Banning Books Quotes

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What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist.
Salman Rushdie
I always order the banned books from a black market dealer in California, figuring if the State of Mississippi banned them, they must be good.
Kathryn Stockett (The Help)
Censorship is the child of fear and the father of ignorance.
Laurie Halse Anderson (Speak)
Yeah,there was a whole chapter on you in my eight grade History of Angels textbook," Miles said. Arriane clapped. "And they told me that book was banned!
Lauren Kate (Torment (Fallen, #2))
A word to the unwise. Torch every book. Char every page. Burn every word to ash. Ideas are incombustible. And therein lies your real fear.
Ellen Hopkins
Any book worth banning is a book worth reading.
Isaac Asimov
Banning books gives us silence when we need speech. It closes our ears when we need to listen. It makes us blind when we need sight.
Stephen Chbosky
Grace is my favourite church word. A state of being. Something you can pray for. Something God can grant. Something you can obtain. Perfection is out of reach. But grace -- grace you can reach for.
Elizabeth Scott (Living Dead Girl)
If this nation is to be wise as well as strong, if we are to achieve our destiny, then we need more new ideas for more wise men reading more good books in more public libraries. These libraries should be open to all—except the censor. We must know all the facts and hear all the alternatives and listen to all the criticisms. Let us welcome controversial books and controversial authors. For the Bill of Rights is the guardian of our security as well as our liberty. [Response to questionnaire in Saturday Review, October 29 1960]
John F. Kennedy
Something will be offensive to someone in every book, so you've got to fight it.
Judy Blume
Banning books is just another form of bullying. It's all about fear and an assumption of power. The key is to address the fear and deny the power.
James Howe
We were keeping our eye on 1984. When the year came and the prophecy didn't, thoughtful Americans sang softly in praise of themselves. The roots of liberal democracy had held. Wherever else the terror had happened, we, at least, had not been visited by Orwellian nightmares. But we had forgotten that alongside Orwell's dark vision, there was another - slightly older, slightly less well known, equally chilling: Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. Contrary to common belief even among the educated, Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing. Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley's vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think. What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny "failed to take into account man's almost infinite appetite for distractions." In 1984, Orwell added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we fear will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we desire will ruin us. This book is about the possibility that Huxley, not Orwell, was right.
Neil Postman (Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business)
The problem in our country isn't with books being banned, but with people no longer reading. You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.
Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)
The important task of literature is to free man, not to censor him, and that is why Puritanism was the most destructive and evil force which ever oppressed people and their literature: it created hypocrisy, perversion, fears, sterility.
Anaïs Nin (The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 4: 1944-1947)
Yes, books are dangerous. They should be dangerous - they contain ideas.
Pete Hautman
I hate it that Americans are taught to fear some books and some ideas as though they were diseases.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny "failed to take into account man's almost infinite appetite for distractions." In 1984, Huxley added, "people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us".
Neil Postman (Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business)
A motion picture, or music, or television, they have to maintain a certain decorum in order to be broadcast to a vast audience. Other forms of mass media cost too much to produce a risk reaching only a limited audience. Only one person. But a book. . . . A book is cheap to print and bind. A book is as private and consensual as sex. A book takes time and effort to consume - something that gives a reader every chance to walk away. Actually, so few people make the effort to read that it's difficult to call books a "mass medium." No one really gives a damn about books. No one has bothered to ban a book in decades.
Chuck Palahniuk (Haunted)
Did you ever hear anyone say, 'That work had better be banned because I might read it and it might be very damaging to me'?
Joseph Henry Jackson
A dangerous book will always be in danger from those it threatens with the demand that they question their assumptions. They'd rather hang on to the assumptions and ban the book.
Ursula K. Le Guin (The Wave in the Mind: Talks and Essays on the Writer, the Reader and the Imagination)
If there's one American belief I hold above all others, it's that those who would set themselves up in judgment on matters of what is "right" and what is "best" should be given no rest; that they should have to defend their behavior most stringently. ... As a nation, we've been through too many fights to preserve our rights of free thought to let them go just because some prude with a highlighter doesn't approve of them." [Bangor Daily News, Guest Column of March 20, 1992]
Stephen King
Having the freedom to read and the freedom to choose is one of the best gifts my parents ever gave me.
Judy Blume
They lived freely among the students, they argued with the men over philosophical, sociological and artistic matters, they were just as good as the men themselves: only better, since they were women.
D.H. Lawrence (Lady Chatterley's Lover)
And while we're on the subject of ducks, which we plainly are, the story, 'The Ugly Duckling' ought be banned as the central character wasn't a duckling or he wouldn't have grown up into a swan. He was a cygnet.
Russell Brand (My Booky Wook)
The Local Paper here asked that me books be banned........THE HIGHEST PRAISE for an Irish writer.
Ken Bruen
The fact is that censorship always defeats its own purpose, for it creates, in the end, the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion. In the long run it will create a generation incapable of appreciating the difference between independence of thought and subservience.
Henry Steele Commager
I head down the steps to see if my mail-order copy of Catcher in the Rye is in the box. I always order the banned books from a black market dealer in California, figuring if the State of Mississippi banned them, they must be good.
Kathryn Stockett (The Help)
The school board banned one of Maya Angelou's books, so the librarian had to take down her poster. I fished it out of the trash. She must be a great writer if the school board is scared of her.
Laurie Halse Anderson (Speak: The Graphic Novel)
Books were despised by the Viking Tribes, as they were seen as a horrible civilizing influence and a threat to the barbarian culture.
Cressida Cowell (A Hero's Guide to Deadly Dragons (How to Train Your Dragon, #6))
I can tell you that banning books, burning books, blocking books is often used as a way to erase people, a belief system, or culture.
Brianna Labuskes (The Librarian of Burned Books)
Young minds - young brains - need stories and ideas like the ones in those [censored and banned] books in order to grow. They need ideas that you disagree with. They need ideas that I disagree with. Or they'll never be able to figure out what ideas they believe in.
Lev Grossman
Although there are those who wish to ban my books because I have used language that is painful, I have chosen to use the language that was spoken during the period, for I refuse to whitewash history. The language was painful and life was painful for many African Americans, including my family. I remember the pain.
Mildred D. Taylor (The Land (Logans, #1))
In this age of censorship, I mourn the loss of books that will never be written, I mourn the voices that will be silenced-writers' voices, teachers' voices, students' voices-and all because of fear.
Judy Blume (Places I Never Meant to Be: Original Stories by Censored Writers)
It hardly matters why a library is destroyed: every banning, curtailment, shredding, plunder or loot gives rise (at least as a ghostly presence) to a louder, clearer, more durable library of the banned, looted, plundered, shredded or curtailed.
Alberto Manguel (The Library at Night)
Because all books are forbidden when a country turns to terror. The scaffolds on the corners, the list of things you may not read. These things always go together.
Philippa Gregory (The Queen's Fool (The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels, #12))
When the Viennese government compiled a Catalogue of Forbidden Books in 1765, so many Austrians used it as a reading guide that the Hapsburg censors were forced to include the Catalogue itself as a forbidden book.
Craig Nelson (Thomas Paine: Enlightenment, Revolution, and the Birth of Modern Nations)
Bring on the controversy. I write real life. It's harsh and sometimes gritty, but it's real. Why should we tip toe around that?
Shandy L. Kurth
Good books shouldn’t be hidden away. They should be read by as many people as many times as possible.
Alan Gratz (Ban This Book)
I do not believe that any book should be denied to the man who possesses the wisdom to understand it, Bruno, but that does not mean I am confused about where truth lies.
S.J. Parris (Heresy (Giordano Bruno, #1))
Censorship and the suppression of reading materials are rarely about family values and almost always about control; About who is snapping the whip, who is saying no, and who is saying go. Censorship's bottom line is this: if the novel Christine offends me, I don't want just to make sure it's kept from my kid; I want to make sure it's kept from your kid, as well, and all the kids. This bit of intellectual arrogance, undemocratic and as old as time, is best expressed this way: "If it's bad for me and my family, it's bad for everyone's family." Yet when books are run out of school classrooms and even out of school libraries as a result of this idea, I'm never much disturbed not as a citizen, not as a writer, not even as a schoolteacher . . . which I used to be. What I tell kids is, Don't get mad, get even. Don't spend time waving signs or carrying petitions around the neighborhood. Instead, run, don't walk, to the nearest nonschool library or to the local bookstore and get whatever it was that they banned. Read whatever they're trying to keep out of your eyes and your brain, because that's exactly what you need to know.
Stephen King
and give me insults, give me economic discrimination, give me the darkened parking lot of a windowless queer bar, give me fleets of bigots and books banned in libraries across america, feed the world with lies about my life and plop a second helping of oppression on my plate and thank you for not making me straight.
Michelle Tea
It would be intolerant if I advocated the banning of religion, but of course I never have. I merely give robust expression to views about the cosmos and morality with which you happen to disagree. You interpret that as ‘intolerance’ because of the weirdly privileged status of religion, which expects to get a free ride and not have to defend itself. If I wrote a book called The Socialist Delusion or The Monetarist Delusion, you would never use a word like intolerance. But The God Delusion sounds automatically intolerant. Why? What’s the difference? I have a (you might say fanatical) desire for people to use their own minds and make their own choices, based upon publicly available evidence. Religious fanatics want people to switch off their own minds, ignore the evidence, and blindly follow a holy book based upon private ‘revelation’. There is a huge difference.
Richard Dawkins
I'll tell you what you did with Atheists for about 1500 years. You outlawed them from the universities or any teaching careers, besmirched their reputations, banned or burned their books or their writings of any kind, drove them into exile, humiliated them, seized their properties, arrested them for blasphemy. You dehumanised them with beatings and exquisite torture, gouged out their eyes, slit their tongues, stretched, crushed, or broke their limbs, tore off their breasts if they were women, crushed their scrotums if they were men, imprisoned them, stabbed them, disembowelled them, hanged them, burnt them alive. And you have nerve enough to complain to me that I laugh at you.
Madalyn Murray O'Hair
You have to be mad in the language you're mad in.
Chris Crutcher (Angry Management)
Well, the man who first translated the bible into English was burned at the stake, and they've been at it ever since. Must be all that adultery, murder and incest. But not to worry. It's back on the shelves.
Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
It's red hot, mate. I hate to think of this sort of book getting in the wrong hands. As soon as I've finished this, I shall recommend they ban it.
Tony Hancock
It's stupid to ban books that tell you the truth about life.
Sheila Kohler (Cracks)
That’s what libraries were for: to make sure that everybody had the same access to the same books everyone else did.
Alan Gratz (Ban This Book)
You grow readers, expand minds, if you let them choose, but you go banning a read, you stunt the whole community.
Kim Michele Richardson (The Book Woman's Daughter (The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, #2))
How do you destroy a people? You take away their culture. And how is that done? You must take their language, their history, their very identity. How would you do that?” I pressed my lips together, then looked up at her. "You ban their books
Jennifer A. Nielsen (Words on Fire)
Some read to remember the home they had left behind, others to forget the hell that surrounded them. Books uplifted their weary souls and energized their minds…books had the power to sooth an aching heart, renew hope for the future, and provide a respite when there was no other escape.
Molly Guptill Manning
You can burn libraries, ban books, boycott scholars, and blacklist intellectuals, but you cannot blot out ideas.
Matshona Dhliwayo
Calling a book "Young Adult" is just a fancy way of saying the book is censored.
Oliver Markus
Books won't stay banned. They won't burn. Ideas won't go to jail. In the long run of history, the censor and the inquisitor have always lost. The only sure weapon against bad ideas is better ideas. The source of better ideas is wisdom. The surest path to wisdom is a liberal education.
Alfred Whitney Griswold (Essays on Education)
There are different types of censorship. There is the outright ban on a book type. Then there are the type where the ones who can give it voice, squash it by burying it under search engine algorithms and under other news, videos or books of their own agenda or publication. A smart consumer should be free to choose what to read and what to believe. That choice on a consumer-oriented website, is really what is best for the consumer. - Strong by Kailin Gow
Kailin Gow
It has become unecesssary for the police to ban books: their price alone bans them.
Eduardo Galeano (The Book of Embraces)
Are you kind enough, on your little planet, not to shut that rhythm down? Not to crush underfoot the singers of songs and tellers of tales and wearers of silk? Because it's monsters who do that. Who extinguish art. Who burn books. Who ban music. Who yell at anyone with ears to turn off that racket. Who cannot see outside themselves clearly enough to sing their truth to the heavens. Do you have enough goodness in your world to let the music play? Do you have soul?
Catherynne M. Valente (Space Opera (Space Opera, #1))
In India books are nearly always banned at the request of people who do not read but whose literary sensibilities are easily offended.
Tavleen Singh (Durbar)
I'm here to learn, same as you. I just want to learn more than what they want us to know.
Kim Hyun Sook (Banned Book Club)
Censors don’t want children exposed to ideas different from their own. If every individual with an agenda had his/her way, the shelves in the school library would be close to empty.
Judy Blume
I don’t understand how the St. Clare’s library can ban so many books for being “inappropriate” when they have a whole row of Bibles. Harry Potter might be a wizard, but I’m sure he never hacked a woman to pieces.
Katie Henry (Heretics Anonymous)
How do you explain to someone else why a thing matters to you if it doesn’t matter to them? How can you put into words how a book slips inside of you and becomes a part of you so much that your life feels empty without it?
Alan Gratz (Ban This Book)
Can't you understand? That if you take a law like evolution and you make it a crime to teach it in the public schools, tomorrow you can make it a crime to teach it in the private schools? And tomorrow you may make it a crime to read about it. And soon you may ban books and newspapers. And then you may turn Catholic against Protestant, and Protestant against Protestant, and try to foist your own religion upon the mind of man. If you can do one, you can do the other. Because fanaticism and ignorance is forever busy, and needs feeding. And soon, your Honor, with banners flying and with drums beating we'll be marching backward, BACKWARD, through the glorious ages of that Sixteenth Century when bigots burned the man who dared bring enlightenment and intelligence to the human mind -Henry Drummond, a character in Inherit The Wind
Jerome Lawrence
I myself grew up to be not only a Hero, but also a Writer. When I was an adult, I rewrote A Hero's Guide to Deadly Dragons, and I included not only some descriptions of the various deadly dragon species, and a useful Dragonese Dictionary, but also this story of how the book came to be written in the first place. This is the book that you are holding in your hands right now. Perhaps you even borrowed it from a Library? If so, thank Thor that the sinister figure of the Hairy Scary Librarian is not lurking around a corner, hiding in the shadows, Heart-Slicers at the ready, or that the punishment for your curiosity is not the whirring whine of a Driller Dragon's drill. You, dear reader, I am sure cannot imagine what it might to be like to live in a world in which books are banned. For surely such things will never happen in the Future? Thank Thor that you live in a time and a place where people have the right to live and think and write and read their books in peace, and there are no need for Heroes anymore ... And spare a thought for those who have not been so lucky.
Cressida Cowell (A Hero's Guide to Deadly Dragons (How to Train Your Dragon, #6))
The objection to fairy stories is that they tell children there are dragons, but children have always known there are dragons. Fairy stories tell children that dragons can be killed.
G.K. Chesterton
Some children were lucky enough to have their Potter novels banned by witch-hunting school boards and micromanaging ministers. Is there any greater job than a book you're not allowed to read, a book you could go to hell for reading?
Ann Patchett
Let’s get one thing out of the way: Mexican immigration is an oxymoron. Mexicans are indigenous. So, in a strange way, I’m pleased that the racist folks of Arizona have officially declared, in banning me alongside Urrea, Baca, and Castillo, that their anti-immigration laws are also anti-Indian. I’m also strangely pleased that the folks of Arizona have officially announced their fear of an educated underclass. You give those brown kids some books about brown folks and what happens? Those brown kids change the world. In the effort to vanish our books, Arizona has actually given them enormous power. Arizona has made our books sacred documents now.
Sherman Alexie
Whenever a soldier needed an escape, the antidote to anxiety, relief from boredom, a bit of laughter, inspiration, or hope, he cracked open a book and drank in the words that would transport him elsewhere.
Molly Guptill Manning
With her courage and determination, Malala has shown what terrorists fear most: a girl with a book.
Ban Ki-moon
Your parents aren’t getting back together. And you read entirely too much. It’s not good for your brain. I hereby ban you from all books.
Kasie West (Pivot Point (Pivot Point, #1))
Above all, for his merciless, contemptuous treatment of Clifford Chatterley, blown to bits in Flanders in 1918, Lawrence can be damned to hell. Damned but not banned.
Germaine Greer
I can't imagine a greater compliment for an author than making the banned book section.
Chris Colfer (A Tale of Magic... (A Tale of Magic, #1))
But if we want to change the world so it's good for everyone, it's important to talk about the truth.
Amy Sarig King (Attack of the Black Rectangles)
But you can learn a lot about history by figuring out what people wanted to hide.
Kim Hyun Sook (Banned Book Club)
I felt the heat of the animosity they bear towards me, the vindictive nature that drives a man to destroy his neighbour in a fire as if he were a banned book...for what is the difference? Every book is imbued with the human spirit.
Sjón (From the Mouth of the Whale)
When Lafayette met him in 1775, the first volume of Raynal’s 1770 History of the Two Indies had already been banned, which is to say it was a popular success, the Catholic Church’s Index of Forbidden Books being the unofficial bestseller list of the day.
Sarah Vowell (Lafayette in the Somewhat United States)
Each party has a platform--a pre-fixed menu of beliefs making up its worldview. The candidate can choose one of the two platforms, but remember: no substitutions. For example, do you support healthcare? Then you must also want a ban on assault weapons. Pro limited government? Congratulations, you are also anti-abortion. Luckily, all human opinion falls neatly into one of the two clearly defined camps. Thus, the two-party system elegantly represents the bi-chromatic rainbow that is American political thought.
Jon Stewart (America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction)
Unpopular ideas can be silenced, and inconvenient facts kept dark, without the need for any official ban. Anyone who has lived long in a foreign country will know of instances of sensational items of news — things which on their own merits would get the big headlines-being kept right out of the British press, not because the Government intervened but because of a general tacit agreement that ‘it wouldn’t do’ to mention that particular fact. So far as the daily newspapers go, this is easy to understand. The British press is extremely centralised, and most of it is owned by wealthy men who have every motive to be dishonest on certain important topics. But the same kind of veiled censorship also operates in books and periodicals, as well as in plays, films and radio. At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas which it is assumed that all right-thinking people will accept without question. It is not exactly forbidden to say this, that or the other, but it is ‘not done’ to say it, just as in mid-Victorian times it was ‘not done’ to mention trousers in the presence of a lady. Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing, either in the popular press or in the highbrow periodicals.
George Orwell (Animal Farm)
[Censors] rake through the entrails of many an old good author, with a violation worse than any could be offered to his tomb.
John Milton
Books can make a difference in dispelling prejudice and building community: not with role models and recipes, not with noble messages about the human family, but with enthralling stories that make us imagine the lives of others. A good story lets you know people as individuals in all their particularity and conflict; and once you see someone as a person—flawed, complex, striving—you’ve reached beyond stereotype.
Hazel Rochman
IT'S MORNING, TIME to get up, so get up, Arturo, and look for a job. Get out there and look for what you'll never find. You're a thief and you're a crab-killer and a lover of women in clothes closets. You'll never find a job! Every morning I got up feeling like that. Now I've got to find a job, damn it to hell. I ate breakfast, put a book under my arm, pencils in my pocket, and started out. Down the stairs I went, down the street, sometimes hot and sometimes cold, sometimes foggy and sometimes clear. It never mattered, with a book under my arm, looking for a job. What job, Arturo? Ho ho! A job for you? Think of what you are, my boy! A crab-killer. A thief. You look at naked women in clothes closets. And you expect to get a job! How funny! But there he goes, the idiot, with a big book. Where the devil are you going, Arturo? Why do you go up this street and not that? Why go east - why not go west? Answer me, you thief! Who'll give you a job, you swine - who? But there's a park across town, Arturo. It's called Banning Park. There are a lot of beautiful eucalyptus trees in it, and green lawns. What a place to read! Go there, Arturo. Read Nietzsche. Read Schopenhauer. Get into the company of the mighty. A job? fooey! Go sit under a eucalyptus tree reading a book looking for a job.
John Fante (The Road to Los Angeles (The Saga of Arturo Bandini, #2))
The Bible- banned, burned, beloved. More widely read, more frequently attacked than any other book in history. Generations of intellectuals have attempted to discredit it; dictators of every age have outlawed it and executed those who read it. Yet soldiers carry it into battle believing it is more powerful than their weapons. Fragments of it smuggled into solitary prison cells have transformed ruthless killers into gentle saints. Pieced together scraps of Scripture have converted whole whole villages of pagan Indians.
Charles W. Colson
For centuries censorship has created best sellers because, as Michel de Montaigne said, 'To forbid us anything is to make us have a mind for it.' (Banned Books: Censorship Histories of World Literature)
Margaret Bald
I have often been asked whether one should believe in something like numerology, or feng shui, or horoscopes and almanacs. The truth is that NONE of these matter when you are trying to create your own reality. The spiritual masters have told us, time and time again, that the power is WITHIN us. It is not in something that is outside of us. Even positive psychology says this: That when we ascribe power to something that is outside of us (such as what an ancient book says, or what an ancient calendar says), then in essence we are “giving our power away”.
Richard Dotts (Banned Manifestation Secrets (Banned Secrets Book 2))
Books can be immensely powerful. The ideas in them can change the way people think. Yet it was the Nazis and Stalin's officers who committed terrible crimes, and not Mein Kampf or the Communist Manifesto - and of course, the Manifesto contained many key ideas that are still relevant and important today, long after Stalin has gone. There is a crucial distinction between the book and its effect - it's crucial because if you talk about a book being harmful rather than its effect you begin to legitimise censorship. Abhorrent ideas need to be challenged by better ones, not banned.
John Farndon (Do You Think You're Clever?: The Oxford and Cambridge Questions)
That means letting them read books that are too easy for them, or too hard for them. That means letting them read books that challenge them, or do nothing but entertain them. And yes, it means letting students read books with things in them we might disagree with and letting them make up their own minds about things, which is downright scary sometimes. But that’s what good education is all about.
Alan Gratz (Ban This Book)
I think serious readers of books are 5% of the population. If there are good TV shows or a World Cup or anything, that 5% will keep on reading books very seriously, enthusiastically. And if a society banned books, they would go into the forest and remember all the books. So I trust in their existence. I have confidence.
Haruki Murakami
You, dear reader, I am sure cannot imagine what it might be like to live in a world in which books are banned. For surely, such things will never happen in the Future? Thank Thor that you live in a time and a place where people have the right to live and think and write and read their books in peace, and there are no need for Heroes any more... And spare a thought for those who have not been so lucky.
Cressida Cowell (A Hero's Guide to Deadly Dragons (How to Train Your Dragon, #6))
Politicians in our times feed their clichés to television, where even those who wish to disagree repeat them. Television purports to challenge political language by conveying images, but the succession from one frame to another can hinder a sense of resolution. Everything happens fast, but nothing actually happens. Each story on televised news is ”breaking” until it is displaced by the next one. So we are hit by wave upon wave but never see the ocean. The effort to define the shape and significance of events requires words and concepts that elude us when we are entranced by visual stimuli. Watching televised news is sometimes little more than looking at someone who is also looking at a picture. We take this collective trance to be normal. We have slowly fallen into it. More than half a century ago, the classic novels of totalitarianism warned of the domination of screens, the suppression of books, the narrowing of vocabularies, and the associated difficulties of thought. In Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, published in 1953, firemen find and burn books while most citizens watch interactive television. In George Orwell’s 1984, published in 1949, books are banned and television is two-way, allowing the government to observe citizens at all times. In 1984, the language of visual media is highly constrained, to starve the public of the concepts needed to think about the present, remember the past, and consider the future. One of the regime’s projects is to limit the language further by eliminating ever more words with each edition of the official dictionary. Staring at screens is perhaps unavoidable, but the two-dimensional world makes little sense unless we can draw upon a mental armory that we have developed somewhere else. When we repeat the same words and phrases that appear in the daily media, we accept the absence of a larger framework. To have such a framework requires more concepts, and having more concepts requires reading. So get the screens out of your room and surround yourself with books. The characters in Orwell’s and Bradbury’s books could not do this—but we still can.
Timothy Snyder (On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century)
What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance.
Neil Postman (Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business)
Mr. Pilkey smiled. “Well, I wish they were on the shelves, where everybody could read them,” he said. “I think it’s important that libraries be a place where you can find all kinds of books. Good ones, bad ones, funny ones, serious ones. Every person should be free to read whatever they want, whenever they want, and not have to explain to anyone else why we like it, or why we think it’s valuable. I hope you all get a chance to read my books someday.
Alan Gratz (Ban This Book)
Are you kind enough, on your little planet, not to shut that rhythm down? Not to crush underfoot the singers of songs and tellers of tales and wearers of silk? Because it’s monsters who do that. Who extinguish art. Who burn books. Who ban music. Who yell at anyone with ears to turn off that racket. Who cannot see outside themselves clearly enough to sing their truth to the heavens. Do you have enough goodness in your world to let the music play? Do you have soul?
Catherynne M. Valente (Space Opera (Space Opera, #1))
In many schools, teachers have been told, falsely, that there is an “opportunity zone” in which a child’s gender identification is malleable. They have used this zone to try to stamp out boyhood: banning same-sex play groups and birthday parties, forcing children to do gender-atypical activities, suspending boys who run during recess or play cops and robbers. In her book the War Against Boys, the philosopher Christina Hoff Sommers rightly calls this agenda “meddlesome, abusive and quite beyond what educators in a free society are mandated to do(172).
Steven Pinker (The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature)
If today you can take a thing like evolution and make it a crime to teach it in the public school, tomorrow you can make it a crime to teach it in the private schools, and the next year you can make it a crime to teach it to the hustings or in the church. At the next session you may ban books and the newspapers. Soon you may set Catholic against Protestant and Protestant against Protestant, and try to foist your own religion upon the minds of men. If you can do one you can do the other. Ignorance and fanaticism is ever busy and needs feeding. Always it is feeding and gloating for more. Today it is the public school teachers, tomorrow the private. The next day the preachers and the lectures, the magazines, the books, the newspapers. After while, your honor, it is the setting of man against man and creed against creed until with flying banners and beating drums we are marching backward to the glorious ages of the sixteenth century when bigots lighted fagots to burn the men who dared to bring any intelligence and enlightenment and culture to the human mind.
Clarence Darrow (The Essential Words and Writings of Clarence Darrow (Modern Library Classics))
Franz shook his head. "When a society is rich, its people don't need to work with their hands;they can devote themselves to activities of the spirit. We have more and more universities and more and more students. If students are going to earn degrees, they've got to come up with dissertation topics. And since dissertations can be written about everything under the sun, the number of topics is infinite. Sheets of paper covered with words pile up in archives sadder than cemeteries, because no one ever visits them, not even on All Souls' Day. Culture is perishing in overproduction, in an avalanche of words, in the madness of quantity. That's why one banned book in your former country means infinitely more than the billions of words spewed out by our universities.
Milan Kundera
For a long time it was assumed that anything so miraculously energetic as radioactivity must be beneficial. For years, manufacturers of toothpaste and laxatives put radioactive thorium in their products, and at least until the late 1920s the Glen Springs Hotel in the Finger Lakes region of New York (and doubtless others as well) featured with pride the therapeutic effects of its ‘Radio-active mineral springs27’. It wasn’t banned in consumer products until 193828. By this time it was much too late for Mme Curie, who died of leukaemia in 1934. Radiation, in fact, is so pernicious and long-lasting that even now her papers from the 1890s – even her cookbooks – are too dangerous to handle. Her lab books are kept in lead-lined boxes29 and those who wish to see them must don protective clothing.
Bill Bryson (A Short History of Nearly Everything)
My refusal to remove the book from the library was backed by a majority of the Board of Governors. I wrote back to Mr Malfoy, explaining my decision: So-called pure-blood families maintain their alleged purity by disowning, banishing or lying about Muggles or Muggle-borns on their family trees. They then attempt to foist their hypocrisy upon the rest of us by asking us to ban works dealing with the truths they deny. There is not a witch or wizard in existence whose blood has not mingled with that of Muggles, and I should therefore consider it both illogical and immoral to remove works dealing with the subject from our students' store of knowledge.(4) This exchange marked the beginning of Mr Malfoy's long campaign to have me removed from my post as Headmaster of Hogwarts, and of mine to have him removed from his position as Lord Voldemort's Favourite Death Eater. (4)My response prompted several further letters from Mr Malfoy, but as they consisted mainly of opprobrious remarks on my sanity, parentage and hygiene, their relevance to this commentary is remote.
J.K. Rowling (The Tales of Beedle the Bard (Hogwarts Library, #3))
The boy was in the Hitler Youth, he says, and he was reading a book one day, he was really enjoying it, until his troop leader found him reading it and gave him a severe warning because it was by a, a Jewish writer, it was a banned book. And the boy was so incensed that this really good book he’d been reading had been banned—was the wrong kind of book, the wrong kind of art, if you like, written by the wrong kind of writer—that he thought twice, he began to ask questions about what was happening, and then, it turns out, he went on with his sister, Sophie Scholl, their name was Scholl, to do this stellar work, to try to change things, make it possible for people to think, I mean differently. And they fought back, and they did change things. They did a lot of good before they were caught. And they were killed for it.
Ali Smith (There but for the)
Mexican Loneliness" And I am an unhappy stranger grooking in the streets of Mexico- My friends have died on me, my lovers disappeared, my whores banned, my bed rocked and heaved by earthquake - and no holy weed to get high by candlelight and dream - only fumes of buses, dust storms, and maids peeking at me thru a hole in the door secretly drilled to watch masturbators fuck pillows - I am the Gargoyle of Our Lady dreaming in space gray mist dreams -- My face is pointed towards Napoleon ------ I have no form ------ My address book is full of RIP's I have no value in the void, at home without honor, - My only friend is an old fag without a typewriter Who, if he's my friend, I'll be buggered. I have some mayonnaise left, a whole unwanted bottle of oil, peasants washing my sky light, a nut clearing his throat in the bathroom next to mine a hundred times a day sharing my common ceiling - If I get drunk I get thirsty - if I walk my foot breaks down - if I smile my mask's a farce - if I cry I'm just a child - - if I remember I'm a liar - if I write the writing's done - - if I die the dying's over - - if I live the dying's just begun - - if I wait the waiting's longer - if I go the going's gone if I sleep the bliss is heavy the bliss is heavy on my lids - if I go to cheap movies the bedbugs get me - Expensive movies I can't afford - if I do nothing nothing does
Jack Kerouac
Through The Mecca I saw that we were, in our own segregated body politic, cosmopolitans. The black diaspora was not just our own world but, in so many ways, the Western world itself. Now, the heirs of those Virginia planters could never directly acknowledge this legacy or reckon with its power. And so that beauty that Malcolm pledged us to protect, black beauty, was never celebrated in movies, in television, or in the textbooks I’d seen as a child. Everyone of any import, from Jesus to George Washington, was white. This was why your grandparents banned Tarzan and the Lone Ranger and toys with white faces from the house. They were rebelling against the history books that spoke of black people only as sentimental “firsts”—first black five-star general, first black congressman, first black mayor—always presented in the bemused manner of a category of Trivial Pursuit. Serious history was the West, and the West was white. This was all distilled for me in a quote I once read from the novelist Saul Bellow. I can’t remember where I read it, or when—only that I was already at Howard. “Who is the Tolstoy of the Zulus?” Bellow quipped. Tolstoy was “white,” and so Tolstoy “mattered,” like everything else that was white “mattered.” And this view of things was connected to the fear that passed through the generations, to the sense of dispossession. We were black, beyond the visible spectrum, beyond civilization. Our history was inferior because we were inferior, which is to say our bodies were inferior. And our inferior bodies could not possibly be accorded the same respect as those that built the West. Would it not be better, then, if our bodies were civilized, improved, and put to some legitimate Christian use?
Ta-Nehisi Coates (Between the World and Me)