Friday, October 3, 2008

Banned Books Week

There are a lot of events around this that have been going on for the last month or so. Fun stuff and things to make you think. Now, as much as ever, we need access to books that make us think, make us question and present other points of view.

Vagabond Scholar has a great post up here:

SF Center for the Book exhibit and list of events here:

Listings of events state by state:

The British newspaper the Guardian, which has absolutely wonderful book coverage, has a post inspired by Banned Books Week here in America. Take this slightly bemused quiz about books that have been banned in the U.S. and around the world to measure the degree to which you've exercised your freedom to read:

By some fluke, I scored a 10 out of a possible 12 (I'm crushed, crushed I tell you at the cruelty of the Guardian. Maybe we can ban them?)

Middling. You’re in favour of freedom of speech, but you’re not going to be printing samizdat literature any time soon, are you?

This weekend, L.A. Times books editor David L. Ulin urged us to think about Banned Books Week as more than just a celebration of challenged books that we like. "What happens when our ideals require us to defend a piece of writing that is reprehensible, that stands against everything we stand for?" he asks, continuing:

It's easy to condemn those who would remove "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" from a library, but what about "The Turner Diaries" or "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion"? Or for that matter, "Tintin in the Congo," which Little, Brown dropped from its "Tintin" reissue series last fall after controversy arose about the book's racist overtones?

These are not just academic questions; they are the heart of the matter, regardless of where you stand on the ideological divide. How do we defend one book without defending all? Such a notion can't help but make us uneasy, but then, that's one of the most essential things books can do.

If you've made your peace with defending dangerous or even heinous speech, and if you were dubbed "a brave champion of liberty" after acing the Guardian's quiz, another front remains. For the second year in a row, the American Library Assn. is celebrating Banned Books Week in Second Life — the freedom to read needs defending, it seems, in our virtual worlds too.

— Carolyn Kellogg

1 comment:

tangobaby said...


There is so much here to read and learn since I last visited. I will dive into Banned Books Week first, since that might be nearest and dearest to my heart.

And thank you for adding my to your blogroll...I am so happy to reciprocate!