Banned Books Week is held every year during the last week of September, for 2016 that is September 25th – October 1st. Ever since people could talk they have been working hard to ignore things they don’t want to hear. And when people started writing, other people started censoring them. Everything from The Apocrypha (Book of Enoch, 1st & 2nd Maccabees, Gospel of Judas, etc) to writings of political dissidents (very common for these to be censored), to educational texts that have included unwanted facts, and many many more fiction and nonfiction works have been banned throughout history.
But Banned Books Week, and Wednesday’s Banned Books Awareness Day, isn’t just about banned books, it is also about challenged and censored books. I am all for questioning things we encounter, and I believe that we do need to guard ourselves against much of what we are exposed to; but this goes beyond that to restricting creativity, reducing the dissemination of good and useful information, and preventing people’s voices from being heard – And those are not things I am in favor of, plus, in the United States, it is a violation of our First Amendment rights.
The idea of banned books was first brought to my attention in fifth grade when I read Fahrenheit 451.
“Ray Bradbury’s internationally acclaimed novel Fahrenheit 451 is a masterwork of twentieth-century literature set in a bleak, dystopian future.
Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden.
Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television “family.” But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people didn’t live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television.
When Mildred attempts suicide and Clarisse suddenly disappears, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known. He starts hiding books in his home, and when his pilfering is discovered, the fireman has to run for his life.” – Amazon.com
So, to celebrate this week, and the upcoming launch of the Talking Geek Newsletter (more about that in a latter post) I will give away twenty Humble Bundle “Forbidden Book” bundles that include seven digital books: Steal This Computer Book: What They Won’t Tell You About the Internet, Barefoot Gen Vol 1: A Cartoon Story of Hiroshima, Boy’s Club, The Pirates and the Mouse: Disney’s War Against the Underground, Bread & Wine: An Erotic Tale of New York, CBLDF Presents: Liberty Annual 2008-2012, and SHE: The Big B Anthology (Ironically I censored the title of that last book, I AM PART OF THE PROBLEM – it’s a family-friendly blog, relax.). The first ten to subscribe will win, and all other subscribers will be entered to win one of the remaining ten bundles!