We here at the Library have long been supporters of Banned Books Week and encourage everyone to read something that someone doesn't want you to read!
I'm reminded of the time at Waldenbooks back in the 1980's when I was in charge of putting weekly ads on the Mall's electric sign out facing the highway. It was Banned Books Week then too. Like Twitter, we had a very limited amount of space we could use. We had to fill out a form weekly that had the amount of letters and spaces pre-figured. I forget now exactly how many it was but, eleven of those precious spaces had to be taken up with the store's name so I had to be particularly pithy with what that left me.
This time, I thought it was pretty obvious. I wrote, "Read a banned book while you still can…from Waldenbooks!"
I turned it in as I did every Monday but on Tuesday, I noticed we were not represented on the sign. I contacted the Mall office and was told,"We can't put that up there!" There's a reason that certain books are banned, he said, and did we really want to go around promoting that we sell such books? Why, we could go to jail! Taking a deep breath, I attempted to explain to him the concept of the ABA and Banned Books Week and that the books we were talking about were more Huck Finn and Mockingbird than THE ANARCHIST'S COOKBOOK (although we sold quite of few of those, too).
He stood steadfast in his refusal to run our ad and insisted on another one. I contacted our home office and explained the situation and they contacted him and by late Wednesday--halfway through the week, the ad went up…reluctantly, I'm sure, on the part of the mall itself.
My ad for Banned Books Week was almost banned itself!
I tell my students a book probably ain't worth reading if it ain't been banned somewhere. And that doesn't rule out very many at all. I'm always astonished when I check over the books people choose to get their knickers twisted about. Sheesh!ReplyDelete