MSNBC’s Ali Velshi brings you the “Velshi Banned Book Club,” an act of resistance against the epidemic of book banning. In each episode, a different author of a...
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BONUS: How to Win 2024: The “Kiddie Table” Debate
Debate guru Ron Klain joins Claire McCaskill and Jennifer Palmieri on their new podcast “How to Win 2024” to discuss the winners and losers of the 2nd GOP debate and what it could mean for President Biden’s re-election campaign. Plus, the House Republicans’ impeachment effort that voters want nothing to do with. Listen each week and click here to follow the show.
There is a persistent and damaging sexist trope that books written by women and for women are frivolous, light, and devoid of true meaning. On this episode of Velshi Banned Book Club Podcast we subvert that narrative with two powerful “chick-lit” books that have equally important messages: "Ready or Not" by Meg Cabot and “Speak” by Laurie Halse Anderson. “Ready or Not” focuses on high schoolers grappling with the magnitude of sex and consent. “Speak” poignantly explores the immediate aftermath and emotional repercussions of sexual assault.
The Latino Identity in Literature
Latino representation in the literary and publishing community is startlingly low -- a survey conducted by Lee & Low Books and Boston University in 2020, found that a mere 6% of publishers identify as Latino. There are just a few books for such a large and diverse group – the quickest growing population in America. Both “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe” by Benjamin Alire Sáenz and “Out of Darkness” by Ashley Hope Pérez explore what it means to be Latino. Both books are also poignant love stories: "Aristotle and Dante” is a lyrically written depiction of first LGBTQ+ love, while “Out of Darkness” is, ultimately, an honest and brutal look at racism and sexism in the 1930s.
Reexamining and Reframing U.S. History with Nikole Hannah-Jones
“The 1619 Project”, named for the year the first enslaved African people arrived on the shores of Virginia, began as an editorial franchise for the New York Times. Since its inception, “The 1619 Project” has faced sharp criticism and relentless calls for its ban -- from school libraries, state Senates, and even from the White House. “The 1619 Project” encapsulates exactly why the books featured on Velshi Banned Book Club are targeted each and every day -- then adds footnotes and an extensive list of distinguished peer reviewers. It represents change that is not just coming – change that is already here.
Using Literature to Grapple with School Shootings
School shootings can feel inescapable -- especially if you're an American. Authors Jodi Picoult and Todd Strasser grapple with school shootings through literature. Picoult’s “Nineteen Minutes” is told from a place of healing. The reader is not asked to feel compassion for the shooter, but the story lays bare the bullying, taunts, and complicated family dynamics that help to explain the “why”. “Give a Boy a Gun” by Todd Strasser was initially published in 2000 – just one year after the Columbine High School massacre. It was one of the first works of fiction to look at the new reality that followed after Columbine: a world where students can die in their classrooms. It is also one of the few books on this topic written specifically for a young adult audience.
MSNBC’s Ali Velshi brings you the “Velshi Banned Book Club,” an act of resistance against the epidemic of book banning. In each episode, a different author of a banned book joins Ali—including Margaret Atwood, Nikole Hannah-Jones, Laurie Halse Anderson, and more—to talk about why their work is being targeted and about the literature itself. “Velshi Banned Book Club” is a series rooted in literary and cultural analysis and in the notion of reading as resistance. Read along with Ali and follow now to listen to the first two episodes on August 24th.
Velshi Banned Book Club reading list:
“Two Boys Kissing” by David Levithan
“Boy Erased” by Garrard Conley
“All American Boys” by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
“Dear Martin” by Nic Stone
“The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood
"The Tempest" by William Shakespeare
“Nineteen Minutes” by Jodi Picoult
“Give a Boy a Gun” by Todd Strasser
“The 1619 Project” by Nikole Hannah-Jones
“Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe” by Benjamin Alire Saenz
“Out of Darkness” by Ashley Hope Perez
“Speak” by Laurie Halse Anderson
“Ready or Not” by Meg Cabot
“Beloved” by Toni Morrison with Dr. Imani Perry and Dr. Eddie Glaude Jr.
“Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston with Dr. Imani Perry and Ibram X. Kendi