Monday, September 27, 2010

Banned Book Week 2010

Are you aware Banned Books Week started on Saturday? Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read is observed during the last week of September each year. Observed since 1982, this annual ALA event reminds Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted. For more, click here .

The trouble with censorship is that once it starts it is hard to stop. Just about every book contains something that someone objects to.
~Studs Terkel

A Texas town has banned the Harry Potter books because they glorify magic, and learning to read.
~Craig Kilborn

There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.
~Joseph Brodsky

"Censorship is telling a man he can't have a steak just because a baby can't chew it."
-- Mark Twain

"Adam was but human - this explains it all. He did not want the apple for the apple's sake, he wanted it only because it was forbidden. The mistake was in not forbidding the serpent; then he would have eaten the serpent."
-- Mark Twain

"All these people talk so eloquently about getting back to good old-fashioned values. Well, as an old poop I can remember back to when we had those old-fashioned values, and I say let's get back to the good old-fashioned First Amendment of the good old-fashioned Constitution of the United States -- and to hell with the censors! Give me knowledge or give me death!"
-- Kurt Vonnegut, author

"The dirtiest book of all is the expurgated book."
-- Walt Whitman

"There is no such thing as a moral book or an immoral book. Books are well written or badly written. That is all."
-- Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891
"The books that the world calls immoral are the books that show the world its own shame." Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891

"An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all." -- Oscar Wilde

How many of these books have you read?

When I was it high school, it was Tropic of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn, and Lady Chatterley's Lover that were making the headlines. I wonder how many of the books I've been reading lately (heck, even the ones I've written) would fare by those standards.

Tomorrow, my guest is writing duo Tia Dani, and they're talking about haunted houses--based on their own experiences. Be sure to come back.


Jeff Beesler said...

The quote that the president of the ALA has made, coupled with the quotes you've provided here, have really given me a lot to think about as far as book bans and censorship goes. Thank you for those wonderful quotes.

Terry Odell said...

Jeff - as always, happy to share, and thanks for stopping by. Hope you'll spread the word.

BrennaLyons said...

I blogged about this today, too. BTW, you used some of my favorite quotes. Grinning...

Read them? I have a dozen of them on my book shelves right now. SYLVESTER AND THE MAGIC PEBBLE was my favorite book, when I was in grade school. All three of my children have read a handful of these, and nine of them are required reading for my children by the age of and dad ordered reading. My older two have read all of the required books so far, and my youngest has read five of them.


Carol Kilgore said...

Great post. Everyone should read at least one banned book this week.

Miriam Newman said...

A good and important post, Terry. Thank you for taking a stand. My to-be-read list has just grown longer.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Wow...I've read 19 of them. I must be really twisted! :)

Annabelle Ambrosio said...

If you don't like a book, you don't have to read it. If you don't like a movie, you don't have to watch it, but if you don't have freedom, you don't have an opportunity for either.

Terry Odell said...

Brenna - so much can be done in the home (sometimes it's good, sometimes it's not, sadly)

Carol - good advice

Miriam - good for you

Elizabeth - I think it's more likely the list is the thing that's twisted

Annabelle - Excellent!

And everyone else who's reading these comments -- PLEASE share the links, Tweet, etc. The word needs to be spread, whether you're linking to my post (which is appreciated, of course) or posting your own links.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

As a former librarian, I don't approve of banning books or "inferno collections". However, librarians have traditionally considered themselves gatekeepers.They don't order books they don't consider worthy. That's why it's important for readers to think for themselves and not be sheep.

Terry Odell said...

Jacqueline - interesting. With all the books out there, librarians do have to make choices. All we can do is hope their standards of "worthy" aren't for personal prejudices.

Anonymous said...

I heartily agree - I thought we had freedom of the press and if we have that then we have the freedom to read or not. And if you censor one area, where do you stop?
Barbara Custer

jenny milchman said...

Those are wonderful quotes. It amazes me that even picture books get banned. Then again, maybe it shouldn't. Those who would ban books treat everyone like children--just as Mark Twain says. I think we'd all be a lot better off if we realized that children and adults alike do pretty well when encouraged to think for themselves.

Great post!

Terry Odell said...

Barbara - so true

Jenny - telling someone how to think? Not a good thing. Teaching them how to think--that's better.