September 14, 2006

Celebrating the right to read and the joy of reading

Jennifer Armstrong, author of the new The American Story, was kind enough to send me an email with the artwork for this year's Banned Books Week poster, because as it turns out it's an illustration by Roger Roth from the new book, selected by the American Booksellers Foundation for Freedom of Expression for the official poster.

Banned Books Week this year is September 23-30. For more information on Banned Books, including lists of banned, censored, and Bowdlerized books, go to the websites of the American Booksellers Foundation for Freedom of Expression, the Online Books project at the University of Pennsylvania, and the American Library Association.

At the end of the week, on September 30th, head over (virtually or otherwise) to Washington, DC, to celebrate the National Book Festival with the likes of Douglas Brinkley, John Hope Franklin, Doris Kearns Goodwin, U.S. Poet Laureate Donald Hall, Elise Paschen, Louis Sachar, Alexander McCall Smith, Judith Viorst, and many, many others.

And so I leave you with these thoughts:

"I never knew a girl who was ruined by a bad book."
New York City Mayor James J. "Jimmy" Walker (1881-1946)

"I am going to introduce a resolution to have the Postmaster General stop reading dirty books and deliver the mail."
U.S. Senator Gale William McGee (1915-1992) of Wyoming

"The sooner we all learn to make a distinction between disapproval and censorship, the better off society will be. ... Censorship cannot get at the real evil, and it is an evil in itself."
American writer and critic Granville Hicks (1901-1982)

"If in other lands the press and books and literature of all kinds are censored, we must redouble our efforts here to keep them free."
Franklin D. Roosevelt

"To limit the press is to insult a nation; to prohibit reading of certain books is to declare the inhabitants to be either fools or slaves."
French philolsopher Claude Adrien Helvetius (1715-1771)

"The books that the world calls immoral are the books that show the world its own shame."
Oscar Wilde

"The dirtiest book of all is the expurgated book."
Walt Whitman

"The price of freedom of religion, or of speech or of the press is that we must put up with, and even pay for, a good deal of rubbish."
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson

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