I am disturbed by the article in the May 8 paper about Quill Books & Beverage, the bookstore in Westbrook that is removing books by authors accused of sexual misconduct (“Bookstore pulls titles by author accused of sexual misconduct,” Page B1).

The owner is correct: The store is a private, nongovernmental entity and can decide which books to carry or not. However, it is a slippery slope to ban books based on morality. What about authors with drug or alcohol problems? Or biographies of historical figures who behaved badly? What do you do with books that reflect a morality with which you (or some of your customers) disagree?

Customers are encouraged to let the owners know if they “have concerns” about a book. Will those books then be removed? You may end up with an inventory that is “pure” by some standard, but it will be lacking in complexity, in challenge, in depth.

I was also particularly offended by the owners’ statement, “In light of the news about Junot Diaz, here are some Latina authors we recommend.” Writers are not interchangeable by ethnicity. We don’t read Junot Diaz because he is Latino, but because we appreciate him as a writer, and for his particular voice. To suggest otherwise is offensive to him, to the recommended alternative writers, and to all those who read them. This statement shows a stunning lack of understanding of literature and of the reasons for reading.

The owners of Quill have every right to decide which books to carry. However, I will not be buying books there.

David Moltz


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