Banned Books Are the Best Books

Hermione, Harry Potter

It’s banned book week! Or rather, it was last week. . . .Time to celebrate those books that have been challenged and banned. Many classics that have been a part of the literary canon for decades have had their merit questioned. We have days to commemorate what happened. And we have Banned Books Week to remind us of what could have happened. We could have lost so much art if brave publishers and booksellers did not protest censorship. Books were banned for their language and content. Anything remotely sexual was considered pornographic. Racial slurs used to indicate a racist society were challenged. Something slightly bawdy was banned. And books that reinterpret religious texts were burned. Why? They are all merely ideas. They are all just musings, just observations, just words. But people become so caught up in their personal beliefs that they want to force them on other people. It seems strange to me that books are still being challenged and banned to this day. Continue reading →

Reclaiming His Story, Rushdie’s Joseph Anton

“Two days earlier there had been a ‘Rushdie riot’ outside the U.S. Cultural Center in Islamabad, Pakistan. (It was not clear why the United States was being held responsible for The Satanic Verses.) The police had fired into the crowd and there were five dead and sixty injured. The demonstrators carried signs saying RUSHDIE, YOU ARE DEAD. Now the danger had been greatly multiplied by the Iranian edict. The Ayatollah Khomeini was not just a powerful cleric. He was a head of state ordering the murder of the citizen of another state, over whom he had no jurisdiction; and he had assassins at his service and they had been used before against ‘enemies’ of the Iranian Revolution, including enemies living outside Iran (Rushdie, 15). Continue reading →

Salman Rushdie, the Rockstar of Writers

Joseph Anton, Salman Rushdie, Dan Schifrin

Sometimes I feel like a pre-teen groupie when I say that Salman Rushdie is my favorite author. I expect people to say “how droll” as they roll their eyes. Why? Because he’s the rock star of the literary world. He’s Bono while Hunter S. Thompson is Keith Richards. I love one of the most internationally famous authors in the world. He was in protective hiding for almost a decade. He’s in the news all the time, he had a death sentence on his head. He was married to an internationally famous model and tv host. And yet, while this has led to him in gossip magazines, he’s just a great fucking writer with a vast intelligence and an extremely good sense of humor. Continue reading →