Banned Books week has come and gone again this year...and I totally missed it--on this blog at least! I've never understood the logic of banning, burning or censoring books. From what I understand is that people choose to ban books to keep young innocent minds from reading them--THIS IS STUPID! First, by banning them you are making them more interesting and your sweet innocent whatever will most definitely find a copy of said book and read it. I'm all for parents knowing what their kids read--and more importantly reading what they read and then talking about it with their kids. It's even more ridiculous to tell kids not to read a book that you have not read--or attempted to read yourself! Don't ban books read them and talk about the issues; it will be more beneficial to your innocent kids if you discuss the issues in a book with them then simply banning them from reading them.
Kurt Vonnegut in A Man Without a Country
"And on the subject of burning books: I want to congratulate librarians, not famous for their physical strength or their powerful political connections or their great wealth, who, all over this country, have staunchly resisted anti-democratic bullies who have tried to remove certain books from their shelves, and have refused to reveal to thought police the names of persons who have check out those titles.
So the America I loved still exists, if not in the White House or the Supreme Court or the Senate or the House of Representatives or the media. The America I love still exists at the front desks of our public libraries."
Margaret Atwood on Why We Must Defend Writers (Speech to American PEN Literary 2010)
Voices can be silenced, but the human voice cannot. Our languages are what make us fully human--no other creature has anything like our rich and complex vocabularies and grammars. Each language is unique: To lose one is to lose a range of feeling and a way of looking at life that, like a living species that becomes extinct, can never be replaced. Human narrative skills are found in every language, and are very old: We all have them. We writers merely use them in what we fondly believe are more complex ways. But whether written down or not, stories move--from hand to paper to eye to mouth, from mouth to ear.
And stories move us. This is their power. Written stories are frozen voices that come to life when we read them. No other art form involves us in the same way--allows us to be with another human being--to feel joy when he laughs, to share her sorrow, to follow the twists and turns of his plotting and scheming, to realize her insufficiencies and failures and absurdities, to grasp the tools of her resistance--from within the mind itself. Such experience--such knowledge from within--makes us feel that we are not alone in our flawed humanity.
Lemony Snicket (Daniel Handler) in The Penultimate Peril
"The burning of a book is a sad, sad sight, for even though a book is nothing but ink and paper, it feels as if the ideas contained in the book are disappearing as the pages turn to ashes and the cover and binding--which is the term for the stitching and glue that holds the pages together--blacken and curl as the flames do their wicked work. When someone is burning a book, they are showing utter contempt for all the thinking that produced its ideas, all of the labor that went into its words and sentences, and all the trouble that befell the author."