Sunday, September 28, 2008

Banned Book Week, Day 2: Read this and irritate a censor

We're celebrating Banned Book Week here at p3, each day featuring a different book that someone decided we'd all be safer if we couldn't read.

Why not organize a Banned Book party some night this week? You can have a film festival of movies made from banned books. (You'd be amazed how many great movies came from books that were banned somewhere--like today's selection.) You could play Banned Book charades. Or the Banned Book Drinking Game: Write down the first sentences from a selection of banned books (each on its own card), draw a card, read the sentence, and go around the table until someone can't identify the source. Drink.

And don't forget to pick up an "I read banned books." button at your local public library. This is a big week for them--show 'em some love.

Today's forbidden reading is from Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird.

When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow. When it healed, and Jem's fears of never being able to play football were assuaged, he was seldom self-conscious about his injury. His left arm was somewhat shorter than his right; when he stood or walked, the back of his hand was at right angles to his body, his thumb parallel to his thigh. He couldn't have cared less, so long as he could pass and punt.

When enough years had gone by to enable us to look back on them, we sometimes discussed the events leading to his accident. I maintain that the Ewells started it all, but Jem, who was four years my senior, said it started long before that. He said it began the summer Dill came to us, when Dill first gave us the idea of making Boo Radley come out.

I said if he wanted to take a broad view of the thing, it really began with Andrew Jackson. If General Jackson hadn't run the Creeks up the creek, Simon Finch would never have paddled up the Alabama, and where would we be if he hadn't? We were far too old to settle an argument with a fist-fight, so we consulted Atticus. Our father said we were both right.

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