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Have you ever wondered about banned books and why they are banned? Well you are not alone
From the classics to the most recent publications, there are many books that have been banned or censored by schools, libraries, and even countries for various reasons. Some of these reasons range from things like language and sexual innuendo to depictions of racism (To Kill a Mockingbird, The Hate U Give) and alternative values (The Handmaid’s Tale).
As the list of prohibited books grows, so does the list of reasons for the ban. There really is so much to learn about which books have been banned and why.
It’s just that a museum recently opened for this purpose.
We introduce: Forbidden Books!
This new museum opened on December 5, 2020 and is located in the old town of Tallinn, Estonia, a country between Latvia and Russia.
Address: Munga 5, 10140 Tallinn, Estonia
Opening times: Friday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Note: Due to COVID-19 restrictions, check facility opening hours before visiting.
What are banned books?
Banned Books is part of the museum, part of the bookstore for books that have not only been banned, but also censored, restricted or even burned. These books were collected and exhibited in order to stimulate a wider discussion about free speech. Prohibited books are a place where you can access and share and interact with these books. This is made possible through the museum’s book club, podcast, and discussion groups. At Banned Books, keeping these books is just as important as education and access to them.
What inspired the creation of this museum?
According to the banned books website:
“We founded the museum because we want to preserve ideas, conversations, discussions and thoughts. Books play a very important role in this. They provide a direct link to the author’s mind and to the crystallized ideas they deemed worth sharing. “
Joseph Dunnigan, the spokesman and leader of this initiative, said in a video on the museum’s Facebook page:
“We try to get people to think about the concept of free speech and to freely exchange ideas. This is a place where you can get to know these kinds of things and think about these kinds of questions. I really believe that there should be a place in the world, like a little corner of the world, a tiny little place, where these ideas can be kept. ”
What books do you have in there?
Banned Books has a collection of over 100 books divided into different categories. The books that have been banned, censored or burned are separated by country. They currently have books from Estonia, Russia, the UK, China and the US. You have different sections for children’s books, books on censorship, and books on books that were burned.
Some examples of the books on their shelves are Lord of the Flies, The Handmaid’s Tale, Unfree Speech, The Hate U Give, You Can’t Read This Book: Censorship in the Age of Freedom and The Fake News Factory.
If you’re curious about other books, check their social media pages for regular updates. Recently they published a picture of a new book by a Latvian author that will be featured on their podcast. And if you’re interested in their podcast or book club, check out their website.
Are you a little far from Estonia? EQUAL.
As it is not currently safe to travel, you can read from the comfort of your home. You can still get your hands on many prohibited books. See Forbidden Books to Read During Forbidden Books Week for some recommendations.
If you want to learn more about the topic of banned books and censorship, check out these other articles:
Beyond magenta: when gatekeeping becomes censorship
On the visibility of AIDS and HIV in the literature