Censors are people who think they know better than you what materials you should or should not view. They are wrong, of course. You decide what materials you should view, and you decide what to think of them.
It’s called intellectual freedom, and the Library supports your right to it, because without it, democracy does not exist.
It’s a fact: Shel Silverstein’s book of poetry, A Light in the Attic, was once banned because the poem “How Not to Have to Dry the Dishes” purportedly encouraged children “to break dishes so they won’t have to dry them.” Some might see the humor there, but as Maine’s own oft-banned, oft-challenged Stephen King once wrote, “Censorship in a free society is always a serious matter.”
Books by Sherman Alexie, Isabel Allende, Mark Twain, and Toni Morrison at PPL.
September 27-October 3 is Banned Books Week nationwide, and at PPL we’re celebrating the freedom to read–which, truthfully, we like to celebrate all the time! (Click for more information and resources from the American Library Association on Banned and Challenged Books, Banned Books Week, and Frequently Challenged Books). This month our staff is sharing quotations from banned or challenged books.
“And I thought that all those little kids are going to grow up someday. And all of those little kids are going to do the things that we do. And they will all kiss someone someday. But for now, sledding is enough. I think it would be great if sledding were always enough, but it isn’t.” -from The Perks of Being a Wallflower
It was as though there was an unsurmountable wall or impenetrable barrier between them, built by the lack of understanding – for it was just that. She would never understand his craving for ease and luxury, for beauty, for love – his particular kind of love that went with show, pleasure, wealth, position, his eager and immutable aspirations and desires. She could not understand these things. She would look on all of it as sin – evil, selfishness. And in connection with all the fatal steps involving Roberta and Sondra, as adultery – unchastity – murder, even. – from An American Tragedy
“She took care of it as someone else would his soul, in private and almost with her own eyes turned away.” from “Good Country People”
Artwork courtesy of the American Library Association.
One of my favorite banned books is American Psycho, by Bret Easton Ellis. I consider this to be one of the most obscene passages in the book. It’s a description of Patrick Bateman’s office:
“The Stubbs painting should probably go over the life-size Doberman that’s in the corner ($700 at Beauty and the Beast in Trump Tower) or maybe it would look better over the Pacrizinni antique table that sits next to the Doberman. I get up and move all these sporting magazines from the forties–they cost me thirty bucks apiece–that I bought at Funchies, Bunkers, Gaks and Gleeks, and then I lift the Stubbs painting off the wall and balance it on the table then sit back at my desk and fiddle with the pencils I keep in a vintage German beer stein I got from Man-tiques. The Stubbs looks good in either place. A reproduction Black Forest umbrella stand ($675 at Hubert des Forges) sits in another corner without, I’m just noticing, any umbrellas in it.” -from American Psycho
“I grabbed my book and opened it up. I wanted to smell it. Heck, I wanted to kiss it. Yes, kiss it. That’s right, I am a book kisser. Maybe that’s kind of perverted or maybe it’s just romantic and highly intelligent.” from The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
“I see now that the path I choose through that maze makes me what I am. I am not only a thing, but also a way of being–one of many ways–and knowing the paths I have followed and the ones left to take will help me understand what I am becoming.” -from Flowers for Algernon
As always- thanks for reading! And if you’re looking for other ways to celebrate the freedom to read, pair these Staff Picks with our Banned Books Film Series 2015 on Thursday nights throughout October at the Main Library.
Since we’ve been displaying Videoport’s generous donation of dvds, specifically The Criterion Collection, we’ve had a lot of questions about what the Criterion Collection is, and why it contains so many foreign films.
The purpose of the Criterion Collection is to select the best of international cinema and publish these movies in the highest quality edition possible. Then they add extras that illuminate the film making process, such as “making of” documentaries, interviews with directors, cast, and crew, etc. Sometimes there’s a discussion with the composer who wrote the score; sometimes there’s footage of the film’s reception at a film festival.
In any event, whether you are a passionate cinemaphile or just a casually interested viewer, the Criterion Collection can teach you a lot about the art of film. If you’ve ever longed to throw around phrases like “French New Wave,” or “Italian neorealism,” the Criterion Collection can help.