Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Read any good books lately? How about some of the classics? Orwell's 1984?

Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby?

Grapes Of Wrath? The Invisible Man? Lord of the Flies?


How about The Catcher in the Rye, The Diary of Anne Frank, or Farenheit 451? about The Da Vinci Code? Or any of the books in the Harry Potter or Twilight series?

How about the DICTIONARY? Surely you've read parts of that offensive book...what with its horridly foul definitions of filthy words such as "bed," "knocker," and "balls."

Oh... you didn't know you were reading banned books? You weren't aware that some people fear, above all else, individual thought and ideas that differentiate from the norm? And you didn't know that Sept. 26th through Oct. 3rd, 2009 is Banned Book Week, sponsored by the American Library Association, celebrated by Amnesty International, and endorsed by the Library of Congress?

Well now you know!

And in celebration of it, Ellen Hopkins, an author who wrote fairly candidly about her daughter's addiction to crystal meth and then had the book banned from schools, wrote a manifesto. I've heard it's long, and it's hard to find (if you find the whole thing please feel free to post it in my comments section or just post the link) but the last four lines are thus:

Torch every book.
Burn every page.
Char every word to ash.
Ideas are incombustible.
And therein lies your real fear.


Wine and Words said...

Fear is fuel for all kinds of wretched ideas. Do not fear what you do not understand, yet seek to understand. Do not fear what is not now, be present only now.

Gwen said...

Wonderful post!!! I still don't get the whole reason behind banning books and I'm a parent. BTW...I love Grapes of Wrath!!! XOXO

Deech said...

If there is plenty of something that I do, its read. I mean, I have plenty of time here at Arkham so....

Just got done with the Grapes of Wrath for my bookclub. We are now currently reading Three Cups of Tea for this Month and Drood for the following month.

I don't know if you are on it but I belong to a couple of Bookcentric Websites. and

This Joker takes his edumication seriously!

Taylor K said...

good post today miss. :) I'll be celebrating banned books week at changing hands book store in hot hot arizona. remember to buy used! saves the planet, saves $.

jennifer from pittsburgh said...

I love banned book week! We have to be reminded that there are those who remove all that they could from the shelves and deny us any thoughts but their own.
Remember how when Palin got elected Mayor of Wasilla she asked the librarian how she should go about banning books and the librarian don't.
Hail the mighty librarians!

Kristin Quinn said...

Now I have an excuse to read all those classics again! (not that I need an excuse... I should say now I have an inspiring occasion) You listing them makes me want to go to the library pronto.

Great post!

stewbottum said...

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read."
-Groucho Marx

Archana said...

I didn't even know that there was such a thing like Banned Book Week. So strange.

Honey Bee said...

BOOKS are forever unbanned!
*stomps off protesting against banned books*

Beth Dunn said...

Hear hear! xoxo

AJ said...

Read any good books lately?
Most recently I've been reading the Dresden Files series.

Orwell's 1984? - check
Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby? - nope
Grapes Of Wrath? - check
The Invisible Man? - check
Lord of the Flies? - check
The Catcher in the Rye? - nope
The Diary of Anne Frank? - check
Farenheit 451? - nope
The Da Vinci Code? - nope (but it's on my list)
Harry Potter? - just the first 3, I'll get around to the rest eventually
Twilight series? - this is a book? I thought it was just a movie

How about the DICTIONARY? - Yes! OK, I haven't sat down and read it from cover to cover, but on multiple occasions I have read large sections. My favorite is "Chapter 17: Q".

Phoenix said...

AJ- Catcher in the Rye and The Great Gatsby are FANTASTIC books. Twilight counts as books, just barely. :)

Marion said...

Fabulous post, Phoenix. I've read every book you mentioned. Books are banned by people who are afraid of ideas. Surely, whoever is in charge of 'banning books' must realize that it only makes the books much more popular! LOL! So, in a roundabout way, it's a good thing. Blessings!

Shanna Suburbia said...

The Twilight books are banned too? Is it because of the mythology of vampires/werewolves?

BTW, yes, I have read all of those with the exception of the dictionary... it's not really the kind of thing you curl up with on a cool autumn's night. =P

drollgirl said...

i'd like to read ALL banned books. i have read some, and it is just RETARDED to ban books. stupid stupid stupid.

MildlySensational said...

I love Farenheit 451 and The Invisible Man. Among the best books I've ever read.

And to give you an idea how nerdy my family is? My sis & I would sit in our fort (made of blankets & boxes in the living room next to the sofas) with flashlights, open the dictionary to a random page, read an entry, & the other would guess what it means. We're *that* nerdy.

Banned books week also always reminds me of the short story "Ado" by Connie Willis. English teacher tries to teach Shakespeare, has to run it through the censor, funny-cuz-it's-so-true ensues. I highly recommend her works, even though I'm pretty sure none of them are on the Banned list.

krista said...

"words don't change things. but words change people and people change things."
(i have no idea where who this quote came from but it has been imprinted on my brain since high school.)

Anonymous said...

The Great Gatsby is hands down my favorite book. I try and re-read it every couple of years. I don't think you can get more American than Gatsby. That belief by reinventing yourself you can get whatever you want.

Alessandro said...

My question is: Who makes these decisions? Who sits in a room, surrounded by a World tainted by poverty, hunger and violence and decides to take people's hope away by banning books?!
Maybe, just maybe we should start by banning weapons of mass destruction and leave the weapons of mass construction (books) at arms length.


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