Banned (Irresistible) Books Week 2011

September 29, 2011

September 24 – October 1 is Banned Books Week, and if you’re like me there’s nothing more enticing than a work that has offended others to the point that they wished to limit its exposure to the reading or viewing public.  In fact, the correlation is such that I could almost drop paste the typical banned books collection into my personal reading wish list.  If objectors really want to minimize the impact of a story or idea in a free society, they soon figure out that the most effective way is to ignore it.  Otherwise they might as well be on the publisher’s PR payroll.

The Open Road Blog has an excellent list of resources for the week, including  nice excerpts of a Banned Books Collection.  Other sites include the ALA’s Banned Book Week site, the ACLU of Oregon’s site, and a link to the National Coalition Against Censorship, which is one with which I had not been as familiar.


While suppression of viewpoints or ideas tends to make them irresistible, it also tends to lead to a stale, lazy orthodoxy within the acceptable limits of discourse.  Ironically, acceptably safe views get less compelling and interesting as they go unchallenged.  One great thinker who understood this thoroughly is John Stuart Mill.  If you’ve never read it, I highly recommend his essay On Liberty.  It’s one of the reasons I’m working in public libraries. 

Posted by Darren



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