Destroy All Books

“A New Jersey man who burned pages from the Quran outside a planned mosque near ground zero on Saturday has been fired from his job at NJ Transit.”

       – Associated Press, September 15, 2010


Burning books is a step in the right direction, but we’re not doing nearly enough to combat the evil words and punctuation that are eating away at society. It’s time we stand up and demand that more books be punished. And we cannot stop until the job is done and we live in a bookless civilization. We must all do our part. Every book deserves to be burned or maimed somehow. For instance:


"The Tale of Peter Rabbit" goes against the very principles of this great nation. The book should be destroyed by either fire or perhaps wizard lightning of some sort. If we don’t stand up against thieving rabbits (which I’m sure represents either anarchy, terrorism, or rabbits who do not respect agriculture, or all three), then what kind of a world will our grandchildren inherit? (It's too late for our children. There are rabbits all over the place.)


We should also obliterate all copies of "The Far Side Gallery 3."  Gary Larson’s absurdist wit has no place in our world, and reading the comic will lead to Satanism or worse--Double Satanism. But burning the book isn’t enough. We must carry the book to a volcano, an evil volcano if we can find one, and toss the book into the liquid fire. Someone should stand guard for a few years to make sure the book doesn’t crawl out and come back to life and continue its reign of terror. I’d do it, but I have a thing on Wednesday.


If you own a copy of "Charlotte’s Web," a book that may very well promote the concept of evolution, hire an astronaut to tie the book to a Jupiter probe. Jupiter’s atmosphere will make short work of the book, and we can all rest a little easier once Charlotte and her henchanimals are Jupiter’s problem.


It's all well and good to say that "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" should  be banned from schools, but it's not nearly enough. All copies should be dipped in liquid nitrogen, and then shattered with hammer. The fragments should then be fed to a shark, and that shark should be fed to a much larger shark. The second shark should then be ridiculed until it takes its own life.


"The Catcher in the Rye" should be fed to rats because it contains too many commas and not enough exclamation points or mine cart chases. The same goes for "Little Women". And if "The Poky Little Puppy" was sat upon by a fat man and then dipped in acid, we wouldn’t need to worry about innocent literates stumbling upon the shocking book, which I suspect is an allegory for legalized narcotics and/or prostitution. Poky Little Puppy, indeed.  More like "Poke That Little Puppy."


The even numbered pages of "A Tale of Two Cities" should be ripped out and mailed to my brother Walter in Florida. He’ll then soak these vicious pages in cinnamon extract, shred the paper, and make a nice potpourri, which he will then sell to tourists, but only evil tourists. The remaining odd-numbered pages of the book should be clipped out, and rearranged so that pages are all mixed up. This will ensure that no one else can be harmed by this literature. Or should I say, “Litter ature”? No. I was right the first time.


And lastly, we must rid our world of the dictionary, for it is from this rudely-titled tome that all the hate and anti-good words are born. I’m asking the great people of this land to take their family dictionaries and grind them up with a mortar and pestle (two words that no one will understand once the heinous dictionaries are dealt with). With the books ground down to a find powder, add a little milk, and stir until a paste forms. Smear this paste on a houseplant, and let the houseplant die a slow and painful death. Give the plant the finger too.


With your help, we can rid our planet of these festering, maniacal blocks of words. And once they are destroyed, we can move on to annihilating magazines, ingredients labels, and street signs--anything with words. Including this, which is necessary only to get things going in the right direction. Thank you.


Dan Bergstein hews his sentences out of the hardest New Hampshire granite.

July 23: Jessica Mitford died on this day in 1996.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).

Watching Them Be

What makes a film actor into a larger-than-life movie star? James Harvey's passionate, freewheeling essays explain why there are some faces (from Greta Garbo's to Samuel L. Jackson's) from which we cannot look away.


What if you called up the spouse on the verge of leaving you -- and instead found yourself magically talking to his younger self, the one you first fell for?  Rainbow Rowell, author of the YA smash Eleanor & Park, delivers a sly, enchanting take on 21st-century love.