BURN PILE: Burnt Books

"Jorge Luis Borges noted that ‘of all man’s instruments the most wondrous is, without any doubt, the book ... it is the extension of memory and imagination’. The key word here is ‘memory’. Books form the collective memory that any conqueror, dictator or fanatic seeks to destroy."
Kenneth Baker, "Burning Books"

As if meant to counterbalance the forces of the universe, the Montana Book Festival (Sept 27-Oct 1) shares the calendar with Banned Books Week. You owe it to humanity to join us in Missoula to celebrate all things lit (and pie and whiskey, and such).

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There will be no burnings (and no bannings) of books or other goodness, although you might just get a little lit yourself. The full festival schedule is right here, and while you're running around Missoula, be a good citizen and visit the festival's sponsors.

 The Burning of Books or St Dominic de Guzman and the Albigensians, By Pedro Berruguete, 15th century

The Burning of Books or St Dominic de Guzman and the Albigensians, By Pedro Berruguete, 15th century

The American Library Association takes on the hefty mission of providing "leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.” (Emphasis is emphatically ours...) Part of their chores involve dealing with challenges lain on the table by folks who wish the world conformed more tightly to their own views. Here's the top 10 from last year. You might detect a theme running through these challenges... Hmm...

At BannedBooksWeek.org, you can dig into 10 Deliciously Dangerous Poetry Books, an examination of Banned Books that Shaped America (I'm thrilled that Where the Wild Things Are made this list!), and although the map is a tad outdated, Mapping Censorship is an interesting view of what and where in the efforts to shut down access to "questionable" literature. Missoula apparently had issues with Jon Jackson's Dead Folks and J.D. Salinger's Catcher in the Rye. 

Signature-Reads.com gives Tom Blunt, offering up 16 Quotes from Great Authors for Banned Books Week. Among these is the closer for this week's Burnpile, from Henry Louis Gates Jr., “2 Live Crew, Decoded,” 1990:

“Censorship is to art as lynching is to justice.”

The comments are wide open. If you've got thoughts, let's see 'em.

Be kind, be generous with your art and your heart, and Nolite te Bastardes Carborundorum.