Celebrating the Right to Read: Banned Books Read-Out

Celebrating the Right to Read: Banned Books Read-Out

Lilly Hetson, Jr. staff writer and Jr. Editor

In the dystopian novella Fahrenheit 450, Ray Bradbury introduces his readers to a futuristic society where firemen start fires rather than put them out.  Their purpose?  To destroy books and the intellectual potential they represent.  Have you ever thought about the books you read?  The ideas?  The author?  The tone or language?  All of these aspects create a novel that unfortunately may be labeled as “inappropriate”.  In the course of our history, many books–Catcher in the Rye, Huckleberry Finn, Uncle Tom’s Cabin–have been banned for the ideas they present, the language or subject matter they include, or for their character depictions. This history of banning books in the United States is a long one, starting with the American Revolution, and there is still not an end in sight.  Communities and special interest groups feel the need to censor books for a multitude of reasons like those listed above; however, nothing can stop ideas from spreading.

To challenge this censorship, the Hubbard Public Library decided to celebrate the freedom to read without restriction by hosting a “Banned Book Read-Out.”  This event was held on September 21, 2011 in Harding Park.  Participants read excerpts from commonly banned books including:  Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby;  A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving; Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight and the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.  Contributors also read from banned books that were seemingly harmless, like the dictionary, but were banned because they contained explicit language.

Overall the event was a success, with many readers and audience members attending on a cold autumn night, celebrating the literature we freely chose to explore.  Let’s continue to fight for that celebration of freedom!