Share a Laugh at Banned Book Readout

A large "Banned Books Week" poster display shows some of the books that have been banned in recent decades, including Harry Potter and The Catcher in the Rye.

The CSUN Library and the Department of Journalism celebrate the freedom to read during Banned Books Week 2017. Photo by David J. Hawkins.


For the seventh year, CSUN will host a Banned Books Readout — this year highlighting laughs and censorship. The event, “Comedy and Censorship — Why do we Fear the Funny?,” is scheduled to take place from 1 to 3 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 19, in the Ferman Presentation Room in the CSUN Library.

 The program will feature guest author and comedian Beth Lapides, founder of the UnCabaret, an alternative comedy show in Los Angeles. Lapides will read from her book, “Did I Wake You? Haikus for Modern Living,” and discuss censorship in comedy, as well as alternative comedy. Free pizza also will be available to attendees.

Elizabeth Blakey, an associate professor in the Department of Journalism and First Amendment scholar, is organizing the event in partnership with Library Dean Mark Stover and librarians Coleen Martin and Elizabeth Cheney.

“The purpose of the readout is to celebrate our freedom to read any book, even if offensive, under the liberties guaranteed to us all by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” Blakey said. “We all have the freedom to read, regardless of the objections to a book based on its themes.”

Students from Blakey’s Freedom of the Press course also will read from censored books, such as “A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo” by Jill Twiss. Blakey will present an address at the readout entitled “An Anthropology of Censored Comedic Books.”

The Banned Books Readout is part of Banned Books Week, an annual event sponsored by the American Library Association and hosted by libraries across the United States in late September. CSUN will hold its Banned Books Week from Sept. 22-28.

The event is open to CSUN students, faculty and staff and members of the community. The event is free, but RSVPs are requested at:

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