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In Support of Banned Books Week: Quotes on Censorship

Liberty Hardy

Senior Contributing Editor

Liberty Hardy is an unrepentant velocireader, writer, bitey mad lady, and tattoo canvas. Turn-ons include books, books and books. Her favorite exclamation is “Holy cats!” Liberty reads more than should be legal, sleeps very little, frequently writes on her belly with Sharpie markers, and when she dies, she’s leaving her body to library science. Until then, she lives with her three cats, Millay, Farrokh, and Zevon, in Maine. She is also right behind you. Just kidding! She’s too busy reading. Twitter: @MissLiberty

banned books weekWe’ve rounded up several important quotes about banning books and censorship in honor of Banned Books Week. It’s a national event founded in 1982 to raise awareness to the fact that people are still trying to ban books. Bookstores and libraries all around the country are participating. And you can read more about Banned Book Week and the most frequently challenged books of the 21st century.

“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.” ― Haruki Murikami

“There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.”

Joseph Brodsky

“A dangerous book will always be in danger from those it threatens with the demand that they question their assumptions. They’d rather hang on to the assumptions and ban the book.” ― Ursula K. Le Guin

“When truth is replaced by silence, the silence is a lie.” ― Yevgeny Yevtushenko

“Censorship is to art as lynching is to justice.” ― Henry Louis Gates Jr.

“What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist.”

Salman Rushdie

“Censorship is the child of fear and the father of ignorance.” ― Laurie Halse Anderson

“When you tear out a man’s tongue, you are not proving him a liar, you’re only telling the world that you fear what he might say.” ― George R.R. Martin

“I believe in any kid’s ability to read any book and form their own judgments. It’s the job of a parent to guide his/her child through the reading of every book imaginable. Censorship of any form punishes curiosity.” ― Sherman Alexie

“If all printers were determined not to print anything till they were sure it would offend nobody, there would be very little printed.” ― Benjamin Franklin

“Having the freedom to read and the freedom to choose is one of the best gifts my parents ever gave me.” ― Judy Blume

“Any book worth banning is a book worth reading.” ― Isaac Asimov

“Banning books gives us silence when we need speech. It closes our ears when we need to listen. It makes us blind when we need sight.” ― Stephen Chbosky

“Censorship is never over for those who have experienced it. It is a brand on the imagination that affects the individual who has suffered it, forever.” ― Nadine Gordimer

“Yes, books are dangerous. They should be dangerous – they contain ideas.” ― Pete Hautman

“Censorship, like charity, should begin at home; but unlike charity, it should end there.” ― Clare Booth Luce

“Banning books is just another form of bullying. It’s all about fear and an assumption of power. The key is to address the fear and deny the power.” ― James Howe

“If librarianship is the connecting of people to ideas…it is crucial to remember that we must keep and make available, not just good ideas and noble ideas, but bad ideas, silly ideas, and yes, even dangerous or wicked ideas.” — GraceAnne A. DeCandidio

“Censorship of anything, at any time, in any place, on whatever pretense, has always been and always will be the last resort of the boob and the bigot.” ― Eugene O’Neill

“A society that gets rid of all its troublemakers goes downhill.” ― Robert A. Heinlein

“Censorship is telling a man he can’t have a steak just because a baby can’t chew it.” ― Mark Twain

“Censorship is the height of vanity.” ― Martha Graham

“To forbid us anything is to make us have a mind for it.” ― Michel de Montaigne