This was a hard one for me to work with. As far as I know, no ban has ever been imposed on any book that I wanted to read in the place and time that I wished to read it. I know I borrowed Huckleberry Finn from either the Bayonne Public Library or my grade school library. The same applies to many other books that have been banned somewhere, some time. I can’t recall hearing of a single instance of anyone in my town calling for a ban on any book. These things might have happened, of course, but they never touched me.
As far as I know, no ban has ever been imposed on any book that I wanted to read in the place and time that I wished to read it.
There was the attempt by one librarian to ban an entire category of books for me, personally, but that was quashed very quickly (Bringing Backup).
I took a stab at writing about how many books have been banned, or why, or by whom, but that could take a year.
So, I just started reading what other folks here have posted. I’ve read most of the works mentioned in the various stories. Most I thoroughly enjoyed. Many taught me something or other. But one book immediately stood out. This one changed me, deep inside. This one taught me a valuable and terrible lesson. This book taught me that no matter how much I think I know a subject, I might still retain profound ignorance, and some of that ignorance might be impossible to overcome.
I love history and have read much. WWII; the battles, the leaders, the causes, the politics, the Holocaust, are all things that I have read extensively about. But nothing I have ever read has given this white, ex-Christian male a sense of the feeling, the soul-crushing terror and heartbreaking despair of true existential oppression as did Maus.
Absent being hunted by powerful entities that control everything and wish me dead, I know that I cannot ever fully understand the feeling of people caught up in racism or genocide. That understanding must always remain academic. But Speigelman has narrowed that gap more than anything I ever encountered for any subject unfortunate enough to have a gap that needs narrowing. I cannot think of another work that so profoundly educated me as did Maus. The closest that any books have come to Maus are Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaids Tale and Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man.
The book deserved every award and plaudit that it received. I fully agree that it was Maus that gained the graphic novel full respect as a literary form, to the extent that it really needed to be called something other than a comic book.
I cannot say that I enjoyed reading Maus. Rather, I needed to read Maus.
A hyper-annuated wannabee scientist with a lovely wife and a mountain biking problem.