Two bibliophiles who run a used bookstore in Kansas, MO decided to make a bonfire of a huge pile of books nobody wanted.
But according to Dave Barry in his NYT article books don't burn easily. They smoke and create ash, they smolder. And anyway the Fire Department came and said they can't burn books or anything else in this way.Tom Wayne and Will Leathem love books but thought they would burn the books to make a statement.
Books are just things, paper bricks of commerce taking up room. But they are also holy vessels, containing the written articulation of our experiences and dreams, allowing us to point to an arrangement of words and exclaim: “Yes! That’s it exactly!The two book lovers decided they could make a cultural statement about the decline of literary reading in the United States, where, according to the National Endowment for the Arts, fewer than half the adults read even one novel or play or short story a year that is not required for work or school.
They took comfort in knowing that book fairies do not magically make overstock disappear, that books are quietly but routinely destroyed by publishers. And they adopted as their motto a quote they attributed to the poet Joseph Brodsky: “There are worse crimes than burning books. One is not reading them.”