It is ‘Banned Books Week’.

Nothing gets Urs Truly more angry than the notion of a book banned by someone or some group. Happily, banning a book often backfires: the book gets read more for the ban. Sometimes this is done out of protest of the ban; sometimes out of interest to find out what all the fuss is about.*  When I hear “X” has been banned by some library or school or organization I want to be first in line to buy “X” and read it.  I suppose there are more important injustices in life but banned books are not just about being unable to read “Harry Potter”; it is about mind control. With books I take the Mae West approach** if you don’t like it you don’t have to read it.

Right now there are several lists floating around internet and FB listing banned books past and present and why they were/are banned. They make me laugh and cry at the same time. “The Lorax’ has been banned as derogatory towards the lumbar industry. “Winnie the Pooh”: talking animals are offensive to God. “The Handmaid’s Tale” is offensive to Christians.

My favorite: “Fahrenheit 451” has been banned for having bad words and being too depressing. Oh the irony.

I am pleased to read these lists and see I have read most of them. Curiously I remember reading them as a child and NOT turning into a degenerate as the banners claim would happen if innocent children are exposed to such monstrosities as “The Light in the Attic” by Shel Silverstein. What I remember was developing a fondness for poetry and wanting more of t – and a sense the book-banners were a bunch of stupid illiterates clods.

In my study is a poster titled “Hot Books”. It has  nearly twenty books, all burned to cinders. They have in common all have been banned at one point in history.  How many of these have you read?

The Odyssey

Confucius Analects

The Bible

The Devine Comedy

The works of Martin Luther

The papers of Galileo 

Richard II by William Shakespeare

Descartes Metaphysical Meditations

Gulliver’s Travels

Letters of Voltaire

The Scarlet Letter

The adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Salome by Oscar Wilde

Ulysses by James Joyce

The Origin of Species

Tropic of Cancer

The Catcher in the Rye

Portney’s Complaint

The Satanic Verses


These books are all ‘for adults’. The real battles to ban books  are about children’s books in schools and public library.It gets down to who will control the minds of children.

This week I recommend you read a banned book. It is good for your mind and soul.


I read banned books



*It will be a very sorry state  indeed when banning a book is met not with protest but with indifference due to people no longer reading books. I dread this awful day.

** Once upon a time a religious group remonstrated Mae West’s radio show, saying it was filthy.  Asked to comment, Mae replied “Well, they could have turned it off”.