On Banned Books

Written by Britta Wellenstein

The following is a reflection on the discussion that took place at Film/Book Club on 9/27/22.

Book clubs are intimidating. Flashbacks to high school English where you didn’t read the chapter and the teacher hands you that dreaded plot test and you look at her, take it, and cry. Not that this is from personal experience or anything (sorry Ms. Ashlock for being so annoying and emotional yikes).

  I still enjoy reading though and I came to WSUM book club excited (and nervous) to talk about books. I worried it was a book club book club, where there was a book picked out already that I probably hadn’t read and I’d just be lost the whole time. But that’s not what this book club is about. We just talked about books, generally. This week was an open forum about banned books and how different types of banning exist: cancel banning, “good” banning, and banning due to the author. 

This talk sparked a lot, from BookTok to views on Catcher and the Rye and books read in school. Now, I haven’t read Catcher and the Rye (i know wtf) but still, everyone talked in a way that didn’t push someone away for having not read a book or didn’t put the pressure on you that a high school English symposium might  (no round table discussion of the use of green in great gatsby lol). Instead, I learned a lot about books I hadn’t read, but now am excited to read. 

I do sometimes miss my high school English classes because I miss talking about books. But at WSUM book club, I know I won’t be sobbing over my inability to understand SlaughterHouse Five (at least I better not be), and books can just be books and mean a million different things.