The Lawrence Public Library’s Banned Books Week trading card series is back for another year! For my entry this year I tackled another dystopian classic, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. Prescient digs at reality TV and social media aside, this book didn’t speak to me as deeply as Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four does … perhaps because, in a move that no doubt sent Bradbury spinning in his grave, I only listened to it on audio! At least it made for a good company while I crafted this piece! However, it does lend itself naturally to the topic of book suppression. Particularly so after I learned that Fahrenheit 451, perhaps the most famous anti-censorship novel of the 20th century, was itself bowdlerized by Bradbury’s own publisher! “Some cubby-hole editors at Ballantine … had, bit by bit, censored some 75 separate sections from the novel,” wrote Bradbury in the restored 1979 edition, which had “all the damns and hells back in place.”
While I only half-jokingly told my then co-worker Mary Pawlowski that I was going to steal the collage technique she used on her 2012 entry, it turns out I kinda did– thanks for the inspiration, Mary! It was a fun change of pace to work on a piece for its purely visual aspect, and not be as concerned with panel-to-panel storytelling.
Starting today, you can pick up the first of the seven winning Banned Book trading card designs for free– just stop in the library and ask for your copy! A new card will be available each day during Banned Books Week.