The Bethel Community Gazette
Jul. 20, 2019
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Banishing the book banners

It's hard to believe in 2018 that we're still having to push back against the impulse to ban ideas that make us uncomfortable. More than 2,400 years ago, Socrates was executed for "refusing to recognize the gods recognized by the state" and thereby "corrupting the youth."

If that sounds vaguely familiar, it's because those intolerances of differing religious views that challenge the current orthodoxy and expand the minds of youth are reasons given for banning Huckleberry Finn, To Kill A Mockingbird and dozens more.

Thankfully we have local booksellers like Alice Hutchinson of Byrd's Books and Joel Orton of The Relay Bookhouse who tirelessly fight back against the tides of ignorance and intolerance, through education and outreach or just by stocking a wide range of books representing a wide range of ideas and beliefs.

In 2017, according to the American Library Association, the following books were banned somewhere in America. Not North Korea or Russia or Iran, but America.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain

The Autobiography of Malcolm X Malcolm X and Alex Haley

Beloved Toni Morrison

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee Dee Brown

The Call of the Wild Jack London

Catch-22 Joseph Heller

The Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger

Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury

For Whom the Bell Tolls Ernest Hemingway

Gone With the Wind Margaret Mitchell

The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck

The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald

Howl Allen Ginsberg

In Cold Blood Truman Capote

Invisible Man Ralph Ellison

The Jungle Upton Sinclair

Leaves of Grass Walt Whitman

Moby-Dick Herman Melville

Native Son Richard Wright

Our Bodies, Ourselves Boston Women's Health Book Collective

The Red Badge of Courage Stephen Crane

The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne

Sexual Behavior in the Human Male Alfred C. Kinsey

Stranger in a Strange Land Robert A. Heinlein

A Streetcar Named Desire Tennessee Williams

Their Eyes Were Watching God Zora Neale Hurston

To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee

Uncle Tom's Cabin Harriet Beecher Stowe

Where the Wild Things Are Maurice Sendak

The Words of Cesar Chavez Cesar Chavez

We urge our readers to go to your local book seller or library, get one of these books and read it because the best cure for intolerance and ignorance is education and reflection.

Be a true American patriot and read one of these classics.

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