Check out the Banned Books Display in the window at Village Books. If you can guess the FAKE banned book, enter your name in the drawing for a $10 gift certificate. A winner will be drawn on Oct. 10, 2011.
This is Banned Books Week – so what? I observe Banned Books Week like it was a National Holiday. Here’s why:
220 years ago, on a cold day in December, 1791, our Founding Fathers passed the first amendment to the Constitution: Freedom of Speech. About 50 years ago William Faulkner said: "Read, read, read. Read everything-trash, classics, good and bad - read!" and “Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world...would do this, it would change the earth. ”
What do both of these facts have to do with Banned Books Week? Everything. You can change the earth by exercising your freedom of speech and by reading banned books. Defy censorship! Celebrate liberty! Practice freedom of speech!
Without the freedom to speak or write anything of our choice, and without the freedom to read anything of our choice, we would be living under social censorship, which millions of oppressed people still endure around the world. We would be living under a despotic, tyrannical, theocratic society that bans books, movies, speeches, actions, and tells us what to wear, what to think, who we can or cannot marry and many other violations of human rights every day. Andrew, one of my bookselling coworkers, said, “Try buying any book you want in Saudi Arabia, or see if you can get it shipped into Saudi Arabia.” Makes you stop and think, doesn’t it?
For a list of books that have been banned in America, and why, go to this website: http://www.banned-books.com/bblista-i.html You will see that most books were banned by outraged parents, or by school districts, for reasons that span the spectrum, such as foul language, explicit sexual scenes, cursing, homosexuality, anti-Christian, atheist, anti-Semetic, anti-Islamic, teenage masturbation, racial slang, and abortion challenging social norms. The list goes on and on. Pick up Uncle Tom’s Cabin again, or Catch 22, or To Kill a Mockingbird and read it. Why? Because you can.
And what about this miracle called Freedom of Speech? I treasure this right as much as I treasure my family, which is monumental. It is a human right that I am willing to defend for everyone, not just for those who agree with me about what is good, or appropriate. I feel so strong about it that I even defend someone else’ right to read a book that I may find personally abhorrent, such as Dick Cheney's recent self-exculpatory biography. Diversity, dialogue, disagreement, and discovery – all of these goals are available to you if you pick up a banned book this week, and read it. “Read, read, read. Read everything – trash, classic, good and bad – read!”