26 September 2006

Free People Read Freely... If They Can Afford It

It's Banned Books Week, as you probably know. While I'm not a fan of all the banned books in the world, I'm also not a fan of banning them. I want to read The Giver. And Wrinkle in Time. And even Huck Finn.

Actually, I can't imagine going to a library and asking them to remove any book from the shelf. I'm just glad we have libraries full of books that we can check out for free. Economic restraints can keep people from reading freely just as much as political restraints. This was the case in Kyrgyzstan:

They [university students in Bishkek] said that they can check a book out of the National Library for 3 som a day, or about 50 cents a week. Not too bad, but comparing a typical US salary of $30,000/yr to a Kyrgyz one of $600/year, that would work out to be about $25 a week in the US. Obviously the library is a luxury for most people. Villages have smaller libraries where you don't have to pay, but with much smaller collections of older books.

I think I'll donate to Chapters of Hope in honor of this week. If anyone knows of another book donation charity, I'd be very interested to hear about it. One that takes monetary donations for books to go overseas. Sabre looks interesting.


  1. Amira - welcome back? I need to catch up. Spotty reader these days.

    I love everything by Lowry. Number the Stars, The Giver, Messenger, and Gathering Blue (I actually picked up GB at our local Deseret). I agree - not a fan of some banned books, but also not a fan of banning them. The BoM would be one of the first to go if some groups had their way:)

    Enjoy the geisers!


  2. Nice to see you back, Concierge.

  3. I did not like The Giver. It was too depressing. My favorite banned book is The Ugly American.