American Librarian’s say, “Defend your freedom to read and read a banned book.”
As part of the American Library Association’s 2013 Banned Book Week, I was excited to accept Professor Joe Medina’s invitation to celebrate our freedom to read without censorship. My presentation at Grossmont College’s Celebration of Banned Books focused on banned vampire literature. It wasn’t hard to find examples because I doubt there has ever been a vampire story that wasn’t banned at one time or another. Most recently, Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight, P.C. Cast and Kristen Cast’s House of Night, and Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy, all young adult novels, made the no-no list. I am always dismayed when people who have never read the novels ban them, but the Texas school district did one better with Mead’s books. They banned the rest of the series before they were even written!
My vampire talk followed profound and thought provoking presentations by Dr. “T” Ford on Banned People: Bessie Smith featuring Lady J, a blues singer who sang Bessie Smith’s songs a cappella; Lisa Shapiro on banned books and banned people with Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow and the Central Park Five; and James Strand on banned Superman comics (he’s a hero who “fights for truth and justice in the American way” for goodness sake). I brought the evening to a close by saying that Bram Stoker Dracula’s thirst for blood symbolized repressed sexual passion in Victorian England, and that currently vamp lit regained popularity in part because of our fascination with and longing for immortal youth. Botox, anyone?