposed ban of Rage.
 
 
Posted By: Thriller - December 5th, 2009 7:26:11 pm EST
Steve u r so right. on the library website at my school, only one book stephen king related was about you. i wanted to check it out but couldnt cuz of frickin note stuff
 
 
Posted By: Silent1 - December 3rd, 2009 8:28:34 am EST
Im sure im not alone on this but for me, when someone tries to "Limit" what I should and should not be exposed too, Im more inclined to seek out that material, and see for myself..its like discovering secrets, I really feel that there is way to much fuss over protecting young minds from what could be learned,rather than saying "here is the real world" and exposing the young learners to whats really going on in this world where they have an opportunity to discuss and discover in group/class and decide for themselves whats appropriate for the current stage of life they are stepping out into.Let them read whats written, let them see whats occuring in their world., It's as if they're being taught "How to Think", instead of how to "Think For Themselves".... I really apprerciated SK's Essay and couldnt agree more with his approach in dealing with the event.
 
 
Posted By: Kd - November 17th, 2009 10:24:48 pm EST
A few years ago, I was sitting on the library board of a very small town. I was accosted by a number parents at school and social events about banning the Harry Potter books because it "taught our children satanism". I listened and kept my cool, these people were my neighbors. They always presented the same "research", which consisted of pages printed from The Onion! At that point, it takes superhuman strength not to bust out laughing. The head librarian also had to suffer through the same annoyance/hilarity. Our solution: A firm NO to pulling Harry Potter books off the shelves. However, if some did not want their children to read these books, we would keep a special notation on file and respect parental wishes. We ended up with a total of three names on that list; all of whom never patronized the library.
 
 
Posted By: Johnny Reb - November 16th, 2009 10:08:41 am EST
Too similar to Germany circa 1932 for my liking, and we all know how that shit played out.
 
 
Posted By: Rez - November 15th, 2009 4:17:07 am EST
You know what would make a good story...........
 
 
Posted By: Marco - November 12th, 2009 3:46:19 pm EST
I think that censorship in any form is wrong, and especially banning books is a behavior that just can't be. I don't even know, how they try to explain this to the public. I think, if children or teenagers read books which scares them, they will just close it and stop reading, so there is no reason to ban books. It's just my humble opinion. Greetings from Germany, a faithful reader PS: I'm reading Rose Madder right now and it confirmes my thought that all your books are just great. I really love them.
 
 
Posted By: Anonymous - October 18th, 2009 10:52:39 pm EDT
It's ka.
 
 
Posted By: Scotty Grace - October 8th, 2009 2:15:21 pm EDT
I think we need an addition to this censorship essay. It's great that you've written a story for the second-generation Kindle, but then Amazon did the unthinkable and took "1984" away from people who already bought it. What if that kind of control grew? At least if I buy the print edition nobody can take it from me. I was considering purchasing a Kindle but no more - I'll take paper copies instead.
 
 
Posted By: Nena - October 6th, 2009 7:00:08 pm EDT
From my own personal perspective, I have realized that the people who complain about Stephen King books are ones who have never taken the time to read one.
 
 
Posted By: Anonymous - October 5th, 2009 2:11:51 pm EDT
Sir, I agree with you 100%. For a while, they wanted to ban Harry Potter in my middle school library, and as I read the reports of the people who supported the censorship, I found that they had no idea what they were talking about. I aspire to be a writer someday (although I won't be nearly as good as you--few authors ever are) and I believe that censorship, in any aspect, is WRONG!
 
 
Posted By: Anonymous - September 26th, 2009 10:23:09 pm EDT
Although the situation is slightly different in the UK, I can empathise. When I was at secondary school, there was a shelf in the library which was only supposed to be read by people over a certain age (14/ Year 10 I think) and there were some Stephen King books on it. Not that anyone really enforced it though. I am seriously opposed to any kind of "age limit" on books and I have been reading horror novels (amongst other novels ) since my early teens, I also seemed to have (and still do at age 21) an appetite for reading anything controversial/ dark/strange/ scary/thought-provoking. At the time, they (horror novels) seemed a good alternative to horror movies [more strictly age-restricted in the UK than the US] and I think that it was probably one of the things that got me into writing (as well as discovering many authors who I still enjoy reading to this day). Had I been denied access to such books when I was younger, I don't think that I would have got so interested in writing (I'm just about to start a MA course in creative writing). On a more philosophical note, banning books just makes them more appealing to people. As for the point about "American Psycho", I read it when I was about 15 and although I was pretty shocked by some parts of it (I still consider it to be one of the most violent books I have ever read), I don't think that there is much point banning teenagers from reading it as most will probably get bored before they get to anything shocking (although I think a lot of the book's subtext went over my head at the time, probably because I read it mainly because of the controversy rather than anything else). Literature is one of the few mediums of expression left with (relatively) no censorship and I believe it should stay that way otherwise we risk disillusioning a lot of future writers and losing out on many thought-provoking books.
 
 
Posted By: Anonymous - September 25th, 2009 4:26:57 am EDT
Hats off!
 
 
Posted By: Anonymous - September 25th, 2009 12:30:55 am EDT
Snazzy. I approve. But, you're kinda preaching to the choir here aren't you? You also said "lively life."
 
 
Posted By: BJMallory - September 21st, 2009 4:47:34 am EDT
I began collecting your books in the early 80s, shortly after the birth of the first of my four children in 1981. Your books were kept in a bookshelf in the living room. The kids weren't allowed to touch "mom's books," only because I didn't want to have them get mangled. When they were old enough to understand what they were reading in those treasured volumes, they were allowed to borrow them. My daughter was the only one of the four to inherit my love of reading; the boys were interested in other things. She read many of your books and like me, she loves "The Stand" very much. She began being allowed to borrow my SK books at about age 12. I could never have imagined "banning" my children from reading anything. I would only make sure that they were mentally ready to read whatever it was they were wanting to check out. After a certain age, (in my opinion, this is around age 16 or so) they are pretty much ready to read anything that they can get on their own. One of my sons had a copy of "The Satanic Bible" in his room once. Since he was already over 18, I didn't really freak out about this too much. I just asked him what he thought of it. He shrugged his shoulders and said that it was pretty much like any other religious text he'd read - full of crap. It disappeared from his room shortly thereafter. Would I run out and buy The Satanic Bible for my kids to read? Of course not. But I'm not going to freak out about one of them wanting to read it and make up his own mind about it afterward. And I'm pretty happy that he didn't think it was the greatest thing since sliced bread.
 
 
Posted By: Lord Matthew Hubert Hastings - September 1st, 2009 3:38:23 am EDT
Here here, ol' chap. Here here.
 
 
Posted By: Jenn - August 27th, 2009 12:05:24 pm EDT
I couldn't agree more... I started reading your books when I hit 5th grade and I then started Middle school and to my disappointment all of Stephen King books were banned at my particular school library... I still got my hands on them and I still read them today.
 
 
Posted By: Chad Aaron Sayban - August 24th, 2009 7:38:37 pm EDT
I don't believe this essay could have been thought out any better. Amen and bravo, Stephen!
 
 
Posted By: Ninel - August 21st, 2009 8:17:11 pm EDT
That is totally right. I really agree with that. I can't even express the Stephen King novels that i read to anyone else at my school, or i will be in for punishment. They don't even have the books in the library, and i think that's stupid. Stephen King has extended my ability in most things. I actually speak in a higher level than my peers, and spell much, much better. And, agreeing with Stephen again, i would never waste my time trying to fight against them, i just do my own thing, and talk to everyone about my books. If I'm in trouble, i'm taking my novels with me! :)
 
 
Posted By: HFS - August 19th, 2009 7:14:55 pm EDT
I hear ya, pal! Our school doesn't ban books, but when my teacher told us that one of the books that was mandatory reading for his class was banned in some places, I was shocked. This book was 'The Giver', a book about a future society in which everything is moderated and super super communist. To eliminate overpopulation, at a certain age, or when a person is a twin, or in a certain condition, they are euthanized. I thought it was a great book that made you really think, but I wondered why the hell it was banned. Some people called it a 'suicide book'. These are the mega-conservatives who are told this kind of stuff by their parents for generations and believe without any thought process as to why they do these things. I mean, you have to let your kids choose their morals, not have them force-fed to them. I say let them read whatever they want, as long as it's intelligent and unbiased.
 
 
Posted By: Colleen - July 27th, 2009 2:40:10 pm EDT
To this I just have to say "AMEN"! Our family "unschool" which is giving our children the time and opportunity to think and dream and follow their individual passions. I believe in liberty as long as it's not hurting someone else. It's a shame that censorship still goes on, but I suppose that's an aspect of human nature that will always have to be dealt with.
 
 
Posted By: Kav - July 19th, 2009 12:10:47 pm EDT
Mr King, you are an inspiration. Your essay is excellent and, if the useless word of a little Scottish means anything, I am right behind you in spirit. I cant vote accross the atlantic for stuff like this but I hope my help counts for a little anyway. Your books are excellent literature, skillfully written and exectuted; look at "Geralds Game" for example. You barely leave a room but are engrossing all the way through. These idiots that ban your books dont know what theyre missing.
 
 
Posted By: Anonymous - June 27th, 2009 10:36:38 am EDT
My schools previous Librarian who is now also my Boss through his other business. Had a major thing against Stephen King books. Out of the two he had not only did he keep them behind locked doors so you had to "request" them. But they were also locked up because every once in a while they would go missing for very long periods of time. Growing up with a brother who was 10 years older than me I started reading King's books as a little girl. So when I ran out of my brother's colection I was upset that our Librarian wouldn't buy more books. Even once or Librarian retired the next one felt the same way. But this time I was more willing to listen to his opionon. Which actualy made sence. Because our Library is open to K-12th grade if we promote King we may run into the problem of sounding like we promote violence. Now though I don't agree with what he thinks instead I always keep my eyes out for King's books... Which I think in the end is better. Because who dosn't want the worlds largest Stephen King collection?
 
 
Posted By: Showtimecircus - June 19th, 2009 9:05:48 am EDT
Stephen King's novels shouldn't be banned in schools. If anything there should be more in. His novels entertain and do the one thing that teachers are trying to make kids do-read! A terrible mistake was made to ban two of his books, and most likely made by snobby busybodies who havent got anything else better to do!
 
 
Posted By: Mercop - June 9th, 2009 6:24:37 pm EDT
This is a great essay that I think should be published in King's next story collection. I agree with all thats said here. I've been reading king since I was eleven or twelve and it entained me greatly. Also It introduced me to adult novels right about the time when I was getting bored of things like the hobbit. King's books have realistic charicters not sterotypes and I think evrey middle shcooler should pick up a King novel.
 
 
Posted By: Sandy - June 9th, 2009 2:41:09 am EDT
Mr. King: Bravo! Throughout the years books for all age groups, books that were part of a culture, have unceremoniously been removed from shelves never to be heard of again and this is a shame. We as a public need to pay more attention to majority than to the one or two who decide to climb up on their soap boxes because they have taken up some "cause". Now, if other states join the band wagon and decide they too will ban your material, this will be a great loss. Not only do your story lines hold one mesmerized, but your writing tecnique allows the reader to "live" in that moment. Very few accomplish this feat. This alone promotes the desire to read and more so to better express oneself. BTW, I love love love your editorials in E. Dad gum , you are funny!
 
 
Posted By: Blackorchid20046 - June 7th, 2009 2:12:02 pm EDT
My senior American Novels class just finished reading Huck Finn by M. Twain. I couldn't believe the controversy surrounding the novel. I understand that there is quite a bit of local color and by that I mean the use of the "n" word over 200 times and so on within the text. And yet it annoys me that people want it banned from schools, one reason being that it holds racist values. If you read the book, it is absolutely clear that Twain is not racist, that he is in fact making racism sound cruel ridiculous by poking fun at it. Yes, I understand that there are plenty of other 'valid' reasons to ban the book, but regardless of those supposed reasons, we read it in order for Twain to teach a lesson. Isn't that what reading is all about? This essay just made me reminisce a bit...
 

 

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