Banned Book Club
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.

Banned Book Club Details

TitleBanned Book Club
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMay 19th, 2020
PublisherIron Circus Comics
ISBN-139781945820427
Rating
GenreSequential Art, Graphic Novels, Autobiography, Memoir, Nonfiction, Comics, Graphic Novels Comics, Historical, History, Writing, Books About Books, Biography Memoir, Cultural, Asia

Banned Book Club Review

  • Alexander Peterhans
    January 1, 1970
    It's 1983 in South Korea, and a brutal militaristic regime wields power. A group of university students hold secret meetings, where they discuss books that are forbidden by the regime and political news that is being suppressed. This means that they have to be careful of the secret service, who are constantly on the lookout for 'communists' and other subversives.Kim Hyun Sook is a freshman, who becomes a part of the group, first thinking they're a regular book club. She soon finds out how danger It's 1983 in South Korea, and a brutal militaristic regime wields power. A group of university students hold secret meetings, where they discuss books that are forbidden by the regime and political news that is being suppressed. This means that they have to be careful of the secret service, who are constantly on the lookout for 'communists' and other subversives.Kim Hyun Sook is a freshman, who becomes a part of the group, first thinking they're a regular book club. She soon finds out how dangerous the club is, but also how important these small acts of defiance are.So I had very little knowledge of the political situation in South Korea of the last 40 or so years. We only tend to reflect on North Korea, and this book makes clear how that is a mistake.It's actually quite shocking how close South Korea was to a authoritarian police state. It makes the book a riveting read.(Received a review copy through Edelweiss)
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  • Romie
    January 1, 1970
    Now THIS is a graphic memoir I want to put in everybody's hands. It's such an important one! It's important to learn about history, and not just about your own country's. It's important to learn about what happened and what is still going on in the world. This graphic memoir does this so brilliantly. It talks about fighting for democracy, fighting for what is right, fighting every single day because there's always something to work on. The fact that I also absolutely adored the art made this rea Now THIS is a graphic memoir I want to put in everybody's hands. It's such an important one! It's important to learn about history, and not just about your own country's. It's important to learn about what happened and what is still going on in the world. This graphic memoir does this so brilliantly. It talks about fighting for democracy, fighting for what is right, fighting every single day because there's always something to work on. The fact that I also absolutely adored the art made this reading experience even better. (4.25)
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  • Jen
    January 1, 1970
    Hi, I'm an ignorant American who was raised in the American public school system. I'm not dumb, and I try to learn on my own via reading books, magazine articles, web-based news (with a grain of salt) and watching various videos/documentaries online, but there are HUGE gaping holes in what I know. This graphic novel exposed one of those areas of lack of knowledge to me.I had NO IDEA that South Korea wasn't magically a democracy after the Korean War. I had no clue that there was a dictatorship an Hi, I'm an ignorant American who was raised in the American public school system. I'm not dumb, and I try to learn on my own via reading books, magazine articles, web-based news (with a grain of salt) and watching various videos/documentaries online, but there are HUGE gaping holes in what I know. This graphic novel exposed one of those areas of lack of knowledge to me.I had NO IDEA that South Korea wasn't magically a democracy after the Korean War. I had no clue that there was a dictatorship and that the people of South Korea had to fight and revolt for democracy. I just assumed they always were democratic after the war. You know what I think would be a good high school/college class? One about democracy around the world and how the people had to fight for it, and the places where they are still fighting for it. This book would be required reading for that class. Honestly, I think it should be required reading for all Americans in the school system. When I went to school at least, we didn't get a lot about other countries, at least, not that I remember. To be fair, that was a while ago. Also to be fair, I don't recall most of what I learned back then. Or at least I can't differentiate it from what I just "know" and don't know where I picked it up. Maybe from school, maybe from a book, who knows? So, back to the book. It was amazing and terrifying and I can't imagine living in fear of the Government and having to fight for basic rights like voting and reading what you want to read. Yes, America has it's issues, but I'm not afraid I'm going to be dragged to prison by the police, beaten to give up my friends and locked up without due process because I was seen reading 1984 or the Handmaid's Tale. America isn't perfect and it is always possible to go in the reverse re: human rights, but I think there are a lot of people who are extra vigilant about making sure we don't lose our rights, so we haven't back-slid to dystopia, yet. This book is a good way to keep us awake and aware and not take our rights for granted. Yes, they got violent. I'm not pro-violence at all, but I am not judging what they did to get the freedoms they deserved as human beings. I think they were immensely brave and they did things I don't know I would be able to do if I was in that situation. So thank you Kim Hyun Sook, for sharing this with the world. It needed to be said and shared and I am glad that I was able to read this book. This is one I will be recommending to everyone. 5, life isn't always how we think it is and sometimes we need to fight for it to be the way it should be, stars. My thanks to NetGalley and Letter Better Publishing Services/Iron Circus Comics for an eARC copy of this book to read and review.
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  • Rachel Hyland
    January 1, 1970
    I am ashamed to say I knew next to nothing about South Korean politics before reading this most excellent graphic novel -- just that once the nation was under the thumb of China, and that the US waged a war there in the 1950s, fighting against the communist regime in the north. It did not go well. But this account of the naive Hyun Sook, newly at university in 1983 and learning about her own nation's political travails for the first time, changed all of that. In just 200 or so short, informative I am ashamed to say I knew next to nothing about South Korean politics before reading this most excellent graphic novel -- just that once the nation was under the thumb of China, and that the US waged a war there in the 1950s, fighting against the communist regime in the north. It did not go well. But this account of the naive Hyun Sook, newly at university in 1983 and learning about her own nation's political travails for the first time, changed all of that. In just 200 or so short, informative pages, I experienced the highs and lows of discovery with her, as she and her new friends read books then-banned in their nation -- books like The Feminine Mystique and The Motorcycle Diaries, presumably disapproved of for their revolutionary concepts and/or authors -- risking imprisonment if caught. Completely fascinating, this is an important story about a tumultuous time, and is not only educational but is also ultimately uplifting. And kind of romantic, too.
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  • Kate (katereads13.blogspot.com)
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to Iron Circus Comic and Edelweiss for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.I loved this comic so much I swallowed it in one sitting. I'm always moved when authors take history and bring it to a level that people can easily read and understand. This story follows Hyun Sook as she leaves for college against her parents wishes. While at college, she gets sucked into a secret banned book club led by a group of student protestors.I appreciated everything about this book. The story reflec Thanks to Iron Circus Comic and Edelweiss for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.I loved this comic so much I swallowed it in one sitting. I'm always moved when authors take history and bring it to a level that people can easily read and understand. This story follows Hyun Sook as she leaves for college against her parents wishes. While at college, she gets sucked into a secret banned book club led by a group of student protestors.I appreciated everything about this book. The story reflects on South Korean struggles that the world is wholly unaware of. Each of the characters are real people whose actions lead to a change in the regime of S. Korea. I loved reading about them. They were truly inspiring and at the end I couldn't help but be moved by their actions.The comic is fasted paced, action packed and the art is stunning. This book needs to be used in schools to help students understand how fortunate they are. This was a 10/10 for me.
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  • Ryan
    January 1, 1970
    What a lovely way to experience history. This book takes multiple real life stories to give the reader a fictionalized “true” version of the protests in 1983 lead by college students. Most of it is the story of the author, but for privacy reason has changed many names and consolidated some stories.It all starts with the government banning certain literature. Particularly Western literature. Kim wants to read these stories. She wants to study literature. But her mother is not happy. She should be What a lovely way to experience history. This book takes multiple real life stories to give the reader a fictionalized “true” version of the protests in 1983 lead by college students. Most of it is the story of the author, but for privacy reason has changed many names and consolidated some stories.It all starts with the government banning certain literature. Particularly Western literature. Kim wants to read these stories. She wants to study literature. But her mother is not happy. She should be working and finding a husband. If anyone is going to go to school it should be her brother. But with help from dad, Kim goes to classes, and learns about things outside her little home world. While she loves to read she never realized that people could be thrown in jail for what they read. And for what they right. No one pressures her to join any resistance movement, they just say “hey why don’t you read what those in power don’t want us to read”. It’s eye opening. And while trying to stay neutral, she actually ends up joining protests, and helping lead more people to this literature that the government says is bad for people. I have to give snaps to the author for the ending. We never get a clear picture of what all happen. We follow Kim though her getting involved, and then jump to 2017 where she reunites with her friends in modern protest for their land and their government. The reader gets snippets of what the characters when through, like jail time, being teachers, evening staying involved in politics to make their world a better place.Overall I really enjoyed this story and learned quite a bit. There are parts that are a bit confusing, but I think that is from taking a long and varied history and converting it to graphic novel form. I think this book isn’t only interesting to read, but to discuss. I think it should appear on banned book lists, even if it itself has not been banned. It opens up a wider discussion on why people and governments police what others read.#BBRC #AuthenticVoice#ReaderHarder #journalism#GondorGirlGNChallenge.
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  • Rich in Color
    January 1, 1970
    Review copy: Digital ARC via EdelweissAs long as there have been books, there have been people trying to control them. In this graphic novel memoir, we’re able to see this in play during the 80s in South Korea. College students continued to read banned materials even when the consequences for being caught were quite grim.The story opens with a family argument. Hyun Sook’s mother does not understand why the college students, and her daughter specifically, feel that things need to be different. Sh Review copy: Digital ARC via EdelweissAs long as there have been books, there have been people trying to control them. In this graphic novel memoir, we’re able to see this in play during the 80s in South Korea. College students continued to read banned materials even when the consequences for being caught were quite grim.The story opens with a family argument. Hyun Sook’s mother does not understand why the college students, and her daughter specifically, feel that things need to be different. She characterizes protesting as complaining. The public in general has accepted that things are as they are and while not content, they are willing to keep the status quo in return for peace. Initially Hyun Sook really does seem to want to be at college to learn and has no interest in activism, resistance, or protest. She is alarmed by the defiance her peers are showing, but that soon changes.This is a timely book with activism and dissent as a central theme. Young people take learning into their own hands. When a government entity is telling you not to read something, it begs the questions, why? What does the government have to fear? And if they fear these books and words, they must be powerful.Hyun Sook’s story is compelling and hard to look away from so it reads really quickly. This would be an excellent book to pair with the 2017 movie A Taxi Driver which features the Gwangju incident mentioned in this story. I had recently watched the movie and it helped to have that context since Korean history is not taught very thoroughly (meaning not at all) in U.S. schools. For readers unfamiliar with this time in South Korea’s history, some of the details may be a little confusing, but even then, readers will still be able to follow the storyline.Recommendation: Banned Book Club has appeal for many, many readers. As a graphic novel memoir dealing with activism it’s sure to intrigue many. As a book celebrating the revolutionary act of reading, I’m guessing many book lovers will want to dive in. History fans will likely want to grab it too. And of course, those who keep asking for college aged characters may find this one to their liking. Get it soon!
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  • Tabrizia
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you Edelweiss and Iron Circus Comics for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.Such a powerful read! Really shows how reading can bring truth and light when their is paranoia and fear. I learned so much about South Korean history from reading this memoir and I want to learn more about it. This story also shows how history has a chance of repeating itself. However, when people ban together to overcome that obstacle, the history's trajectory can be changed.
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  • delph ✨
    January 1, 1970
    Find my full review on my blog: hereAn e-ARC was provided by the publisher through Edelweiss+ in exchange of an honest review. This does not effect my opinion in any way.There are a bunch of book I want people to read. First, the books I love so much and mean everything to me. Then, books like BANNED BOOK CLUB. I mean, it’s not my favorite book ever but it’s a book everybody should read because it’s an important one, because we should know more about history and what happened even if it didn’t h Find my full review on my blog: hereAn e-ARC was provided by the publisher through Edelweiss+ in exchange of an honest review. This does not effect my opinion in any way.There are a bunch of book I want people to read. First, the books I love so much and mean everything to me. Then, books like BANNED BOOK CLUB. I mean, it’s not my favorite book ever but it’s a book everybody should read because it’s an important one, because we should know more about history and what happened even if it didn’t happen in our country.To be perfectly honest, I’m not smart. I also believe that I’m pretty dumb too. So yeah, dumb and not smart. Basically, an idiot. That’s why I’m always so grateful to all the writers — especially writers of color — who write about their story, their marginalization, their country’s story. Because I want to know more, to learn more and finally feel like I’m not the dumbest in the neighborhood. And that’s why I’m so grateful I got the chance to read BANNED BOOK CLUB. It is such an important read.BANNED BOOK CLUB is the story of Kim Hyun Sook who joined colleges after receiving a scholarship and ends up joining a book club — the banned book club. And if at first she didn’t want to have anything about it, she stayed and understood what it means to fight for her country, to fight for freedom.Diversity tag: all korean characters cast, side f/f relationship, korean authors, ownvoices.Trigger/Content Warnings: torture, violence, rape/sexual assault (implied)
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  • Emily
    January 1, 1970
    A quick but very affective read! Banned Book Club is a manhwa (Korean comic) memoir following Kim Hyun Sook, who began attending university in South Korea in 1983 intending to stick to studying, but got drawn into political protest through a banned book club instead.Not knowing much about Korean history, all of the events contained in this book were new to me, but the authors did a great job of explaining the key points to understand the plot. The Korean political climate as shown here reminded A quick but very affective read! Banned Book Club is a manhwa (Korean comic) memoir following Kim Hyun Sook, who began attending university in South Korea in 1983 intending to stick to studying, but got drawn into political protest through a banned book club instead.Not knowing much about Korean history, all of the events contained in this book were new to me, but the authors did a great job of explaining the key points to understand the plot. The Korean political climate as shown here reminded me a lot of the stories of the 1960's in the U.S.; I was specifically reminded of The Strawberry Statement. I really appreciated the attitude of all the Banned Book Club members, who understand that protesting is dangerous but remain upbeat about their purpose. Knowledge is the enemy of authoritarianism, and censorship is its tool. "How can [President] Chun trick everyone? How do people not see what's happening?""He doesn't care if we believe him or not. He created such a divide between the people who believe his lies and those who don't that the country is too torn apart to come together and properly oppose him." Banned Book Club is a timely narrative with important themes of resistance and hope.TW: police brutality, off-page rape, tortureAll quotes come from an advance copy and may not match the final release. Thank you so much to the publisher for providing me with this eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!
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  • Mo
    January 1, 1970
    ARC given by NetGalley for Honest ReviewBanned Book Club is definitely a story of our time while being told about the past. In the political climate of today's world this is an incredible look back to a time of censorship and fascism in Korea. Hyun Sook is invited to join a banned book club and while apprehensive at first she realizes over time that being apathetic about politics can be more detrimental than not. Her and her friends use her colleges tools and clubs as means to secretly defy the ARC given by NetGalley for Honest ReviewBanned Book Club is definitely a story of our time while being told about the past. In the political climate of today's world this is an incredible look back to a time of censorship and fascism in Korea. Hyun Sook is invited to join a banned book club and while apprehensive at first she realizes over time that being apathetic about politics can be more detrimental than not. Her and her friends use her colleges tools and clubs as means to secretly defy the government while hoping not to get caught. This story discusses things like corporal punishment (we see Officer Ok beating boys for information), rape (also committed by Officers), and women's rights. While this story went by quickly in my opinion, it's refreshing to see people continuing to write about corrupt government as an act of defiance against them. Hyun Sook delivers a beautiful monologue at the end, telling her younger self not to give up hope and to continue to fight. That there will always be corruption and progress isn't always linear but it will always get better. If there is one thing you can take away from this story it would be ...read banned books! Can't wait for the pub date to come so I can add this to my personal and professional collection!
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  • Tory
    January 1, 1970
    DANG I had no idea this shizz was going on in South Korea! I thought they were the SANE Korea! So, very historically enlightening, but I apparently do not like manga style. Gave it a shot and it bothered me the whole time. BUT I learned a lot!
  • Tanya
    January 1, 1970
    I think the title confused me about what this graphic novel was supposed to be about. After getting past 94 pages I began to see the story take shape and form. I'm happy with the end result. I really liked this true story and am glad to be educated about this aspect of Korean history.
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  • Kate
    January 1, 1970
    A great blend of manga, history, and political protests! Also, a great book to kick off September with since Banned Book Week is later this month.
  • Janis Kay
    January 1, 1970
    This was thrilling. I know almost nothing about South Korean history, save for the general stuff, and this has me itching to learn more about this crucial time period in their history. I generally new that student protests were commonplace back then, but I never knew that the South Korea that we know had a very uphill battle towards the democracy that they have now. Kim Hyun Sook is just your average university student when she gets swept up in a tidal force that helped shape her country into wh This was thrilling. I know almost nothing about South Korean history, save for the general stuff, and this has me itching to learn more about this crucial time period in their history. I generally new that student protests were commonplace back then, but I never knew that the South Korea that we know had a very uphill battle towards the democracy that they have now. Kim Hyun Sook is just your average university student when she gets swept up in a tidal force that helped shape her country into what it is now. Seriously, everyone should read this. The ending was very inspiring in that the message for everyone is that there is no end -being politically active/involved (no matter how much or little) needs to be a constant and not a phase. "Every vote counts." For Librarians & Teachers: Readers can definitely draw correlations to other countries who had similar political atmospheres during and prior to the Cold War era. This can be used as a text in a politics, history, socio-cultural, or even a literature class. There is so much that can be drawn from this. Absolutely fascinating and I'm eager to see more! Definitely recommend for purchase.**I received a copy of this book from Edelweiss+ for an honest review. I'm a Teen/Young Adult librarian in a public library and much of this review was taken from the one I submitted to Edelweiss.**
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  • M.L. Little
    January 1, 1970
    @kidlitexchange Partner: Banned Book Club by @ironcircus and @ryanestradadotcom. Releases TODAY! Happy book birthday! 📚 🎂 Banned Book Club is an autobiographical graphic novel (I’ve always loved that concept) by Kim Hyon Sook. Suitable for high school or college students, Banned Book Club describes Hyon Sook’s experiences as a college student during President Chun’s era in South Korea. A literature student, Hyon Sook quickly found herself swept up into the political fervor of college, joining a @kidlitexchange Partner: Banned Book Club by @ironcircus and @ryanestradadotcom. Releases TODAY! Happy book birthday! 📚 🎂 Banned Book Club is an autobiographical graphic novel (I’ve always loved that concept) by Kim Hyon Sook. Suitable for high school or college students, Banned Book Club describes Hyon Sook’s experiences as a college student during President Chun’s era in South Korea. A literature student, Hyon Sook quickly found herself swept up into the political fervor of college, joining a club of friends who read material banned by the South Korea government. In the shadow of North Korea, the southern alternative has always seemed pretty sweet to me, but its history is far from it! It has a dark and troubled past, which I honestly didn’t even know about before this book. Reading it led me to looking up more about South Korea in the 80s and studying the difference between Communism and Facism. The simple black and white art work in this book complements the storyline perfectly, though there were a few instances where I couldn’t tell quite what was going on. This amazing book releases TODAY! Go get a copy! Thanks @kidlitexchange for the review copy—all opinions are my own.
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  • Wayne McCoy
    January 1, 1970
    'Banned Book Club' by Kim Hyun Sook and Ryan Estrada with art by Hyung-Ju Ko is a biographical graphic novel about a college student in Korea in the early 1980s.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 'Banned Book Club' by Kim Hyun Sook and Ryan Estrada with art by Hyung-Ju Ko is a biographical graphic novel about a college student in Korea in the early 1980s.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.
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  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    This book takes a look at the corruption in South Korea in the 1980s, when the author was in college. Based on her life, but with peoples experiences and names moved around and mixed up, we get a good idea about what was going on in those times.Yum Sook joins a banned book club, because reading banned books gives you a good idea what the authorities don’t want you to read about. This looks at one year of her life, int he group, and what they’d I’d with their time, and how they help protests. At This book takes a look at the corruption in South Korea in the 1980s, when the author was in college. Based on her life, but with peoples experiences and names moved around and mixed up, we get a good idea about what was going on in those times.Yum Sook joins a banned book club, because reading banned books gives you a good idea what the authorities don’t want you to read about. This looks at one year of her life, int he group, and what they’d I’d with their time, and how they help protests. At first Hyundai Sook looks as though she is terribly naive, and you fear for her safety, but then she turns things around and shows that she doesn’t take no guff.Engaging story.
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  • Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
    January 1, 1970
    Banned Book Club by Kim Hyun Sook and Ryan Estrada, 197 pages. GRAPHIC NOVEL. Iron Circus Comics, 2020. $15.Language: PG (2 swears, 0 “f”); Mature Content: PG13; Violence: PG13BUYING ADVISORY: HS - ADVISABLEAUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGEAll Hyun Sook wants is to go to college and continue her education. With protests all over the campus, her mom tries to get her to stay home by saying it’s too dangerous to go. Nevertheless, Hyun Sook enrolls in classes and even looks into extracurricular activities -- Banned Book Club by Kim Hyun Sook and Ryan Estrada, 197 pages. GRAPHIC NOVEL. Iron Circus Comics, 2020. $15.Language: PG (2 swears, 0 “f”); Mature Content: PG13; Violence: PG13BUYING ADVISORY: HS - ADVISABLEAUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGEAll Hyun Sook wants is to go to college and continue her education. With protests all over the campus, her mom tries to get her to stay home by saying it’s too dangerous to go. Nevertheless, Hyun Sook enrolls in classes and even looks into extracurricular activities -- only a week into classes, she finds the most important lessons outside the classroom.While the story is based on true events during South Korea’s military regime in the 1980s, there is relevance to our own politically-charged environment. As Hyun Sook starts to learn about what the political leaders are doing in her time and what her opinions are, readers feel encouraged to know both the issues and the stances of leaders meant to represent them. Kim does a great job of balancing humor and the seriousness of what went on during the time period this is set in. The mature content rating is for partial nudity and implied rape, and the violence rating is for Molotov cocktails, protest violence, and beatings.Reviewer: Carolina Herdegenhttps://kissthebook.blogspot.com/2020...
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  • Lanica
    January 1, 1970
    This is a strong historical memoir of a girl trying to keep her head down and get a university education in a Korea that does not value women or free-thinkers, and seemingly torn apart by riots. Pulled in two different directions by her traditional mother and her new school friends she must step carefully as she follows a path that leads to a more democratic Korea. This is a Young Adult title, with talk and images of torture and hints of rape as a form of torture. This is not a book for everyone This is a strong historical memoir of a girl trying to keep her head down and get a university education in a Korea that does not value women or free-thinkers, and seemingly torn apart by riots. Pulled in two different directions by her traditional mother and her new school friends she must step carefully as she follows a path that leads to a more democratic Korea. This is a Young Adult title, with talk and images of torture and hints of rape as a form of torture. This is not a book for everyone, but to the right audience, it is a perfect addition to a liberal arts library, or to expand an inclusive world-view collection. I would not put it in a middle or elementary school library - it has mature themes on more than on occasion. Librarians should read this book for themselves before deciding to put it in their collections. As a graphic novel, I found it a bit confusing because there were not enough differentiation between some of the characters in the early chapters. There were a lot of characters introduced very quickly and I found the personalities as well as the physicalities hard to distinguish. Once the main events started to happen I found myself looking back to the introductory pages to see which character was involved. The black and white drawings did not help add detail, although it did compliment the 'historical' feel of the book. As for the plot and storytelling: I wanted more detail about the parents, but that was simple and sort of thrown away. I wanted to see what happened with the professor, but it was never resolved. I wanted to know the actual facts of some of the time between the memories and the reunion - and the final chapter seemed a bit too simple for the excellent story detail and tension in the rest of the book. It seemed too quick, with not enough purpose. I left the book feeling a bit let down - as if I had been rushed out the door after an excellent lecture.
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  • Montgomery Pierce
    January 1, 1970
    This was a fantastic, quick read that packed a lot into the short story that it told. We don't often see stories about South Korea, specifically like those that Kim Hyun Sook has told, and though this is a story that comes from the tumultuousness of 1980's South Korea, there is so much to learn and absorb from Huyn Sook's time at college, the themes of anti-establishment, the conversations surrounding the banning of books or the limiting of the kinds of books we're allowing people to read. These This was a fantastic, quick read that packed a lot into the short story that it told. We don't often see stories about South Korea, specifically like those that Kim Hyun Sook has told, and though this is a story that comes from the tumultuousness of 1980's South Korea, there is so much to learn and absorb from Huyn Sook's time at college, the themes of anti-establishment, the conversations surrounding the banning of books or the limiting of the kinds of books we're allowing people to read. These are things that even today, we're very familiar with, and contesting today, in the case of authoritarian regimes, strict military states, and the control of information. While this book deals with what is arguably heavy, and hard-hitting topics, Banned Book Club is a good starting point, especially for young readers, to learn more about the politics and history of South Korea. The art style is also incredibly cute, which I think helps make it a little more accessible.
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  • Jacolise
    January 1, 1970
    I was given an ARC of this Graphic Novel by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.This was an interesting read about how a group of students stood up against an unjust and corrupted government. A government aimed at keeping their population ignorant and under their thumb. Where people in power, even teachers, abused it. How parents can be fearful of new opportunities for their kids that they did not have. How encouragement can shape a child's future. How friendship and a sense of community I was given an ARC of this Graphic Novel by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.This was an interesting read about how a group of students stood up against an unjust and corrupted government. A government aimed at keeping their population ignorant and under their thumb. Where people in power, even teachers, abused it. How parents can be fearful of new opportunities for their kids that they did not have. How encouragement can shape a child's future. How friendship and a sense of community can break down walls. How the younger generation needs to have a voice to invoke change. It offers and easy to read history lesson for people who need graphics to make things more interesting and understandable. As someone who does not read graphic novels often, I really enjoyed this and will be looking into the genre more often.
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  • Erikka
    January 1, 1970
    With beautiful art and a compelling story, I learned so much about the protests for freedom in South Korea. Compared to their northern neighbors, SK always seems like such a delightful and progressive place, but this story showed me that they also have struggles and challenges, rights to fight for and battles to wage. It makes me feel better about my own screwed up country to know that other high profile and wealthy nations have issues, too. Hyun Sook does a great job telling her own story witho With beautiful art and a compelling story, I learned so much about the protests for freedom in South Korea. Compared to their northern neighbors, SK always seems like such a delightful and progressive place, but this story showed me that they also have struggles and challenges, rights to fight for and battles to wage. It makes me feel better about my own screwed up country to know that other high profile and wealthy nations have issues, too. Hyun Sook does a great job telling her own story without making herself sound perfect. She's flawed and that honesty makes her relatable. I also like how well she developed her friends in such a limited amount of pages. It made me want them to be successful in all their endeavors.
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  • Julia
    January 1, 1970
    I started college in 1982, one year before Kim Hyun Sook. Our college experiences were totally different. On the other side of the world, she was working with fellow students to effect change in her country. Her story is amazing. The narrative was interesting and fast paced. I finished the book in a little over an hour. There is so much I never knew about the political situation in South Korea. This book really opened my eyes to a world so different from my own. It is a must-read, and I highly r I started college in 1982, one year before Kim Hyun Sook. Our college experiences were totally different. On the other side of the world, she was working with fellow students to effect change in her country. Her story is amazing. The narrative was interesting and fast paced. I finished the book in a little over an hour. There is so much I never knew about the political situation in South Korea. This book really opened my eyes to a world so different from my own. It is a must-read, and I highly recommend it.I received a free review copy from Edelweiss in exchange for my honest opinion.
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  • Carrie
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you Netgalley and Iron Circus Comics for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review!Banned Book Club opens on Kim Hyun Sook who starts college in South Korea back in 1983. She’s a headstrong young woman who constantly butts heads with her much more traditional mother, who isn’t even fully onboard with her daughter going to college. But Kim is a determined girl who is ready for her life to change and for her world to start to open up. College will the be catalyst for that and she’s b Thank you Netgalley and Iron Circus Comics for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review!Banned Book Club opens on Kim Hyun Sook who starts college in South Korea back in 1983. She’s a headstrong young woman who constantly butts heads with her much more traditional mother, who isn’t even fully onboard with her daughter going to college. But Kim is a determined girl who is ready for her life to change and for her world to start to open up. College will the be catalyst for that and she’s been ready. For two years, while working at her family’s restaurant, she saved up her own money working another job and applied for school in secret to make it happen.With a love of reading in her heart, she leaves home and jumps on a bus to her university to study Western Literature…she’s ready to be the captain of her own ship. The first steps off the bus, she finds herself smack in the middle of a student protest. The protest outside the university’s gates is complete with Molotov cocktails, riot gear clad authorities, and folks being arrested.The artist, Ko Hyung-Ju, illustrates the adventures of Kim Hyun Sook and her ragtag band of friends effortlessly. Banned Book Club visually shines with a stark, black and white color scheme. What comes across the best are the emotions. We see nervous smiles on faces of girls entering bookstores looking for forbidden, banned books, the look of fear echoed in someone’s eyes when a government authority turns their sly grin their way in an interrogation room.The fast pacing of the book is enhanced by Hyung-Ju’s art with big, bold action sequences. Grittiness and softness both have their place in this narrative across the pages. That Ko Hyung-Ju? He has THE RANGE. I’ve always loved manwha, often placed second to Japanese Manga for years. This is a great representation of it to share with someone who is looking to get a start in reading it.There is this wonderful thread in the narrative on art, on literature and the political nature of it all. My friends, let me assure you it is one of the best turning points for both Kim Hyun Sook and the reader. Our girl just wants to exist, and moreso try her hand at making a life for herself. We can’t fault her. So she reads her assignments, goes to her classes, joins a club, and tries to keep up. Yet at every turn, she is hella surprised when she is confronted with the fact that nothing is apolitical — from the tried and true plays of William Shakespeare to more traditional Korean art forms like the stories connected to Korean mask dances. It is a startling turning point for Kim Hyun Sook and a brilliant reminder for the reader as we can all turn a critical eye to all the media we consume now. From fairy tales and folklore from days of old to AAA video games we buy and heatedly discuss and debate on the internet. Read more here: https://blacknerdproblems.com/review-...
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  • shalawilput
    January 1, 1970
    Many thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for providing me with a free DRC in exchange for an honest review.Ok. Let’s first just talk about the front cover and the title. The bookworm in me could not resist. When I read the summary I was intrigued. However, I must admit before reading this amazing graphic novel I knew very little about South Korean politics. This nonfiction tale follows Hyun Sook as she leaves home to pursue her dream of attending college, against her mother’s wishes. After arr Many thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for providing me with a free DRC in exchange for an honest review.Ok. Let’s first just talk about the front cover and the title. The bookworm in me could not resist. When I read the summary I was intrigued. However, I must admit before reading this amazing graphic novel I knew very little about South Korean politics. This nonfiction tale follows Hyun Sook as she leaves home to pursue her dream of attending college, against her mother’s wishes. After arriving at college she quickly realizes that the atmosphere and environment isn’t quite what she had envisioned. Although she tried to stay away from the student protestors, it became increasingly clear that wasn’t going to be possible. So Hyun joined the school book club in hopes of reading some of her favorite western literature. Unbeknownst to her she had just joined a book club that was ran by student protesters who read and discussed books that had been banned by the government. Initially terrified of what she had gotten herself into, Hyun soon learned that the protestors weren’t yelling to just cause a ruckus. They truly had something to say and deserved to be heard. In this realization she decided, she wanted to be on the frontlines to help ensure they were heard by the masses.“So you gotta wonder. Do they ban books because they see danger in their authors, or because they see themselves in their villains?” I highly recommend this novel for any collection. It truly is an amazing non-fiction graphic novel. The art, done in all black and white, made this an even more enjoyable reading experience. As I said in the beginning I went into this book with little to no knowledge on this subject but I left it feeling much more informed. Although this did not happen in the United States, it is still important to have knowledge about history outside of your own. Not to mention, what everyone can relate to in this novel no matter the country for which you live, is to fight for what is right and never stop believing in progress. “Progress is not a straight line never take it for granted.”
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  • Camille Oquendo
    January 1, 1970
    Based on a true story, Banned Book Club tells of Kim Hyun Sook, a South Korean woman who finds herself joining an underground banned book club in the 1980's. During this time, the political climate in South Korea consisted of a corrupt government that banned Western literature and a military regime that obtained power through censoring, torturing and murdering protesters that were involved in consuming such content.We see Sook come into college with the mindset that she's only there to study, le Based on a true story, Banned Book Club tells of Kim Hyun Sook, a South Korean woman who finds herself joining an underground banned book club in the 1980's. During this time, the political climate in South Korea consisted of a corrupt government that banned Western literature and a military regime that obtained power through censoring, torturing and murdering protesters that were involved in consuming such content.We see Sook come into college with the mindset that she's only there to study, learn and read. Soon enough, she finds out that it's not all that simple as she's exposed to the realities of the environment she's around. I enjoyed seeing her growth. In the beginning, she starts off closed off and blinded to the ideologies of the protesters and members of the BBC but as she uncovers and finds out the truth, she understands the power of having a voice, taking action and being part of something revolutionary.The book brings up a great discussion about censorship-- Why do people ban books? Is it purely because of the content? Do they see danger in the authors that create the content? Or is it because there's a possibility that they see themselves in the "villains" or characters of the story and they're too ashamed to admit it? I loved the ending message. Progress isn't just a straight shot. It's filled with twists and turns but in the end, that doesn't mean we should stop fighting for what's right. My only gripe with this book is that it moved too fast for me, in a way that felt as if I was missing information. There were so many characters thrown at once that it felt hard for me to distinguish between each of them at times. It's not easy to condense history and real-life events into a certain format, especially in graphic novel form so it's understandable.Although marketed as YA, I would definitely recommend this book for adults who enjoy reading nonfiction graphic novel memoirs as well. I think this book would also be great reading material for Banned Book Week.Thank you to Netgalley and Letter Better Publishing Services for providing me an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • lavende
    January 1, 1970
    I watched a K-Drama recently and in it, a reference was made to a shift that happened to the country in the 1980s, more specifically, a positive one praising the economic prosperity of the time. Naively, I assumed that by that time, South Korea would have been free from more grave human rights infractions and political censorship as such things would impact the quality of life in the country negatively, which would perhaps logically result in a less glorified retrospective of this time in a cont I watched a K-Drama recently and in it, a reference was made to a shift that happened to the country in the 1980s, more specifically, a positive one praising the economic prosperity of the time. Naively, I assumed that by that time, South Korea would have been free from more grave human rights infractions and political censorship as such things would impact the quality of life in the country negatively, which would perhaps logically result in a less glorified retrospective of this time in a contemporary TV show? But I have to admit that my grasp of (South) Korean history is relatively loose, so I am not entirely surprised that I was able to learn something new from this graphic novel. The story follows a group of university students involved in the resistance against the autocratic regime in the years from 1983 to 1987, with a brief flash-forward into 2016. The story is relatively short and it's not really written to completely connect with all of the characters, but the artstyle is pleasant to read and it has some pretty funny moments. It is definitely relevant today and the author adresses this with some self-reflection at the end, so I would recommend it to anyone who has an hour or two to spare and wants a look into this vignette of South Korean history.
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  • Kate Waggoner
    January 1, 1970
    @KidlitexchangeThank you to @ironcircus and @ryanestradadotcom for sharing an advance copy of the young adult graphic novel Banned Book Club by Kim Hyun Sook with the #kidlitexchange network. This book will be published on February 18, 2020. All opinions are my own. It's 1983 and Kim Hyun Sook is a freshman at university in South Korea during the regime of the Fifth Republic. It is a period of censorship, torture, and the murder of protesters. She finds refuge in reading and joins a book club af @KidlitexchangeThank you to @ironcircus and @ryanestradadotcom for sharing an advance copy of the young adult graphic novel Banned Book Club by Kim Hyun Sook with the #kidlitexchange network. This book will be published on February 18, 2020. All opinions are my own. It's 1983 and Kim Hyun Sook is a freshman at university in South Korea during the regime of the Fifth Republic. It is a period of censorship, torture, and the murder of protesters. She finds refuge in reading and joins a book club after being invited by handsome classmate. She's excited for the opportunity to talk about classics like Moby Dick and Shakespeare, but quickly discovers that she is the newest member of a banned book club. Her world is dramatically changed as she begins to realize that her country is under the power of a totalitarian regime and the world around her is overshadowed by fear and violence. This is a powerful memoir and true story about political division, fear mongering, the fall of democratic institutions, and the power of rebellion and reading. I found this to be an incredibly inspirational read. The graphic novel structure of the book allows the reader to become fully immersed in the world. I don't know much about the history or politics of South Korea, so I found this book to be very interesting. I believe it's incredibly important to learn about the past, not only of your own country, but also of others. This book shares powerful messages about the dangers of censorship, totalitarianism, and the division of a population as well as the power of reading, knowledge, and unity. This would be an excellent suggestion for readers interested in history or politics. Due to the political nature of the novel, I would recommend it to high school readers and up.
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  • Ann
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to the publisher for a providing me with a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Kim Hyun Sook is starting college in 1983 in South Korea, and her life is about to change. An innocent-sounding ‘Book Club’ is actually a group of rebel activists determined to change South Korea. Though she knows the dangers of getting involved, it soon becomes clear what the stakes are, and she knows that she has to do something. This brave graphic novel is a remarkable litt Thanks to the publisher for a providing me with a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Kim Hyun Sook is starting college in 1983 in South Korea, and her life is about to change. An innocent-sounding ‘Book Club’ is actually a group of rebel activists determined to change South Korea. Though she knows the dangers of getting involved, it soon becomes clear what the stakes are, and she knows that she has to do something. This brave graphic novel is a remarkable little book. The story it tells is revolutionary and dangerous and sometimes scary, especially when you think that the events conveyed really happened. It’s not light-hearted, but it has so very, very much heart and determination. The tense atmosphere screams off the page. I was breathless to read the story and finish it from beginning to end. I do think that it’s an important story, a well-told story, and a bigger story than what’s just held in the pages. It’s so interesting to see it told in graphic novel format as well. This is definitely one to pick up and read, and it’s one that I would even encourage teens to read.
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