Last week I read a beautiful opinion piece by Washington Post columnist Alexandra Petri about the power of books.
For context, there’s been an unprecedented rise in efforts by conservatives in the United States to ban books from schools and libraries that deal with topics such as race, class, sex education and sexual identity, reported here and here. But recently some good news has come from Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia.
There, a committee reviewed two books, Lawn Boy: A Novel, and Gender Queer: A Memoir, and found both to be works of literature that did not contain descriptions of pedophilia as had been alleged in complaints from a parent and a former teacher. These books are now back on the shelves.
But Alexandra Petri regrets that these books have been found to contain “no threat.” She thinks such books, maybe all books, are dangerous.
“Books follow you home and pry open your head and rearrange the things inside. They make you feel things, sometimes, hope and grief and shame and confusion; they tell you that you’re not alone, or that you are, that you shouldn’t feel ashamed, or that you should; replace your answers with questions or questions with answers. “
Her full column is here: “Take all the books off the shelves. They’re just too dangerous.”
It’s reader’s anthem.