Celebrate Banned Books Week!

In the midst of Banned Books Week, I am pleased to see how many people are embracing their First Amendment right to write, publish, and read whatever they’d like. In 1990, Ed Morrow, the president of the American Booksellers Association, and Harry Hoffman, president of Walden Book Company Inc., wrote an open letter to 28 newspapers. Below is an extremely powerful quote:

“We believe attempts to censor ideas to which we have access – whether in books, magazines, plays, works of art, television, movies or song – are not simply isolated instances of harassment by diverse special-interest groups. Rather they are part of a growing pattern of increasing intolerance which is changing the fabric of America. . .

“Censorship cannot eliminate evil. It can only kill freedom. We believe Americans have the right to buy, stores have the right to sell, authors have the right to write and publishers have the right to publish Constitutionally-protected material. Period.”

These words remain truer than ever today.

Also, I looked over the ALA’s list of banned classics, and I am proud to say I have read a large number of them. The banned classics I have read include:

1. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
3. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
4. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
5. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
6. Ulysses, by James Joyce
7. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
8. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
9. 1984, by George Orwell
10. Lolita, by Vladmir Nabokov
11. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
12. Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
13. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
14. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
15. The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
16. As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
17. A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway
18. Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
19. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
20. Native Son, by Richard Wright
21. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
22. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
23. For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway
24. The Call of the Wild, by Jack London
25. All the King’s Men, by Robert Penn Warren
26. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
27. The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
28. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
29. The Awakening, by Kate Chopin
30. In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
31. The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie
32. Sophie’s Choice, by William Styron
33. Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
34. A Separate Peace, by John Knowles

I may not have like all of these books (*ahem* A Separate Peace *cough, cough*), but I would fight to the death to be allowed to read whatever I want, whenever I want.

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