The Great Book Burn-a-Thon

This post is done in recognition of Banned Books Week which is September 18 to 24.

The Great Book Burn-a-Thon

By David Daniel

“Welcome, listeners to Radio KTRD’s annual July Fourth Book Burn-a-Thon! Gus Schute here, along with Carly Kindler. We’ll be broadcasting all day to celebrate and honor a great literary tradition. We know you’re as excited as us, so let’s get to the phones!”

“Right, Gus. We’ve got a Meryl calling from Keegerstown . . . Go ahead, Meryl, what book are you suggesting for our bonfire?”

“Burn Herzog.”

“Meryl, Gus here. Her zog. That how you say it? Sounds evil. Is zog code for a body part? I haven’t read that one.”

“Neither have I.”

“I’m just checking Google here, Gus. Here it is—that one’s by Saul Bellow. Hebrew writer, I see—not that that matters. Won a Nobel Prize. That’s suspicious right there. Gives a synopsis—umm, yadda, yadda . . . mmm, sounds kind of pointless.”

“So, thumbs up on that one, Meryl. Bring it down and onto the heap it goes. Ladies and gentlemen, if you’re just joining me and my co-host Carly Kindler, our goal is to have a pile of books tall as a barn by nine p.m. That’s when we’ll light the fire. If you’re in the area, come on by!”

“Right, Gus. Listeners can phone in with requests, or you can reach us on TRUTH Social or Twitter.”

“Let’s take another call, Carly. Mike’s in a car. Go ahead, Mike.”

“Am I on?”

“Go ahead, Mike.”

“Yeah, I just wanna say about that last book, I ain’t read it either, but you don’t got to get down into the hog wallow to know garbage. A dirty book by a dirty man is—”

“Or dirty woman. Let’s not be sexist about this.”

“—is all’s you got to know. And here’s one I wanna see tossed on the fire. Trout Fishing in America.”

“That’s the title of it?”

“What it says here. Some guy named . . . Brautigan.”

“Careful while you’re driving, Mike. Um, I don’t know that one. Some sort of fishing book, you say?”

“Not that I can see. They wanted to make my son read it for school. I took a look—and pee-uu. I like to thrown it right in the trash if it wasn’t a school book.”

“That says a lot about you as a parent, Mike. And an American.”

“Well, I just now decided, school book or no, I’m bringing it on down for tonight’s fire.”

“Onto the pile it goes. Remember, listeners, you can take the fight right down to the school board in your home town. It takes citizens to stand up and say no to smut. Isn’t that so, Carly?”

“Right you are, Gus. Amen. The school committee, the local library. That’s a good place to start. And if you get resistance—some of those library ladies can be pretty darn pesky—tell them your taxes pay their salaries. It’s your right to free speech. Take books right off the shelves if you have to, to make your point.”

“Well—haha—I don’t know if that’s where I’d start, Carly, but at least make some noise. Meanwhile we’ve got some text messages and tweets here. I’ll just read some of the titles that’ve been coming in . . . anything by J. K. Rowling. Tenderness by Cormier. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Alexi, is that how you say it?  Any books by D.H. Lawrence? Any by Toni Morrison. Don’t know if that’s a man or a woman. Woman? Carly says woman. Okay.”

“Just to remind our listeners, Gus, we’re broadcasting all day, and we’re making a big list, and if we can get actual copies of some of these books, so much the better. Those’ll go right on the heap. We’re gathering everything right out in the K-TRD studio parking lot and tonight we’ll have a bonfire to celebrate what this great Fourth of July is really all about!”

“Someone was asking earlier, won’t burning filth just pollute the air, too? All I can say is it shouldn’t. A good fire that burns really hot . . . hahaha.”

“Like the fires that’re gonna burn up the souls of some of these so-called ‘writers.’ And maybe some of those pesky librarians, too.”

“Haha. A purifying fire.”

“By the way, if you’ve got audiobooks or CDs—”

“Or record albums.”

“Dating yourself, Gus.”

“Hahaha. Just got another message—The Catcher in the Rye. That the one about the drunk ballplayer? Just kidding. I know that one. Sure, what the heck—lotta swear words. Let’s pile it on.”

“It’s all fair game, folks. Bring them on by. If you dare to touch them. We’ll see that they get their due. Remember, we want this year’s fire to be the biggest ever.”

“The phones are lighting up. We’ve got callers waiting to get on. Let’s go to Sugar in Winnisburg. Sugar, you’re on K-TRD!”


9 Responses to The Great Book Burn-a-Thon

  1. James Byrd says:

    Too damned close to reality. Remember the woman who volunteered to work in a library in order to sniff out books she considered odious? She complained about a book titled “Working Studs” by Merkle. Did that really happen? I was thinking it was a joke; however, these days I’m not so sure. Good story, David Daniel, or have you become a journalist?

  2. David Rothauser says:

    Can we have roasted marshmallows at the book burning? How about an Indian war dance, or better yet, a Ghost Dance – burn some bodies while we’re at it.

    I read all of Dave Daniel’s books – then burned ’em! Covered my winter heating bill for 2021.

  3. Anonymous says:

    This is brilliant. Love the show hosts quick summations: “Won a Nobel Prize. That’s suspicious right there.” and “The Catcher in the Rye. That the one about the drunk ballplayer?”

    I agree, your story is sad but true. There was a Maus book burning in February. I can hear Gus and Carly – “Who wants to read about a mouse? Throw it on the heap!”

    Thanks for the story…

  4. Steamboat says:

    And how bout that indecipherable wretchedness of a “novel” named after some drunken shipwrecked wanderer…toss it, I say to the bonfire is excess vanities!