Reading is a Political Act
Today, I invite you to embark on a journey of introspection and exploration into the wondrous world of literature. Whether you find solace in a gripping thriller, are captivated by historical fiction, or revel in the fantastical realms of science fiction, reading, my friends, is undeniably a political act. Books are portals to lives we've never lived, perspectives we've never considered, and worlds we've never experienced. They invite us into the minds and hearts of characters who challenge our preconceptions, forcing us to question our own biases. Through literature, we develop a profound empathy that extends beyond the realm of imagination, enabling us to connect with individuals from diverse backgrounds. And in a world increasingly divided, empathy is a radical act of defiance, challenging the status quo and fostering a society grounded in understanding.
Knowledge is power, and reading is the gateway to that power. By immersing ourselves in the written word, we arm ourselves with a formidable weapon against misinformation, ignorance, and manipulation. A well-read society asks questions, demands evidence, and refuses to be swayed by empty rhetoric. When we read, we empower ourselves to think critically and form our own opinions. In an era where truth is often obscured, an informed citizenry is an essential ingredient for a thriving democracy. Literature transcends borders, both physical and ideological. It allows us to experience cultures, places, and lives far removed from our own. The act of reading opens our eyes to the richness and diversity of the world, celebrating our shared humanity while embracing our differences. When we read stories from marginalized voices, we challenge the dominance of the privileged and uplift voices that have long been silenced. Literature bridges divides, fostering a sense of global citizenship that defies the limitations of nationality or political ideology.
Reading is not a passive endeavor; it demands action. It fuels our imagination, inspires us, and compels us to engage with the world around us. Stories have the power to shape our understanding of society and motivate us to effect change. From classics like To Kill a Mockingbird to contemporary works like the frequently-banned The Hate U Give, literature has ignited social movements and sparked conversations that have reverberated through time. When we read, we become catalysts for change, refusing to be mere spectators in the theater of life My friends, reading is a political act, independent of the genre, author, or personal beliefs that may shape our literary preferences. It is a transformative force that breathes life into our imaginations and empowers us to challenge the status quo. In an age where politics often divide us, books have the remarkable ability to unite us, reminding us of our shared humanity and the interconnectedness of our world. So, let us turn the pages, embrace the power of stories, and recognize that reading, at its core, is an act of rebellion, compassion, and hope.
In the words of Edmund Burke, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good [people] to do nothing." Let us not remain idle; instead, let us read widely, read deeply, and let our reading be an embodiment of our commitment to building a more inclusive, empathetic, and informed world.
I hope you’re doing well today. Now, on with this week’s news.
Book Removals May Have Violated Students’ Rights, Education Department Says
New York Times: A Georgia school district may have violated its students’ civil rights by removing certain books from its libraries, creating a “hostile environment” for students based on race, sex or national origin, said the United States Department of Education.
ed: Can we remove certain politicians for creating a hostile environment for everyone in the United States? - berin
The U.S. Needs Its Own Book Fair
Publishers Weekly: The U.S. is the biggest English-language publishing market in the world, yet it’s one of the few large countries without an industrywide conference. Book fairs held abroad attract dignitaries and celebrities who help put a spotlight on literature, at least for a few days: the Frankfurt Book Fair routinely hosts prime ministers, presidents, and Nobel Prize winners, and the Queen of Spain is a frequent guest of the Madrid Book Fair.
ed: But the US cares more about banning books than literacy. -berin
What recent publishing controversies say about the industry
Nathan Bransford: Remember when everyone had a good laugh over Bigolas Dickolas making a book a bestseller and the Swifties accidentally making a BTS oral history a bestseller? That was SO late last week.
ed: That its all business and people are vulnerable to hype. - berin
Only in Florida: couple steals rare books, vintage comics, AND endangered tortoises.
LitHub: It’s no wonder that book theft is on the rise in Florida, seeing as how Governor Ron DeSantis seems hellbent on making reading as hard as possible. So is anyone surprised a Florida couple (composed of a Florida Man and a Florida Woman) recently made off with some rare books, valuable comics, AND a few endangered tortoises?
ed: All kidding aside, DeSantis is a cancer. -berin
Book Banning in America Has Never Been Worse
Publishers Weekly: I’m here today to preach to the choir, but sometimes a guy just needs to vent. In 1973, I was hired by the book division of R.R. Bowker (at the time also the home of Publishers Weekly) to publicize such sexy volumes as Books in Print and erudite tomes on librarianship. However, my first task was to work with Jean Peters, Bowker’s librarian, to set up a reception room display of banned books.
ed: I already called DeSantis a cancer, trying to think of something worse to call book bans and the people behind them. I peaked too early. -berin
Adam Savage Learns The History of the Modern Book Cover
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Sometimes I feel like the rest of the worlds relationship to America is like that of a family in a Southern Gothic novel dealing with the crazy patriarch. You wish he'd just go away, but you can't afford to offend him, so you just tolerate his madness and do what you can to keep him from causing too much harm.