Banned Books Week (Sept 30-Oct 6) is celebrating, for want of a better term, its 30th year!
Banning books has a long and ignoble history going back into the mists of time. Possibly the oldest known ban was against 5th century BC Greek philosopher Anazagoras who made the mistake of suggesting that the sun is "white hot stone and that the moon reflected the sun's rays" - which caused him to be exiled from Athens and all his writings burned.
Of course, through much of history it wasn't just the writings that got burned but the writers themselves. Indeed, it wasn't even necessary to put pen to paper to find oneself atop a bonfire, or other equally nasty fate - a word, a deed, or even the mere suspicion of a thought could have been enough. So, I suppose we should be grateful that in the USA today we've evolved from burning people to merely attempting to ban their books.
Somewhat controversial news from Britain where McDonald's is in the process of giving away 9 million books with Happy Meals.
The six titles which are being given away (along with a finger puppet and a voucher for a heavily discounted additional book) are all from Michael Morpurgo's Mudpuddle Farm series, published by Harper Collins. Technically speaking, this will make McDonald's the nation's largest bookseller for the four week period (and the charity Farms for City Children considerably better off, as Morpurgo intends to donate all his royalties to them).
Nancy Pearl, the closest thing American libraries have to a celebrity, unleashed something of a shockwave through the book industry yesterday with the announcement that she is publishing a series of books with Amazon.
Did you know...