"A word after a word after a word is power" - Margaret Atwood


A blog for readers and writers

A blog about the stories we tell each other and how we tell them...

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Banned Books in America and the Quiet Librarian

Following on from my posts about the UK library celebration of books that have fallen foul of the censors - from Harper Lee's To Kill a Mocking Bird to The Wizard of Oz - I have just discovered that this week is the 28th Banned Book Week in the US. It began when Reagan was in the White House and Thatcher was at Number 10 - and it is as well to remember the mindset of those days. It was the time of the Falklands War, the women peace protests at Greenham Common in Britain, and the failure of the Equal Rights Amendment Bill in America. That's the backdrop to the stand taken by Judith Kruger and others, and I imagine Judith as being the kind of librarian who walked and talked softly and remembered the books you took out. She wasn't just campaigning for the books she loved and believed with a passion should be read, but also the ones she hated such as Hitler's Mein Kampf and The Blue Book of the ultra right wing John Birch Society.*
She said in interviews that her own unshakable belief in the right of people to make up their own mind stemmed from the sensible way she was brought and remembered being discovered under the bedclothes, aged twelve, with a sex education book. Her mother told her not to be so silly and switch on the light, otherwise she might strain her eyes reading....
The New York Times have a useful 10-ways-to-celebrate guide on its website - go there by clicking on the title of this post. 
* Apparently, The Blue Book is a transcript of a two-day monologue by Robert Welch at the founding meeting of the society in 1958. TWO DAYS!That says an awful lot about Mr W doesn't it...?

1 comment:

Hal Shurtleff said...

Hitler's Mein Kampf is a blueprint for tyranny. Robert Welch's "Blue Book" is a blueprint for freedom.