Banned Book Club growing in interest entering 2nd Year
Banned Book Club membership increases
B3C — Breck Banned Book Club — is jumping into its second year coinciding with the National annual celebration of Banned Books Week from October 1 - 7th.
Year-over-year, the nationwide number of demands to ban or remove books has increased. According to the American Library Association (ALA), 1,269 demands were made to censor books or resources in 2022. That nearly doubles the 729 challenges made in 2021, and the most made in single year according to the ALA’s 20 years of record keeping. Those 1,269 challenges targeted 2,571 unique titles, the ALA reported, which is 38% more unique titles than in 2021. Of those, the ALA reported, the vast majority were written by or about members of the LGBTQIA+ community or by and about Black people, Indigenous people, and people of color.
( 2022 Book Ban Data)
Reading books that have been challenged and potentially banned allows everyone to gain first hand knowledge of the topics of the books. It also develops education about the authors' willingness to write about potentially unpopular topics and difficult experiences — striving to reach others with similar challenges who may feel alone. Through reading stories about experiences unlike our own, we develop empathy, understanding and compassion. Discussions at B3C allow members a safe space to share reactions to each book, learn from each other, and even craft intelligent responses to these challenges.
B3C gathers once a month at the South Branch Library in Breckenridge from 6-8pm on the third Thursday through the end of 2023. The group of interested local and seasonal individuals has grown from 10 at the initial gathering in September 2022 to over 40 on the current emailing list! Representing a broad range of ages and backgrounds, the diversity of the club is also expanding. In response to this growth, a survey will be conducted this fall to select the preferred new date and time starting in February 2024.
The group focuses on one book, which they collectively select, from the challenged and banned book lists compiled by the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom. Upcoming book discussions include:
• September 21, 2023 — In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
• October 19, 2023 — Looking for Alaska by John Green
• November 16, 2023 — Animal Farm by George Orwell
• December 21, 2023 — Sophie's Choice by William Styron
• Monday, January 15, 2024 (at the Eclipse Theater, Breckernidge) — The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
The January 15 meeting will be the first co-hosted by the Book to Movie Club with a viewing of The Perks of being a Wallflower. Written by Stephen Chbosky, the book is on the ALA Top 13 Most Challenged Books: 2022 and Top 100 Most Banned and Challenged Books: 2010-2019. If interested, the required movie ticket is included when the book is checked out at the South Branch Library (books are available after the previous club meeting). *This is not a public showing. A discussion about adaptation fo the book to film will follow the showing.
B3C book discussions are inclusive and typically most attendees are comfortable participating in discussion, though not required. Members of the group take turns leading the conversation. Talking points center around literary quality, personal reactions and experiences, and responses to the published reasons for challenges. The group is a safe place for sharing and testing reactions. While most of the conversation centers on the topic book, some general questions that come up repeatedly include:
So, what’s all the fuss about?
Why are challenges growing so dramatically?
What are indoctrination and grooming?
If you are interested in starting to read challenged books, consider those being read by B3C. Here are those read in 2022 (links provided to our catalog to place a hold):
• To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
• The Satanic Verses by Salmon Rushdie
• Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence
• Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
• The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
• Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
• The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
• Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe
• Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds
• All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson
• The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
• Something Happened In Our Town by Marianne Celano
In addition to reading challenged books, consider joining the national campaign — Unite Against Book Bans “is a national initiative to empower readers everywhere to stand together in the fight against censorship.”