As part of Banned Books Week, the library director, Corinne Chronopoulos, organized a read-out of the words of Salman Rushdie.
Fellow readers represented Avenue A, GoMonadnock, MacDowell, Mariposa Museum, Monadnock Summer Lyceum, Monadnock Underground, Peterborough Players, and The Revolution Ethics Project. (That’s me in the lime green–someone had to add a splash of color!)
After we read excerpts from Rushdie’s novels and interviews with the author, Carl Mabbs-Zeno of the Monadnock Writers’ Group read a letter of support, which attendees signed if they so chose, and which was then sent to Rushdie.
On a surface level, I was inspired by one of the readings to re-read Midnight’s Children, my introduction to Rushdie. On a deeper level, I felt an even greater appreciation for the importance of free speech–specifically, letting individuals choose which books to read versus the government or other entities telling us what we’re allowed to read.
The library displayed a collection of books deemed “inappropriate” at one point or another. I laughed out loud to see Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone on the list, because it portrayed witchcraft and even included “real spells”. Whoever came up with that concern must truly be living in a fantasy world…
Read the American Library Association’s Freedom to Read Statement for more on this subject.