Read banned books!

We’re near the end of Banned Books Week, the annual effort by publishers, booksellers, librarians and authors to call attention to the fact that even in 2015 we live in the world of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. (I’m late celebrating this year.) People are still trying to ban books from public and school libraries. Probably burn them too. My thinking is if a big bad old book scares you so much, don’t open it. Then seek help.

My favorite column by the late Mike Royko is also my favorite piece about those who would censor what we read. At the time, Royko’s newest book was about to come out. In the column, he recounts how a preacher in upstate New York attacked a previous book, calling for it to be banned. Sales of the book skyrocketed. The rest of the column is a hilarious retelling of Royko’s phone call with the preacher trying to convince the man that Royko’s newest book was worthy of similar treatment.

Here’s the American Library Association’s list of the top 10 challenged books in 2014.

Captain Underpants, anyone?

books

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