Yesterday the university I attended put out a notice about some suspicious books placed in the Little Lending Library that is on campus. You know, those little boxes where people can grab a book to read, or leave one for someone else. You typically see them in people’s front yards near the sidewalk, but there’s apparently one on campus as well.

According to people I spoke to the most concerning book was considered ‘White Supremacist’. Which makes me think these people don’t actually read anymore. Because if you actually read the book, I did back in the early 90’s when it was a huge bestseller, you’d realize that the main character is absolutely horrified to find out the truth behind what happened in Germany during the war.

Yeah, the book in question is Fatherland by Robert Harris. It’s one of the best alternate history stories to come out within the last 50 years, and one of my favorite novels. I’m not sure which version of the book was placed in the library, but the one I have looks like this.

FATHERLAND

Here’s the email NDSU sent out yesterday about it.

Yesterday, NDSU received a report related to a book placed on display in the Little Lending Library outside the south entrance of the Memorial Union.  The meaning of the cover art and placement of the book is unclear, and the crisis response team met to discuss an appropriate response.

The book was found leaning on a Bible on the top shelf.  The book is entitled “Fatherland” and the cover art contains a large swastika.  While these facts may indicate an intent to intimidate, the book itself was a mainstream novel and a best-seller in Great Britain from 1992.  Given the nature of the Little Lending Library (people take and leave books freely), it is possible that this book was merely left there to be shared with other patrons.

The situation is ambiguous, and it is being investigated by the NDSU Equity Office.  However, if this action was meant to threaten or intimidate anyone in our campus community, NDSU stands firmly against it.  The safety of our faculty, staff and students is of primary importance.

We are providing this email to be transparent with our community and to offer support to individuals who feel unsafe.  As always, we encourage members of our community to continue to embrace our ideals of inclusion and to respect and care for one another.

If people are concerned over this, they obviously have too much time to waste and really need to get out and learn to live. Or maybe we just need to start putting fainting couches up on every city block when people get the vapors over being ignorant little bitches (covers both male and female in this context) and feel the need to take offense at the slightest misunderstanding.

The book was found leaning on a Bible…”

*gasp* OH, NO! What an intolerant manual on how to live one’s life and save your soul! I mean, what’s the relevance of mentioning that the book you’re concerned about is leaning against another particular book unless you are also concerned about that one as well? And, it’s not like people haven’t been pawing through them and moving them around to see what’s there.

The meaning of the cover art and placement of the book is unclear…”

Actually, the meaning of the cover art isn’t all that ambiguous. The setting of the book is Germany still controlled by the Nazis in the 1960s, with Hitler still alive. And the most obvious symbol used by the Nazis was…(drum roll, please)…the swastika.

And the placement of the book makes no difference at all, since anyone can go look through the offerings and move them around. It’s like asking what the significance is of the placement of a particular rock on a hiking trail in a public park. There is no significance, it’s just where it ended up after the last person perused it.

People really just need to grow a thicker skin and quit trying to be offended by every little thing. This is culture of offendedness is getting out of hand.