Will Diversity Crusades Lead to More Banned Books?

The last week of September was National Banned Book Week in America, a celebratory campaign the American Library Association sponsors every year to highlight the freedom we have to read. The event also includes an unveiling of the list of most challenged books for the year. The good news is that Americans seek to ban … Continued

Books, Culture

The Community Cost of Reading ‘Huck Finn’

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported recently that school administrators at a Quaker school in Pennsylvania removed The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn from the curriculum to placate students who complained that racial elements in the book made them feel uncomfortable. The administrators concluded that the “costs” to the community of assigning the book outweighed its literary value. On the contrary, … Continued


Seven Books that Should Be Banned

Every fall the publishing industry—excuse me, the “national books community”—engages in the self-promotional frenzy known as “Banned Books Week.” It comes complete with #BannedBooksWeek hashtags, events at public libraries, and high-minded declarations from authors. This may help book sales, but it only harms our ability to take books seriously. The first dishonest thing about “Banned … Continued


Should ‘Gone with the Wind’ be Banned?

This Tuesday marked the anniversary of the 1936 publication of Margaret Mitchell’s Civil War-era epic Gone with the Wind, one of the bestselling novels of all time, which also became one of the most beloved movies of all time. But in light of its nostalgic view of Southern slave-owning society, has this classic become a … Continued

Books, Entertainment, Movies

Celebrating—and Protecting—the Freedom to Read

Americans have a reflexive resistance to the idea of censoring literature and the banning of books. This is the land of free speech, after all. Certainly we’ve wrestled with it in the past, but we’re generally accustomed to titles being verboten in other, more repressive societies—the Bible in Saudi Arabia, Animal Farm in North Korea, … Continued


The Lunacy of “Trigger Warnings”

It’s official: we have raised at least one generation so privileged and self-centered that it makes demands on life instead of the other way around. The New York Times reported recently on the rise of university student requests for “trigger warnings,” alerts from the professor that the syllabus material students may encounter in the course … Continued

Books, Culture

Read a Banned Book

Two years ago when the controversial Florida pastor Terry Jones threatened to burn Korans, I had a passionate argument with a friend who strongly supported the gesture as a protest against the ideology contained within its covers. While I supported Jones’s right to burn the book as a protected act of free speech, I was … Continued

Books, Culture

The Daily Pop Culture Scene

The Pajama Prom Look–WSJ Classic Prom Scenes From Movies We Love–Teen Vogue Don’t Trust the B— in Apt 23, Not That Compelling–NYT Don’t Trust: Expecting the Worst, Getting the Best–NY Post The Real U.S. Town Behind The Simpsons’ Springfield–Telegraph Alcohol Sharpens The Mind–Telegraph Top Ten Most Banned Books (Includes Hunger Games)–Daily Beast Living the Good Life … Continued