Top 10 Reasons Banning Books is a Bad Idea

10. It upsets the writers what wrote the books.

9. It upsets the readers what want to read the books.

8. It makes the books cry and books are very sensitive.

7. If you really want people not to read a book, banning it will have the opposite effect.

6. If the content of a book offends you there are more effective ways to deal with your offendedness. Like, you know, engaging with it. Maureen Dowd’s columns frequently drive me spare, but I don’t try to get them banned, I argue against them.

5. Besides banning books does not make them go away. Just ask Chris Crutcher.

4. Banning books might make you feel like you’re in control, but it actually screams of lack of control. You think you can control input but you can’t. Banned books have a way of being passed around mightily and promoted during banned book week and gaining a whole other life they might not otherwise have had.

3. Banning books, you know, it kind of doesn’t encourage literacy. Last time I looked literacy was a good thing that goes hand in hand with increased life expectancy, education, living standards. Little stuff like that.

2. It’s a short step from banning books to wanting to burn ’em. People who burn books, well that is not company you want to keep.

1. Book banning clashes with everything in your wardrobe. Every. Single. Thing.


  1. Elodie on #

    “1. Book banning clashes with everything in your wardrobe. Every. Single. Thing.”

    Unless your wardrobe is completely composed of IGNORANCE!

  2. Rebecca on #

    oh. my. god. yeah, okay, i’ve ranted enough about this. cheers for reason number one. it rocks. so do all the others.

    growl. argh. rar. hiss. snarl.

  3. alisa on #

    banned book week! i had no idea that existed. awesome.

  4. Dawn on #

    I totally agree. Like Maureen said, no one wants to be known as a “book banner”. Jeez, I can’t even imagine being a Book Banner AND a fashion victim!

  5. Gabrielle on #

    I totally agree with you, Justine. Seriously, all the kids in that school are gonna want to read the book now. And it’s not like the school is making it disappear from Oklahoma. There are magical places that they call bookshops! The people from the school are getting even more ridiculous as they’re trying to pick up the pieces, now that they see the hordes of angry readers email-attacking them. I strongly recommend reading Maureen Johnson’s blog about this. All the info’s there. Plus she’s funny.

  6. capt.cockatiel on #

    For debate class I wrote about why books shouldn’t be banned. By English teacher loved it. (In one class all the books we read were banned at some point. It was ‘unintentional’ according to our teacher, but he has a tendency to lie. And to sing about Lord of the Flies and 1984, but that’s not the point.)It does indeed have the opposite effect. I had been procrastinating putting a hold on “The Bermudez Triangle” but when I heard it was banned I had to read it. Who could stand not knowing why someone insanely tried to ban a book?

  7. John M. Burt on #

    Book-banning is absolutely the dumbest thing you can do if you want to stop people from reading it.

    Especially when there are so many more effective techniques, like making a high school English requirement, or making a really bad film version of it.

    But if you really want to silence a book, try enthusiastically praising it for saying the opposite of what it really says. Don’t believe me? Try making a Bible-banger hold still while you read ’em the Sermon on the Mount.

  8. little willow on #

    Veeeery long article coming out in the new issue of The Edge of the Forest about how Maureen rocks, TBT rocks, and book banning DOES NOT ROCK EVER.

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