This week is Banned Books Week, a week in which the American Library Association urges everyone to reflect on our First Amendment freedoms and recognize how fragile they can be (see Paige Turner’s column on page 14). We certainly support the ALA in their effort, and agree that banning books from library shelves because of political or moral objections – because they challenge us and make us uncomfortable – is antithetical to the free and open society envisioned by the Founding Fathers and that we still aspire to.
There are some books that are just annoying, vapid and a waste of trees, and it’s hard to see how society would be harmed if someone would just tap some authors and publishers on the shoulder, brandish a baseball bat, and quietly suggest that they knock it off.
1. Anything about Pilates. When does a fitness fad become a tree-killing environmental menace? We don’t know exactly where that line is, but we do know that Pilates crossed it long ago. Way long ago.
2. Anything by Danielle Steel. She has made her millions many times over. To persist at this point is just reader abuse.
3. Anything with “Chicken Soup” in the title. Unless it’s a cookbook, and then we’ll take it on a case-by-case basis.
4. “The Bridges of Madison County.”
5. Children’s books written by celebrities. Reading education guru Jim Trelease brought this to our attention. Upon reflection, we agree.
6. Biographies of people younger than 30. We don’t care how many billions they made in social media, it’s just a ridiculous concept.
7. “The Secret.” We’re visioning a life without claptrap.
8. All of the “Dune” sequels. There’s what, 549 now? Sheesh.