Cranky readers

The tactic of writing to librarians to make them disappear books has been around for some time. The following is from Somerset Maugham’s Cakes and Ale (1930). The protag’s uncle is talking about his nephew’s friendship with a local author:

“They bicycled together last summer, and after Willie had gone back to school I got one of his books from the library to see what it was like. I read the first volume and then I sent it back. I wrote a pretty stiff letter to the librarian and I was glad to hear that he’d withdrawn it from circulation. If it had been my own property I should have put it promptly in the kitchen stove.”

Wouldn’t it be lovely to think that didn’t happen nowadays? Alas and alack.


  1. Dawn on #


  2. Ally on #


  3. Rebecca on #

    grrrrr. bloody book banning. we should kill it.

  4. Ammy on #

    I know. Damn. A recent case *coughBermudezcough* annoyed the hell out of me. People are so quick to attack a book just because they personally find fault in it.

  5. PJ Hoover on #

    Doesn’t at least one person find fault in every book ever published? So what’s the determining factor in deeming a book banish-worthy? Having whoever’s been offended scream loud enough about it?
    I guess all it takes sometimes is a single letter.

  6. David Moles on #

    if only those skeevy authors would stop preying on our bicycling nephews!

  7. Justine on #

    David: thank the heavens, we have you to get to the heart of the matter! (Though if you read the book it’s really the skeevy author’s wife who . . . oh, never mind!)

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