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Banned Book Club

Banned Book Club

Book - 2020 | First edition
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"The autobiography of a South Korean woman's student days under an authoritarian regime, and how she defied state censorship. When Kim Hyun Sook started college in 1983 she was ready for her world to open up. After acing her exams and sort-of convincing her traditional mother that it was a good idea for a woman to go to college, she looked forward to soaking up the ideas of Western Literature far from the drudgery she was promised at her family's restaurant. But literature class would prove to be just the start of a massive turning point, still focused on reading but with life-or-death stakes she never could have imagined. This was during South Korea's Fifth Republic, a military regime that entrenched its power through censorship, torture, and the murder of protestors. In this charged political climate, with Molotov cocktails flying and fellow students disappearing for hours and returning with bruises, Hyun Sook sought refuge in the comfort of books. When the handsome young editor of the school newspaper invited her to his reading group, she expected to pop into the cafeteria to talk about Moby Dick, Hamlet, and The Scarlet Letter. Instead she found herself hiding in a basement as the youngest member of an underground banned book club. And as Hyun Sook soon discovered, in a totalitarian regime, the delights of discovering great works of illicit literature are quickly overshadowed by fear and violence as the walls close in. In BANNED BOOK CLUB, Hyun Sook shares a dramatic true story of political division, fear-mongering, anti-intellectualism, the death of democratic institutions, and the relentless rebellion of reading."-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: Chicago, IL : Iron Circus Comics, 2020
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2020
ISBN: 9781945820427
194582042X
Call Number: ygn 741.5973 K492b 2020
Characteristics: 198 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm

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The autobiography of a South Korean woman's student days under an authoritarian regime, and how she defied state censorship. Hyun Sook shares a dramatic true story of political division, fear-mongering, anti-intellectualism, the death of democratic institutions, and the relentless rebellion of r... Read More »

Grades 9-12. Questions 3 and 3a. This graphic novel is the autobiography of a South Korean woman's student days under an authoritarian regime, and how she defied state censorship.


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ChinesaR_KCMO Feb 06, 2021

The plot of Banned Book Club is an amalgamation of the author’s experiences at university, condensing several years of activism into a more concise story arc. This can cause the story to feel like it moves a little too quickly, and can leave the reader longing for more context. That being said, the way it is written makes sense for the graphic novel format. The novel also does a good job of showing that progress is not always linear and that change requires great struggle and sacrifice.
Overall I really enjoyed this story. It is especially timely now in a world where social justice struggles are shown all over the place. It shows us that progress is always worth fighting for, and that everyone has a role to play in the resistance. A very quick read that is enjoyable for any reader.

KyCCL Feb 01, 2021

This is a fascinating introduction for older teens and adults into some of the political aspects of South Korean society in the early 1980s.

LPL_MaryW Jan 09, 2021

This graphic novel is based on true events experienced by author Kim Hyun Sook and her friends in South Korea's Fifth Republic in 1983. As a college freshman, Hyun Sook doesn't want anything to do with politics, keeping her head down in a highly charged political climate where protesters are tortured and murdered and information is highly censored. But then she accidentally finds herself in a banned book club made up of students involved in government protests. When she learns of all the lies and atrocities of the authoritarian regime, she dedicates herself to the cause. This engaging black and white graphic novel is a fascinating history lesson and a timely source of inspiration for young activists, especially those fighting the ongoing battle for police abolition.

AndreaG_KCMO Oct 29, 2020

Still new to the graphic novel genre, I am usually unable to read with the same pace and intensity that I feel with a traditional novel. In this case, my familiarity with the subject matter forged the connection that kept me glued to the story from start to finish. As the plot intensified, the book structure kept pace by interspersing individual police interrogations with the activity of the other book group members. The technique heightened my emotion and my attention. My only difficulty was matching names to faces; for most of the book, I couldn't identify everyone correctly. This book captures the tenacity of a young democracy confronting its own embroiled past.

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