Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Banned Books Week September 25−October 2, 2010: A Call to Action

Mention book banning and many think of the usual suspects: totalitarian regimes burning George Orwell’s1984 in distant lands long ago.  Or Old School censorship of rebels like J. D. Salinger or D. H. Lawrence.  Most remember the ruckus in the '50s and '60s over Catcher in the Rye and the British ban until 1960 on printing Lady Chatterley’s Lover.  At a time when real-life-married couple, Luci and Desi, weren’t allowed to sleep onscreen in the same bed, Holden’s expulsion from classrooms and the earthy lover’s getting the boot from printing houses was no wonder.

But what some don’t realize is that still filing out of library and classroom doors behind the obvious renegades are Harry Potter, James and his giant peach, Hamlet, King Lear, Anne Frank, Jay Gatsby, and Atticus Finch.  Death of a Salesman taken down, and Canterbury Tales sent on a permanent pilgrimage to the trash heap.  Grapes of Wrath run out of town andThe House on Mango Street evicted.

Charlotte’s WebThe Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.  Whether condemned like Voltaire’s Candide for his mantra that we live in the “Best of all Possible Worlds,” or Hardy’s Tess of the d'Urbevilles for her fatalistic cry that “All is Vanity,” hundreds of books are challenged and banned in schools and libraries in the US annually.  In 2009 the American Library Association reports 460, though they estimate that 70-80% are never reported. 

Classic Coup celebrates rich reads that move our heads and hearts.  We’re about critical thinking and compassionate living. We challenge readers to turn the tide, putting down the fluff fiction and picking up books of substance.  Classics are forever green. Their authors--social critics, life coaches, visionaries--wrestle alongside us with life's most crucial issues.  They incite free thinking which survives book bans and burnings.   Classic Coup rallies rebels who embrace the freedom to read great books, many which are threatened by censorship, such as the ones here.

Ultimately, Ray Bradbury was right: "You don't have to burn a book to destroy a culture.  Just get people to stop reading them." Anyone up for exercising freedom to read, to think, to feel? Observe Banned Books Week year-round.  And rather than torching books like the firemen of Fahrenheit 451, throw a wet blanket on Spark Notes.  Read the Real Deal.

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