Welcome to The Banned Book Club
Let me tell you a story.
When I was in the 6th grade, I used to have to wait in the library after school for my mother to pick me up. The first half of my 6th-grade year had dramatically ended at my previous school, so here I was, starting a new school…in the middle of my 6th-grade year.
So I didn’t have any friends yet to hang out with after school.
So, I went to the library I had been going to all my life and read.
It was at this library that I discovered Maya Angelou.
Before then, I didn’t know that there were books written exclusively by African American authors. I remember standing up in the aisle of that library, leaning against the tall bookshelf ( the one by the bathroom) and reading I Know Why the Caged Birds Sing.
I never checked it out, but came back every day and stood there until I finished it.
That Maya Angelou book spawned my lifelong love of reading.
I couldn’t get enough and read book after book after book.
Now, imagine if that book or any of the books that I devoured from that January to June…had been...banned.
Well, it was.
In 1983, I Know Why the Caged Birds Sing was banned because the Alabama State Textbook Committee determined it incited ''bitterness and hatred toward white people.'' A few years later, Bremerton, Washington, banned it for the graphic depiction of molestation. In 1994, it was challenged for being a ''lurid tale of sexual perversion'' in Castle Rock, Colorado. As recently as 2016, parents in Illinois asked for it to be removed from required reading due to sexual content.
Imagine if the book that started my obsession with reading was…banned? Would I be the reader I am today if I hadn’t gotten my hands on that book?
I was so surprised to see that it had been banned several times that the idea of banned books stuck with me.
What if I read banned books? What if I invited a few friends to read them with me?
Friends, I’m inviting you to join my new Banned Book Club.
Our goal: to read books that have been banned previously, currently, or even books that have been censured or challenged.
I’ve looked over the many lists of banned books. They include everything from essays to fiction, young adult fiction, children’s books, and classics.
I want to read a little bit of everything with you.
So how this will work:
I have not quite decided if this will be over zoom, google meet or something else. But there will be weekly discussions and questions using the chat feature in substack dividing the books up so that we can read together. I want us to dissect these books, discuss them, love them or hate them. And discuss and be open about why they are banned and if you agree or disagree.
I want to go deep.
This will be an interactive book club friends! No reader will be left behind!
I have a list of books I want to get through, but I thought it would be interesting to let YOU pick some of the books. So every other book, there will be a poll where YOU will get to help pick our next book.
What is the cost?
For the book club, I am offering paid subscriptions for $5/month or $50/year.
What is included in the cost of membership:
By becoming a paid subscriber to the book club, you will have access to The Banned Book Club, exclusive posts commentary, and weekly discussions. This will be a community, and by joining, you will have the ability to comment on every newsletter and be with like-minded people who just want to read good books.
Why is this paid and not free?
A paid subscription here will allow me to continue all the other work I do, too, on Instagram, Pouring Over Books Box, and Everyday Eyecandy and other work I do beyond. Your $5 a month will help make it all possible!
Ok. So that’s an outline for what I envision for this book club. I cannot WAIT to get started!
The Banned Books Club is a reader-supported Book Club. . To join subscribe below
Yay, sounds so fun. Can't wait to get started!
I love this! Thank you for sharing your story and for doing such meaningful work.