This tongue-in-cheek image shows a black and red, literal book of matches — a nod to Banned Books Week.

What We’re Reading

There is a Book for Everyone

Plus new writing prompt: What’s your fav banned book, and why?

Adrienne Gibbs
The Medium Blog
Published in
3 min readOct 6, 2023

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Hi everybody,

Poet and author Samantha Lazar dropped a firecracker into the center of Medium when she posted a poem about banned books. Here’s the first stanza:

let’s all write the next banned books

let the words connect our hearts to rights

let all beings feel seen and understood

even those who’d strike the match-ignite

It’s a call to action for readers and writers alike as we consider the impact of reading freedoms around the world — especially in the U.S, which just celebrated Banned Books Week. After all, classics like J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, and The Color Purple by Alice Walker are routinely targeted for removal from libraries and schools.

Such books are written by the giants of storytelling. They canonize culture and history while also informing much of the writing you read here on Medium.

danah boyd, who researches the relationship between technology and society for Microsoft, revisited Ray Bradbury’s classic Fahrenheit 451 and wrote the following:

“Over the last two years, I’ve been intentionally purchasing and reading books that are banned. I wanted to re-read Fahrenheit 451 because of the contemporary resurgence of book banning. But in actually rereading this book, I couldn’t help but marinate on the entanglement between fears about screens, repression of knowledge, disgust towards children, and conflicted visions of happiness.”

Let’s take a poll. How many of you have read books by Sandra Cisneros, Judy Blume, Harper Lee, Richard Wright, Vladimir Nabokov, Lois Lowry, Gustave Flaubert, Stephen King, D.H. Lawrence, Maya Angelou, Khaled Hosseini, Roald Dahl, or John Steinbeck? What would your reading life be like without them?

To quote Levar Burton, now the spokesman for Banned Books Week: “Every book is not for everybody, but there is a book for everyone.”

What’s your favorite banned or challenged book? If you decide to write about it, tag me in the story to let me know or try adding your story to the “banned books” topic.

Adrienne Gibbs — Director, Creator Growth @ Medium

P.S. Did you read our stance on AI and your stories on Medium? CEO Tony Stubblebine addresses the issue here.

Your Weekend Reads

Image from Aasa T’s story on Dungeons & Dragons

New writer Aasa T goes deep into a thrilling D&D campaign but also notes there is work to be done to remove negative and false ideas about Tomb of Annihilation’s fantasy imagining of Africa.

Image from Daniel Rizea’s story, “5 Lessons on Career Growth From A Google Exec.)

Daniel Rizea, the Director of Engineering @Google, offers 5 Lessons on Career Growth From a Google Exec (Published in Entrepreneur’s Handbook)

Also, last week I asked you to submit your fictional or factual supernatural ghost stories or tales of horror by adding your piece to the tag “Ghoststories23.” You can read all those submissions here but I’ve pulled out some good pieces you can read ASAP!

A Demon is a Girl’s Best Friend by New York Times bestselling author Michele Bardsley

The Woman Whose Doppelgänger Got Her Fired by Kyrie Gray

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Adrienne Gibbs
The Medium Blog

Director of Content @Medium. Award-winning journalist. Featured in a Beyoncé reel. Before now? EBONY, Netflix, Sun-Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe.