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How to read, listen to challenged books

Banned Books Week is here - here's how to read or listen to your favorite challenged books

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Break out your bookmarks! Today begins Banned Books Week 2022, which runs from September 18th to 24th. Held annually in the last full week of September, Banned Books Week is an awareness campaign that draws attention to offending and banned books. When a book is banned, it’s usually because someone has objected to its content. The call to ban a book is known as a “challenge” and is followed by a board vote on the book’s accessibility. Books can then be removed from the school curriculum or from library lending.

►Cover: Book bans are increasing. Which books are most banned and why?

The number of contested books is rising – the American Library Association (ALA) reports that the number of contested books more than doubled from 2020 to 2021. Many of the contested books of 2021 deal with LGBTQ+ issues, such as Juno Dawson’s This Book is Gay and Maia Kobabe’s Gender Queer. School curriculum books like Of Mice and Men, To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Bluest Eye are also among the most challenged books. Despite the controversy surrounding some books, there are plenty of ways to consume your favorites.

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buy you

There are many stores where you can buy banned books.

One of the easiest ways to read a banned book is to buy it. There are different shop windows 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 like shopping in a physical bookstore. For a quality used book, try ThriftBooks. It offers free shipping on orders over $15, and every purchase earns you points that can be used to buy even more books.

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Rent them

Libraries are a great resource for finding books.

Buying books is not for everyone. If it’s not within your budget or you just don’t have the space on your shelf for another book, your local library can help. With an estimated 16,766 public libraries in the country, there is most likely a library near you with dozens of books to choose from, including a number of challenged books. Many libraries even borrow books from other libraries. If the book you’re looking for isn’t available in one place, chances are you can still get your hands on it.

With Hoopla, you can borrow e-books or audiobooks through your local library. All you need is a library card. Besides, you can also stream music, movies, and shows with Hoopla.

More: Authors of most banned books in US speak out: ‘We cannot take these freedoms for granted’

Download them digitally

An e-reader offers a new way to read your favorite books.

Reading your favorite banned book digitally is a breeze 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, crisp display and is even waterproof. It even offers an all-you-can-read monthly subscription service with over 300 million books to choose from. If you prefer a Kindle, the Paperwhite is the best, as it has a large, sharp display that automatically adjusts the 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 applications like the Kindle app or Apple Books.

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listen to them

Would you like to listen to a banned book instead of reading it?  You can do that with an audio book.

Audiobooks take books, banned or not, to a new level. Whether you need to keep your eyes free or prefer listening to stories rather than reading, audiobooks allow you to fully immerse yourself in the literature and experience the different characters. Not to mention that it can speed up reading speed and improve text comprehension. Amazon’s Audible is perhaps the most well-known audiobook service, with support for various devices and thousands of books available for your listening pleasure. You can try Audible for free for 30 days with one to two book credits to test the service before committing. Libro.fm is another audiobook service you can use that gives back by splitting profits from your payment with an independent bookstore of your choice. Last but not least, consider borrowing audiobooks from your local library or subscribing to a podcast that reads books every episode.

Get Audible for free for the first 30 days

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