You Can’t Read That! is a periodic post about book banning. YCRT! features news and opinion roundups, commentary, history, and reviews.
YCRT! Featured Site
The Banned Book Club
Unbanning every book in America to spread knowledge, one book at a time.
— YCRT! comment: There's an app!
YCRT! News & Opinion Roundup
Goodreads Was the Future of Book Reviews. Then Amazon Bought It. (Washington Post/paywalled)
Goodreads — an Amazon-owned review site beloved by the bookish — has grown beleaguered. The site is built on outdated technological infrastructure, which made the cost of overhauling and updating it a challenge that was ultimately not worth it for the e-commerce giant, according to former employees who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters. Meanwhile, limited manual content moderation and a lack of protective features allow users to engage in targeted harassment known as “review bombing” — behavior that has resulted in the cancellation of books and their authors.
— YCRT! comment: I've published hundreds of book reviews on Goodreads. I use the site almost daily and find it very useful, as do thousands of other members. Outdated how? Because it doesn't look like Snapchat? The website's a piece of cake to navigate and there are even apps for tablets and mobile phones. As for canceling authors and books by flooding reviews with 1-star ratings, I looked up a title in the cross-hairs of the book-banning crowd, Gender Queer, on both Amazon and Goodreads. On Amazon, 7% of review rankings are 1-star. On Goodreads, only 2% are 1-star. If review bombing's a problem, it seems Goodreads is doing a better job of managing it than Amazon.
Montana State Library Withdraws from National Library Group over President’s ‘Marxist Lesbian’ Comment (NBC)
The Montana State Library Commission voted Tuesday to leave the American Library Association, the oldest and largest library association in the world, because the ALA’s president described herself as a “Marxist lesbian” in a social media post last year.
Red States Simplify Matters, Burn Down All the Libraries (Wonkette)
Whenever some libertarian idiot comes up with a nifty plan to do away with public libraries because can't people just use Amazon, it always evokes stories from people who, as kids, found solace in libraries, where nobody was yelling at them or telling them they were garbage, where they found books that depicted other people like them and gave them some inkling that they weren't alone and that reading was a way to connect with other people across time and space.
"Me and Earl" and the Book-Banning Girls (Deadline)
Last week, Moms For Liberty — a conservative group that describes itself as “fighting for the survival of America” — got my book and four others banned from the school library system of Leon County, Florida. This barely registers as news to me at this point. For the last two years, a national movement of right-wing activists has been busily bleaching the bookshelves of hundreds of books they’ve targeted as unfit for teenagers to read. My novel has been banned dozens of times and challenged dozens more; I don’t see this ending anytime soon.
Australian Classification Board Rejects Calls to Restrict Graphic Novel Gender Queer (The Guardian)
In an opinion released on Thursday, the review board said ... “the content of the publication is justified in context, is appropriate for its intended audience of people who are interested in the author or interested in the subjects of gender identity and asexuality, and has a positive tone and character as well as many layers of positive messaging.”
— YCRT! review: Gender Queer
How New Tactics Have Driven a Spike in Book Ban Attempts (The Hill)
Over the past three years, there has been a shift toward “far more organized and purposeful challenges that are being organized in online spaces,” said David. And there is no question that social media has played a major role in how conservative parent groups communicate regarding books they want to remove from school libraries, according to Christopher Finan, executive director of the National Coalition Against Censorship. PEN America, which keeps track of book challenges, has noted that Facebook is one of the primary platforms where lists of to-be-challenged books are shared.
Librarians Train to Defend Intellectual Freedom and Fight Book Bans at Chicago Conference (AP News)
School librarian Jamie Gregory has been called a “pedophile” and “groomer,” bombarded with private messages threatening harm, accused of distributing pornography in schools, and had her personal address posted on social media. She takes it on the chin. “I’m just not going to quit. I’m not going to let them call me that, especially when I’ve worked my whole entire life to get to where I am,” said Gregory, who was named the 2022 South Carolina school librarian of the year.
A New Texas Law Forces Vendors to Rate Sexual Content in Schoolbooks. They’re Not Happy about It. (CNN)
“It is ridiculous to think that there is a cabal within the community of booksellers and educators who are hoping, who work under cover of darkness, to present sexually explicit material to young people,” Bailey said. “That is absolutely wrong.”
YCRT! Behind Enemy Lines
Wyoming Library Board Passes Strong Policy to Keep Obscene Books OUT! (Mass Resistance)
At the Campbell County Public Library system in Wyoming, the Library Director and staff are leftists. But the obscene, pornographic books for children and teenagers they had placed in the library are now on their way out!
Pima County (AZ) Republicans Join Parents Protesting Tucson Drag Queen Story Hour (Tennessee Star)
Tucson parents and members of The Bridge Church were joined by members of the Pima County Republican Party on Sunday to protest a drag queen story hour held at Bookmans, who called the event one of its “most popular childhood literacy events” in its promotional materials. This drag queen story hour appears to have been postponed since March when the store blamed a “harassment campaign” that was “spearheaded by The Bridge Church” and conservative men’s group the Proud Boys for sparking security concerns.
YCRT! Social Media Roundup