Monday, October 1, 2012

Banned Books Week Turns 30

Plus in this post, an interview with Michelle T. Lederman, the author of The 11 Laws of Likability

Banned Books Week is underway, celebrating 30 years of calling attention to threats to the First Amendment.  The American Library Association notes that books still get banned in the United States (about 400 incidents in the past year) and implores Americans to support the disseminating of all books, regardless of content.

Books are not banned or censored by the government, but there are book stores or libraries that purposely don’t carry certain books.  To Kill a Mockingbird and Catcher in the Rye have been removed from library shelves this year, to name a few.

Should some books remain off limits? What if the book spews hate speech or displays hard-core child porn?  Should some things be off limits?

I think there should be no limits placed by the government on which books are published or what’s contained in their content.  Of course, I wouldn’t buy a book that features things like a dog being tortured, a kiddie porn picture, or the ramblings of the KKK – but I believe free speech has to be protected.

The marketplace dictates if something is financially viable as well as morally correct.  People will ‘vote’ on a book based on whether they chose to buy it and based on how they review it. 

In the digital era no book could be banned.  It’s available to everyone.  Still, certain libraries think they can police the world based on the books it bans, and they need to be watched closely.

Only a few hundred books are banned each year. Out of 100,000 public school libraries, 33,000 private school libraries, and 10,000 public libraries, the number of banned books is relatively low, but if it happens even once, it is one time too many.

According to the American Library Association, the books most often banned in 2011 were:

1.                  ttyl, ttfn, 18r, g8r by Lauren Myracle
2.                  The Color of Earth by Kim Dong Hwa
3.                  The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
4.                  My Mom’s Having a Baby by Don H. Butler
5.                  The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

If you love books and the First Amendment, speak out against book bans.  Check out more information at

Interview With Author Michelle Tillis Lederman

Michelle T. Lederman has written The 11 Laws of Likability. For more information, please see:  Please see her interview below:

1.      What type of books do you write?  Business Communications books.  I have seen myself on the management and Leadership Shelf at Barnes and Noble.

2.      What is your newest book about?  My first book is called The 11 Laws of Likability:  relationship Networking… Because People do Business with People They Like.  It is about understanding the drivers of likability and what you can do before, during, an d after a conversation to build strong relationships. My next book, due out in January, is called Heroes Get Hired: Leverage Your Military Experience to Master the Job Interview.  It will actually be given away to all returning veterans in digital format and will include over 20 videos to help them land the job.

3.      What inspired you to write it?   I developed a course for a few clients called The Natural Networker and I thought it would be easy to turn it into a book – I was so wrong!  The real answer is that people kept asking me how I built my business with such well known client names.  This book is my answer to that question.

4.      What is the writing process like for you?  Painful! I have been told I write they walk I talk, which if you knew me would have you rolling your eyes.  I can be long winded and tangential.  Thank goodness for good editors J.

5.      What did you do before you became an author?  I am still recovering from a decade in the finance world where I made many of the mistakes I know train others not to make.  I have been training for the last decade – it just took me that long to write the book.

6.      How does it feel to be a published author?   A year out – still exciting and still surreal.

7.      Any advice for struggling writers?  Baby steps. Don’t look to the finish line – it often feels too far away.  Just do the next thing to move it forward and keep making progress.  Oh, and get lots of opinions and then ignore at least a third of them.

8.      Where do you see book publishing heading?   Excellent question and I don’t have an excellent answer.  Did I mention my new book is only in digital format and has over 20 videos?

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

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