Burning Books

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The contemporary burning of books is taking on a new significance.

Burning books is an act historically associated with censorship and limited freedoms, a symptom of an overpowering and centralized government or religion. However, these days, the burning of books is “has become as much an act of provocation and one of censorship,” as evidenced by the recent Dutch political group.

Their plan to burn books revolved around the offensive racial language used in the books, a reminder of slavery. Canadian writer, Lawrence Hill response included this:

“Burning books is designed to intimidate people. It underestimates the intelligence of readers, stifles dialogue and insults those who cherish the freedom to read and write. The leaders of the Spanish Inquisition burned books. Nazis burned books.”


Sam Riley is an adult who works at McSweeney's. More from this author →