Ban That Book

Adam wanted the apple only because it was forbidden.

The mistake was in not forbidding the serpent…

then he would have eaten the serpent.

Mark Twain

Who knew this was Banned Books Week?  Who knew some of today’s popular classics were initially shunned?  And how interesting that negative attention and censorship only whets our appetite and enthusiasm (and sales) for whatever is forbidden.

These authors knew how to let judgement slide with humor, if not grace:

J.K. Rowling on accusations that Harry Potter promotes Satanism:

“A very famous writer once said, ‘A book is like a mirror. If a fool looks in, you can’t expect a genius to look out.’ People tend to find in books what they want to find. And I think my books are very moral. I know they have absolutely nothing to do with what this lady is writing about, so I’m afraid I can’t give her much help there.”

Mark Twain to his editor on the Concord Public Library banning The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in 1885:

“Apparently, the Concord library has condemned Huck as ‘trash and only suitable for the slums.’ This will sell us another twenty-five thousand copies for sure!”

And to a librarian on the Brooklyn Public Library’s ban on the same book in 1905:

“I am greatly troubled by what you say. I wrote ‘Tom Sawyer’ & ‘Huck Finn’ for adults exclusively, & it always distressed me when I find that boys and girls have been allowed access to them. The mind that becomes soiled in youth can never again be washed clean. I know this by my own experience, & to this day I cherish an unappeased bitterness against the unfaithful guardians of my young life, who not only permitted but compelled me to read an unexpurgated Bible through before I was 15 years old. None can do that and ever draw a clean sweet breath again on this side of the grave.”

Harper Lee in a 1966 letter to the Hanover County School Board in Virginia after they banned To Kill a Mockingbird from school libraries state-wide:

“Surely it is plain to the simplest intelligence that To Kill a Mockingbirdspells out in words of seldom more than two syllables a code of honor and conduct, Christian in its ethic, that is the heritage of all Southerners. To hear that the novel is ‘immoral’ has made me count the years between now and 1984, for I have yet to come across a better example of doublethink. I feel, however, that the problem is one of illiteracy, not Marxism. Therefore I enclose a small contribution to the Beadle Bumble Fund that I hope will be used to enroll the Hanover County School Board in any first grade of its choice.”

Click on “Leave a Comment” (above left) to share your forbidden favorites.

Sharon Birke

201 697 1947

Photography for the Goddess in Every Wife & Mother


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mountain
    Oct 07, 2012 @ 13:57:34

    Forbidden, lets go! You have to wonder when you read or hear of things like this actually taking place in this country. I don’t have a banned book offering but I recall as a kid seeing a movie, “Fahrenheit 451”. This Ray Bradbury novel has always stuck in my mind. The concept of burning books, wow! “To Kill A Mockingbird” Is one of my all time favorites, a lesson in life or how it was and unfortunately still is in some people’s minds.

    Thank you, Sharky for reminding us.


    • Powerful Goddess Photography
      Oct 08, 2012 @ 11:54:23

      With droll required reading for schoolwork, my daughter exclaims “I hate reading!” Between that and the compulsion for video/computers, Ray Bradbury tells it like it is: “You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.”

      Thanks for sharing, Mountain!


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