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This was during South Korea's Fifth Republic, a military regime that entrenched its power through censorship, torture, and the murder of protesters. 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.
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"Highly recommended for readers passionate about activism or political history, or for those who are simply looking for an excellent comic book." ― SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, Starred Review
"From joyous mask dances to bored classrooms to tortuous jail cells, Ko affectingly captures Kim’s activist-as-a-young-student journey with an affecting resonance sure to inspire today’s youthful generation of tenacious changemakers." ― BOOKLIST, Starred Review
"The messages of hope are universal, as are the poignant reminders that change can happen when people are willing to speak up." ― PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, Starred Review
"A timely read about friendship amid chaos, how to fight oppression, and . . . what it means to consider oneself apolitical in a world where politics is everywhere." ― NPR
"Combining real-life political intrigue with an appealing cast, Banned Book Club is an exciting, thought-provoking graphic bildungsroman." ― FOREWORD REVIEWS
"A tribute to young people's resistance in the face of oppression." ― KIRKUS
"It’s hard to imagine a world where Banned Book Club could be more relevant than it is right now." ― A.V. CLUB
"Banned Book Club's power is in the fact that it’s about something that feels like it’s on our doorstep." ― COMICS BEAT
"Banned Book Club is the daring memoir that comes once a generation. There is nothing else like this on the bookshelves." ― BLACK NERD PROBLEMS--This text refers to the paperback edition.
About the Author
Kim Hyun Sook was born in Changwon, South Korea. She became a member of a banned book club in the 1980s while studying English Language and Literature. This is her first book. She has co-written comics for websites including The Nib and Oh Joy Sex Toy, and she translated Lady Rainicorn’s dialogue for Adventure Time comics. She now runs a new banned book club in Busan, where she lives with her husband, Ryan, and her cat, Dog Baby.
Ryan Estrada is the author of POORCRAFT: WISH YOU WERE HERE, Learn to Read Korean in 15 Minutes, Ryan Made Mistakes, Wish You Were Here, Broken Telephone, Aki Alliance, and many other comics. He started submitting his work to newspapers when he was six years old, and one of those very newspapers finally hired him when he was 16. He has had many adventures around the world since, but the best thing he ever did was marry Kim Hyun Sook.--This text refers to the paperback edition.
- ASIN : B0921B66XP
- Publisher : Iron Circus Comics (May 19, 2020)
- Publication date : May 19, 2020
- Language : English
- File size : 502294 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Not enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Not Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Not Enabled
- Print length : 199 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #667,913 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
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More than just being about Korea, though, it is about fighting for democracy; and not just the why, but also the how. I recommend this for anyone concerned about the highly divided current state of the world. If you're worried about the future, take solace in this true story of a group of friends that fought for democracy at a time darker than our own, and won.
This is the first graphic novel I've read in years, but when I sat down to thumb through a few pages before going to bed, I didn't move until I had finished the whole thing. Then I immediately opened up my computer to write this review.
I wouldn't recommend the book for kids, but it's great for loaning out to people. In fact I already purchased a second copy as a gift for someone I know will love it as well.
Following Kim Hyun Sook as she grew into herself and got deeper into the student movement against a violent and unfair government, first for her friends and then for herself, is inspiring.
I love how it definitely shows the darker side of things but doesn't make that the focus. It's not about the horrible things that were done. It's about the hope of the few in fighting for that they know is right.
I'm a fan of the art style in particular. The fact that it's simple and cartoony kept things from getting too hard and dark. I think life is hard and dark as it is and anyone interested in the more hardcore elements of the revolution can easily find them, but leaving that out of the story and making it all about the students and their experiences and emotions is a brilliant move on the artist's part.
When Kim Hyun Sook started college in 1983, she joined a book club. What she didn't know is that it was a subversive group and that joining it would put her in danger. She had friends stopped by the police and even arrested. Her parents owned a restaurant and had no idea what their daughter was doing. The student protests eventually led to leader changes and voting in South Korea.
I really liked this story of being young and naive, but wanting to make a difference. The danger and fear is real, but the story still has some light moments along the way. The art is really great. I really liked this story based on true events.
I received a review copy of this graphic novel from Iron Circus Comics in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this graphic novel.
History may be written by the victors and the select few, but I think we learn more from the people ;) Overall, a great historical/ political coming of age narrative.