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Break your bookmarks! Today marks the start of Banned Books Week 2022, which runs from September 18 to 24. Banned Books Week, held annually during the last week of September, is an awareness campaign to draw attention to challenged and banned books. When a book gets banned, it’s usually because someone objected to its content. The call to ban the book is referred to as “opposition” and is followed by a board vote on the book’s accessibility. The books can then be removed from the curriculum or from the circulation of libraries.
► Related: Book bans are on the rise. What are the most banned books and why?
The number of challenged books is growing – The American Library Association (ALA) reports that from 2020 to 2021, the number of challenged books has doubled. Many of the challenged books from 2021 focus on LGBTQ+ issues, such as Juno Dawson’s “This Book Is Gay” and Maya Cobabe’s “Gay Sex”. Curriculum staples such as “Mice and Men”, “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “The Blue Eye” are also among the most challenging books. Despite the controversy surrounding some books, there are many ways to consume your favorite books.
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One of the most direct ways to read a forbidden book. There are many different storefronts to choose from. Amazon is arguably the most convenient way to buy books. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, your next favorite book could be in your hands in less than a day. Barnes & Noble is another good option for buying books, especially if you enjoy the experience of shopping at a bookstore. For a high quality user book, try ThriftBooks. It offers free shipping on orders over $15 and every purchase earns you points that you can use to buy more books.
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Buying books is not for everyone. If that’s not within your budget or you don’t have shelf space for another book, your local library is here to help. With an estimated 16,766 public libraries in the country, there is likely a library near you with dozens of books to choose from, including a number of challenged ones. Many libraries will also borrow books from other libraries, so if the book you’re looking for isn’t available in one place, you’ll probably still be able to get it.
Hoopla allows you to review e-books or audiobooks through your local library. All you need is a library card. Plus, you can stream music, movies, and shows with Hoopla as well.
►more: The authors of most books banned in the United States speak: ‘We cannot take these liberties for granted’
Download it digitally
Digitally reading your favorite forbidden book is easy thanks to the many different e-readers to choose from. We found the Kobo Libra H2O to be the best e-reader you can buy. It has a bright, clear screen and is water-resistant. It even offers a monthly All You Can Read subscription service with over 300 million books to choose from. If you prefer Kindle, the Paperwhite is the best because it has a large, clear screen that automatically adjusts brightness and offers a huge variety of content. Don’t have an e-reader? You can still read books digitally on your phone or tablet using apps like the Kindle app or Apple Books.
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listen to them
Audiobooks take books, banned or not, to a new level. Whether you want your eyes to be free or you prefer listening to stories over reading them, audiobooks allow you to fully immerse yourself in literature and experience the different characters. Not to mention that it can speed up the pace of reading and improve text comprehension. Amazon’s Audible is perhaps the most popular audiobook service, with support on different devices and thousands of books available for your listening pleasure. You can try Audible for free for 30 days with one or two credits in exchange for books to test the service before committing. Libro.fm is another audiobook service that you can use that returns you by splitting the profits from your payments with an independent bookstore of your choice. Finally, consider renting audiobooks from your local library or subscribing to a podcast that reads books in every episode.
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