Store displays books banned in U.S.

September 27, 1994|By Adam Sachs | Adam Sachs,Sun Staff Writer

Classics by authors such as Mark Twain, George Orwell and Ernest Hemingway prominently displayed at the Cover to Cover Bookstore Cafe have one thing in common -- all have been banned somewhere in the United States.

To call attention to censorship by school boards and libraries across the country, the independent bookstore in Owen Brown Village Center is sponsoring Banned Books Week through Saturday, displaying books and the reasons they were prohibited.

"If you start banning books, if you start somewhere, there's no end, because somebody's going to find something to object to. That's why we have the First Amendment," said Marsha Berman, owner of Cover to Cover.

"People tend to get complacent and forget our First Amendment is really an important right we have," she said. "People are always trying to take it away."

The New York-based American Booksellers Association is the national organizer of the 13th annual Banned Books Week. The association, which lists more than 150 books either banned or challenged in the past year, says the event is intended not only to promote the freedom to express opinions but to ensure the availability of unpopular or unorthodox viewpoints.

Robert Maiolo, Cover to Cover manager, said many Americans take for granted their easy access to literature, not realizing that certain books are difficult to obtain or perhaps illegal in other countries. Some customers are surprised to discover that even children's books such as Dr. Seuss' "The Lorax" and Roald Dahl's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" have been banned in various places.

"Here we are in this 'free society' and these things are going on around us. It's silly," Mr. Maiolo said.

Among the banned books on display at Cover to Cover are "Don Quixote," "The Great Gatsby," "The Sun Also Rises," "Animal Farm," "Of Mice and Men," "To Kill a Mockingbird," "Les Miserables," "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," the Bible and the Koran, several William Shakespeare plays, a book about Zen meditation and several children's books and publications about puberty.

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