Banned Books Week | Celebrating the Freedom to Read

Banned Books Week

If I’m honest, the whole idea of censorship drives me crazy. But censoring books? That one, I’ll never understand.

I don’t know if I can even begin to explain to you how important books are, and always have been, in my life and in my heart. Books were my escape as a child. Books taught me all the things I didn’t learn at home or at school. Friendship. Hardship. Love. Fear. Excitement. Magic. Lust. Anger. Sadness. Companionship. Books taught me that I would never be alone, as long as I was able to pick one of them up and immerse myself in the world that the author had created for me. There is an endless list of things that books have introduced me to over the years, and there’s no way for me to explain how grateful I am for that.

It seems though, that there will always be people that feel the need to challenge that. People that think they know what the youth of the world should be reading and what words they should be consuming. How dare young people read about sexual situations? Or violence? Or racially charged moments? Or various religious viewpoints? Sexual orientation that isn’t heterosexual? Witchcraft or magic? How dare authors put those things into words? We must challenge and ban those books! Put a stop to them! At least that’s what the various parents, teachers, politicians, and board members seem to think.

In those regards, we must also ban the news, right? And most television shows. And political debates, we can’t have those things popping up and tainting the minds of our youth, can we? Most art should go, right? Quite a bit of nudity in those silly old paintings and statues. And all education should cease in regards to the civil rights movement and things of that nature, can’t have kids hearing of racism, can we?

I hope I’m making it clear how absurd I find this whole thing to be. Banning books on the grounds of things like racism, sexual situations, political viewpoints, the presence of witchcraft, encouragement of “damaging” lifestyles, or violence has never, and will never make sense to me. What will shielding children from these achieve? Are these things that children won’t see or hear on television, in their day to day lives, etc?

Banning books is disgraceful and insulting really, to the intelligence and consciousness of the youth that they are trying to “shield”.

Banned Books Week should be important to all of us. Even if you never experienced that censorship first hand, you should still push for future generations to have the freedom to read and explore. To learn and understand. To be introduced to things in a safe and enlightening way, rather than the harsh realities of the real world. Let them read about depression. Let them understand it. Give them the freedom to explore sexuality. Help them understand it. Make the classics available to them, so they can see the words that helped shape the world around them. Treat them as intelligent and comprehending beings, and maybe they’ll have a better chance of growing up as such.

Parents, teachers, religious organizations, and political organizations alike, have tried to take so many pieces of literature away from the youth of the world. Catcher in the Rye. The Harry Potter Series. The Hunger Games Series. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. The Perks of Being a Wallflower. The Kite Runner. The Great Gatsby. To Kill a Mockingbird. The Lord of the Rings. I think it’s clear that some of these people mean well in their efforts, but I don’t believe that any good has or will ever come of it.

Authors like Maya Angelou, John Green, Kurt Vonnegut, Stephen King, Judy Blume, J.K. Rowling and infinitely more have had their books challenged or banned at one time or another, all in the name of censorship.

This is why Banned Books Week matters.

Please, take some time to read and understand what is happening, and why it’s happening, and decide if you would like to stand up for the future of literature.

I believe it is important for the younger generations to have a chance to learn, dream, and understand, while they’re still able, and I feel that Books are able to give them that chance.

To learn more about Banned Books Week, you can visit the American Library Association’s site dedicated to the Office of Intellectual Freedom of the ALA or any of these other wonderful sites.
Some blog posts I’ve read recently that helped inspire me to put my opinion out there and join the conversation;
The Rambler, Illinois College,“Banned Books Week”
Nathan Biberdorf, “We Must Indeed All Band Together, Or Most Assuredly, We Will All Be Banned Separately”
Lady Jane,“Banned Books Week Challenge”
Kateywrites,“#RaisingReaders Monday: fREADom”

I hope you’re doing well, where ever you are in the world, and I wish you all the best.

-Lexie Xx

New to my blog? Why not read a bit about me; Like how I love Doctor Who, or what I would say to my Future Husband if I knew who that person was, or take a look back at various points in my life in my post about my birthday last month? Or, you know, do what ever you’d like. 🙂

12 Autumnal Goals

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Earlier this year, I did a post entitled “20 Summer Goals” where I listed, you guessed it, 20 goals that I wanted to complete over the summer. I didn’t make it through all the goals, but I made it through some of them, and I honestly had a really good time doing it. Making that list gave me something to look forward to over the summer that helped me look past the burning heat and the long days. After the summer, I wasn’t planning to make any more goals for myself or anything like that, but this morning I felt really inspired to do it. I think it may just become a habit for me, to give myself inspiration to get out and do things throughout each part of the year rather than getting stuck in a rut and letting the year pass me by without taking advantage of all of it. All of the photos throughout this post were taken in or around Grand Marais, Minnesota. Grand Marais is my favorite place to be in the Autumn. Just looking at these pictures brings back so many wonderful memories that I’ve made there over the years, and it felt quite fitting to put a few of them in this post filled with inspiration for myself.
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1. Go to a pumpkin patch.

2. Go apple picking.

3. Bake something new.

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4. Carve pumpkins.

5. Go on a walk/hike in 3 new places.

6. Watch 5 scary movies.

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7. Read 6 new books, in at least 3 different genres.

8. Go on an adventure.

9. Work on more photography.

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10. Write at least 1 blog post each week, if not more.

11. Put myself out there more, let more people in.

12. Explore the city, and document it.

As you can see, some of these goals are ones that I can (and hopefully will!) blog, and others aren’t, but the ones that are blogable, are the ones I’m most excited about. Some of these goals are the most standard of things. Things that people say they want to do every time Fall rolls around. Cliches. But that fact aside, they are all things that I haven’t done since I was a little kid, and I really want to try and do them again. I want to make memories, because when it comes down to it, memories are all that matter. And if there ever comes a time when I can’t remember these things anymore, I like to think I’ll be able to come back to this blog, and relive these moments.

So here is me, wishing myself good luck in completing each one of these goals. I hope you will enjoy sharing these moments with me, and if you yourself decide to create your own goals this Fall, please let me know or tag me in them so I can follow along with you! I hope it can give you inspiration and help you create memories of your own.

I hope you’re doing well, where ever you are in the world, and I wish you all the best.

-Lexie Xx

Sleepy Sundays | I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22

My brother and I, at my first birthday, August 7th, 1994.  Yes, I still eat cake that way.
My brother and I, at my first birthday, August 7th, 1994.
Yes, I still eat cake that way.

Birthdays. What can you say about them really? Some people love them and some people hate them, but I for one, fall into the “love” group wholeheartedly (for the most part). I am not someone that dreads getting older or has an existential crisis every time their birthday rolls around, but I am someone that does a lot of contemplating and thinking when this day comes back around each year.

I'm pretty sure I saw a girl leaving Starbucks wearing this exact sunflower dress yesterday. The baby version of me was such a trendsetter.
I’m pretty sure I saw a girl leaving Starbucks wearing this exact sunflower dress yesterday.
The baby version of me was such a trendsetter.

Friday, August 7th, was my birthday. I spent it with friends and family having one of my favorite meals, eating yummy cupcakes, enjoying more than a few cocktails, and reminiscing about life and all the birthdays I’ve celebrated before this one. Every year for at least the last 5 years or so, I sit down, and just think. I think about all the things I have or haven’t done this past year, I think about the chances I took and the ones I let slip by, I think of all the happy and sad times, and I think of what I expected life to be at this moment. I always have a clear picture of what I want my life to be and where I want to end up, and coming to terms with the fact that I have no control over those things is a tough one for me. Well, I wouldn’t say that I have absolutely no control, but there are many things that just happen how they are mean’t to in life, and there’s not much you can do about it.

This is still the face I make when someone asks me to "smile for the camera!"
This is still the face I make when someone asks me to “smile for the camera!”

In a perfect world* (from the point of view of a daydreaming, introverted, bookworm that has an intense love for adventure and smiles), I would be travelling right now. Making the most of my youth, exploring all the places I’ve written about on this blog and many, many more. I would be standing on top of a mountain in Greece, staring off into the ocean contently thinking about where I’ll go next and what places I want to see. I’d be writing every day, and putting it all out there for the world to see. I’d never worry about money or material things, because who needs that when you have so much to see and do in life? Books would never be far from my hands and a smile would never be far from my face. I’d be happy, in the purest sense of the word.

But it isn’t my perfect world. Instead, I’m a struggling student, working a full-time, at a supremely boring and mundane office job, while tackling a full-time course load. I’m stuck in midwestern Missouri in the middle of America, with no funds to get out. I’m drowning myself in student loan debt in hopes of giving myself a better future. I’m boyfriendless and single in a place where that is a rarity. I’m not fit and healthy, as I would so love to be. I’m not writing everyday or living out my passions and dreams. But one thing that I realized on my birthday this year, is that I am happy. In the purest sense of the word. And that is all that matters to me right now. I may not be where I’ve dreamt of being in life, but I’m happy. I’m meeting new people and making new friends all the time. I’m exploring my own city and creating my own adventures. I’m writing a lot more than I used to, even if all of that writing is still sitting in my drafts folder and hasn’t been posted here.

This is one of many football team related photoshoots that my parents forced upon me as a child. American parents and their sports, you can't get away from it.
This is one of many football team related photoshoots that my parents forced upon me as a child. American parents and their sports, you can’t get away from it.

This birthday has shown me that I don’t always need to be in control. I can still lead a happy life, even if it isn’t what I expected it to be. Even when I have hard days, and bad days, and even on those days where I just want to sit on the floor and cry from all the stress, it will all be worth it in the end, and it is all worth it right this moment, just for those days where I am filled with pure happiness.

I hope you’ve enjoyed the little glimpses into my life and child hood throughout this post with the random photographs I’ve decided to throw in. What’s a good birthday post without a little bit of a throw back.

I will leave you now, as I always should, with a quote from Harry Potter.

What’s comin’ will come, an’ we’ll meet it when it does. -Rubeus Hagrid, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, page 719

And now, at the very end, you get me, in my current state. Hair that somehow always manages to be untidy at all times, Superhero t-shirts, and a cat in the background.
And now, at the very end, you get me, in my current state. Hair that somehow always manages to be untidy at all times, Superhero t-shirts, and a cat in the background.

I hope you’re doing well, where ever you are in the world, and I wish you all the best.

-Lexie Xx

30 Day Writing Challenge | Day 23

Day 23: Write a letter to someone, anyone.

(Source)
(Source)

Dear Future Husband,

How are you? Wonderful I hope. I haven’t met you yet, but I hope I do someday soon. Are you the prince charming I dreamt of as a child? Are you Matthew Gray Gubler? Probably not. That’s okay. I obviously love you anyway. Even though I don’t know you yet, I think of you often. I think of how my life could be. Will I still live here in Missouri? Is that where you are from? I don’t know anything about you yet. I don’t know what your sibling’s names are, or if you even have any. I don’t know what your favorite color is, or if you love chocolate as much as me. I don’t know how tall you are, but I do hope I managed to find someone taller than me, that would be lovely, but if you aren’t, that’s fine too. I obviously love you anyway. Do you like to read as much as I do? Do you love your family? Are you a cat person or a dog person? Did you let me have the nerdy wedding of my dreams? Was it the wedding of your dreams as well? I have so many questions for you, ones that I’m sure you have for me as well.

You know that Meghan Trainor song, “Dear Future Husband”? I hate that song. This letter will be nothing like that. I don’t have all these requirements for you or expectations of those sorts for you, but there are some things I hope you are able to do for me. I hope you’re faithful. I’ve seen what cheating can do to a family, and I don’t want to go through it. Please be a good man, though I’m sure you are, I mean, I married you, you must be good. I hope you’re understanding. You must be if you decided to settle down with me. There’s no way you could survive a relationship with me without being understanding. I hope you will treat me the way I should be treated, with kindness and respect, just as I will always do the same for you. I hope you’re a good father. I don’t know if we’ll have our own kids, or if we’ll adopt, but I hope you teach our children all the right things in life. I hope you’ll teach our sons to be good men, giving them the best example to follow. And I hope you’ll show our daughters just how they should be treated. And I hope together, we can instill the best values in our children, and show them all the love and kindness, and sometimes firmness, that we have to offer them. I hope we can teach them to live their lives without hate, and teach them that everyone deserves their best chance in life to be happy, regardless of race, gender, or sexuality; I hope we teach them that people are people, and love is love. I don’t expect you to treat me like a princess everyday of our lives, though that would be nice once in a while, everyone wants to feel special, but I do hope you always treat me like a human being. I hope you value the things I do in life, and I hope you love every part of me, the good and the bad, just as I will of you.

I hope you’re the kind of man that doesn’t base his love on my appearance. I hope you’ll love me no matter how big or small I am, and will support me through any changes that happen in my life, just as I will for you. I hope you’ll be there for me if I get sick, and will hold my hand through any hard times, just as I will for you.

There’s so much I want to say to you, to a man I’ve never met. But I suppose it all can be summed up in three words; I love you. I must do, if I’m marrying you. Do you love me too? Let’s hope so, because you’re stuck with me. I don’t want to be in the percentage of marriages that fail. I want mine to last. So any fights, any bumps in the road, any hardships, I hope we can always remember our love for one another, and that we can work through anything and everything. Love is hard work, but it’s worth it. I hope you let me name our children the names I’ve always wanted, I hope you let me pick the music in the car, I hope you give me foot rubs when I’m feeling upset because that always makes me feel better, I hope you hug me when I’m angry to calm me down, I hope you tell me when I’m acting crazy to help me see straight again, I hope we love each other unconditionally because that’s how it’s supposed to be.

When we’re old and gray, and our kids have moved on, I hope we still feel the same love for each other that we felt on our wedding day, more love if possible. I hope we grow old together. I hope I can make you happy.

I can’t wait to meet you someday, hopefully soon, I’m sure you will be everything I never knew I wanted in a man.

Love,

Your Future Wife

30 Day Writing Challenge | Day 18

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(Source)

I should start this post off with a bit of an explanation. I haven’t posted in a while, a week to be exact. We’ve had some big storms here lately, and my internet has been down for 7 days; 7 agonizing days. But it’s back now and so am I! I’m a bit torn as to what I want to do with this 30 Day Challenge, do I want to post everything I missed when my internet was gone? Or do I just want to pick up here, on Day 18, and forget about the past few days? I think I may have to go with the latter, just for my sanity’s sake. So here it goes, Day 18, I hope you will join me on the next leg of this writing challenge and will forgive me for missing the past week. Here goes nothing!

Day 18: Post 30 facts about your self.

1. I am turning 22 on August 7th.
2. My favorite color is Seafoam Green
3. I’ve wanted to live in the UK/Ireland since I was in preschool, there are adorable drawings from me at age 4 describing where I want to live and why I wanted to live there, along with a FANTASTIC little Union Jack flag in the background.
4. I don’t believe I have ever really been in love romantically.
5. In Kindergarten I chose “J.K. Rowling” as what I wanted to be when I grew up. That’s still accurate today.
6. I like to watch the NASA channel on TV when I’m doing things around the house like cleaning, or working on homework. I find it really soothing.
7. I listen to audiobooks to fall asleep at night almost all the time.
8. I consider myself to be an “old soul”.
9. I really, REALLY hate onions. They make me feel sick every time I eat one.
10. I have two older brothers, one 12 years older than me and the other 7 years older.
11. I did competitive cheerleading as a child, won a lot of awards, and absolutely hated it.
12. When I was a little kid, I used to burst into tears and turn off the VCR when the villagers grabbed their torches and pitchforks to go after the Beast in Beauty and the Beast.
13. I have an obsession with outer space and maps.
14. I feel most at home when I’m by the sea, especially on cloudier cooler days.
15. I have very pale skin, and burn almost instantly when out in the sun without sunscreen.
16. I am half Italian and half Danish. No one ever believes that I am half Italian until they see my mother. I most definitely took after the Scandinavian side of my family.
17. I sing in the shower. Loudly.
18. I once broke my arm in two places, when riding a bike with no brakes. I have my brothers to thank for that.
19. I love to bake. It is one of my favorite things to do.
20. My dream home isn’t a huge mansion like many people would want, but a small little cottage, with fields of flowers in the countryside, with a city close enough to go to everyday, but far enough to keep things calm and quiet.
21. When I was 11, I beat 55 other people, all at least a few years older than me, in a geography bee.
22. I love to fly in airplanes.
23. I have 4 teeny tiny tattoos. And will be getting one more teeny tiny one next summer.
24. When I was seven, my brother spilled red Kool-Aid on the floor, so naturally I laughed at him. He then lifted me up by my ankles and mopped up the Kool-Aid with my bright blonde hair, causing the ends of my hair to be dyed pink. He got in a lot of trouble, and I had pink hair. It was a win-win for 7 year old me.
25. I don’t like to go to family functions with my extended family, because I don’t enjoy being around them.
26. I love my pets more than I love most people.
27. I love to shop and buy new things, but I hate going to stores.
28. I am a really loving and caring person, almost to a fault.
29. I am a dreamer.
30. I believe that someday there will be a time when everyone in the world will be able to get along.

Bonus Fact: Missing this last week of blogging really made me realize how much I truly enjoy it! I hope this little blogging hobby is something I keep up for a long time. 🙂

I hope you all will accept me back into the world of blogging, and will forgive me for being away for a while. I’m excited to be back at this and have missed this outlet dearly. And thank you crispywalker for checking on me and making sure everything was okay after noticing I hadn’t posted in a while, that was very kind of you!

I hope you’re doing well, where ever you are in the world, and I wish you all the best.

-Lexie Xx