It’s Banned Books week in America so I hope you’re all reading away. While I don’t know that it was ever banned I’d like to credit my mother for telling an overeager school official that she was aware I was reading Go Ask Alice and that she and my father would be discussing it with me. She never once told me I was not allowed to read something (but she did balk at paying for Cosmopolitan magazine when I was in my teens). Thank you, Mom, for giving me a love of books and the right to choose what I read without censorship.
In honor of the week, here are excerpts from some famous authors whose books have been banned. Thank you, flavorwire for this great article.
Read on, everyone- knowledge is the greatest weapon we have.
“Surely it is plain to the simplest intelligence that To Kill a Mockingbirdspells out in words of seldom more than two syllables a code of honor and conduct, Christian in its ethic, that is the heritage of all Southerners. To hear that the novel is ‘immoral’ has made me count the years between now and 1984, for I have yet to come across a better example of doublethink. I feel, however, that the problem is one of illiteracy, not Marxism. Therefore I enclose a small contribution to the Beadle Bumble Fund that I hope will be used to enroll the Hanover County School Board in any first grade of its choice.”
“… it is a mad world and it will get madder if we allow the minorities, be they dwarf or giant, orangutan or dolphin, nuclear-head or water-conversationalist, pro-computerologist or Neo-Luddite, simpleton or sage, to interfere with aesthetics. The real world is the playing ground for each and every group, to make or unmake laws. But the tip of the nose of my book or stories or poems is where their rights and my territorial imperatives begin, run and rule. If Mormons do not like my plays, let them write their own. If the Irish hate my Dublin stories, let them rent typewriters. If teachers and grammar school editors find my jawbreaker sentences shatter their mushmild teeth, let them eat stale cake dunked in weak tea of their own ungodly manufacture. If the Chicano intellectuals wish to re-cut my ‘Wonderful Ice Cream Suit’ so it shapes ‘Zoot,’ may the belt unravel and the pants fall.”
“All these people talk so eloquently about getting back to good old-fashioned values. Well, as an old poop I can remember back to when we had those old-fashioned values, and I say let’s get back to the good old-fashioned First Amendment of the good old-fashioned Constitution of the United States — and to hell with the censors! Give me knowledge or give me death!”
J.K. Rowling on accusations that Harry Potter promotes Satanism (the same reason for which it has been variously banned from schools), particularly one write-in question on the same in an interview with Katie Couric:
“A very famous writer once said, ‘A book is like a mirror. If a fool looks in, you can’t expect a genius to look out.’ People tend to find in books what they want to find. And I think my books are very moral. I know they have absolutely nothing to do with what this lady is writing about, so I’m afraid I can’t give her much help there.”
He described his response as “glee… Firstly, I had obviously annoyed a lot of censorious people, and secondly, any ban would provoke interested readers to move from the library, where they couldn’t get hold of my novel, to the bookshops, where they could.”
He added that banning a book on religious grounds was “the worst reason of the lot… Religion grants its adherents malign, intoxicating and morally corrosive sensations. Destroying intellectual freedom is always evil, but only religion makes doing evil feel quite so good.”