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WINTER IN CHICAGO by David M. Hamlin
Open Books Welcomes New Authors

War Cries 
by Kerry Arquette 
(Poetry / Social Conscience)

In 1941, Hitler ratcheted up his persecution of Europe’s Jewish population by ordering “The final solution of the Jewish question.” That “solution” was the mass murder of millions of Jews. 

The war lasted six long years. The toll on human lives was astronomical -

The story of Satan's many struggles, across the history of Human existence, to unshackle the Human mind, and open the gates to forbidden knowledge.

The Autobiography of Satan (Authorized Edition)  
by William A. Glasser
(Fictional Memoir)

From the moment of his first emer-
A Mentor and Her Muse
by Susan Sage 

Under the guise of mentor and muse, a frustrated writer and her ambitious teenage protégé take an illicit summer road trip fraught with racial and sexual tension. This is a compelling psychological novel about social norms, artistic ambition, and obsession. Maggie Barnett works in the media center of

The Autobiography of Satan by William A. Glasser
​Ten Near-term Stories Envisioning the Human Impact of the Climate Crisis

Tales from The Warming 
by Lorin R. Robinson 
(Fiction / Short Stories) 

Tales of The Warming is unique in the annals of climate fiction, a new literary genre spawned in the last decade by the climate crisis. The
What's Trending in
Barbara L. Baer

Ten Best
Absurdist Novels
Satirical, darkly funny, nihilistic: If you are questioning the meaning of life, then you will want to put all 10 of these absurdist novels on your TBR list.
Barbara grew up in California, got her BA and MA at Stanford University before going to South India to teach, study dance, and have experiences unlike anything in her American life. She taught in Madras (now Chennai) and Tashkent, Uzbekistan, then part of the USSR, which gave her the inspiration and voice for her novella, Grisha the Scrivener. After a decade of encounters and adventures, she returned to the US, taught at Dennison University in Granville, Ohio, worked for newspapers, and wrote fiction and travel pieces. 

In India, she’d studied and fallen in love with the culture and classical forms of dance, but in America, her passion for ballet returned. She honed her skills reviewing classical and contemporary dance for newspapers and periodicals in America and France. Back in America, she also wrote political pieces and won a national journalism prize for her reporting on the United Farm Workers. Barbara’s fiction and non-fiction has often been reprinted in anthologies and she has spoken on national and regional public  radio

Drugs, death and rock and roll on Chicago's AM radio dial...

Winter in Chicago 
by David M. Hamlin 
(Contemporary Mystery)

Before dawn in January, 1975, Emily detours from her normal route to work in the newsroom of Chicago’s top pop rock station to investigate a crime scene. The police believe the
The Irrationalist  by Andrew Pessin
​The sad life and tragic murder of René Descartes, 
the world’s most famous philosopher

The Irrationalist 
by Andrew Pessin
(Historical murder mystery )

Who would want to murder the world’s most famous philosopher?

Turns out: nearly everyone.

Made to Break Your Heart by Richard Fellinger
Made To Break Your Heart 
by Richard Fellinger 

Made To Break Your Heart is a family saga, set in a gossipy suburb, that explores the complexities of raising a child, holding a marriage together, and maintaining sanity in the cutthroat world of Little League

It’s 2008, and Nick Marhoffer is a 
The feminine spirit of the West comes alive in early twentieth century Montana.

Copper Sky
by Milana Marsenich

Set in the Copper Camp of Butte, Montana in 1917, Copper Sky tells the story of two women with opposite lives. Kaly Shane, mired in 
- more than 60 million people died.

Too often, when confronted with devastation of this magnitude, we tend to view the dead as a statistic - a solid block of entangled nonentities. This approach allows us to maintain a comfortable feeling of emotional detachment so we feel less horrified, frightened and threatened. But to truly understand WWII, we must step into the painting and view the events through the eyes of those who participated. The individual brush strokes that make up the macabre picture are dipped in the blood of men, women and children no different from us.

In the end, the sound of war isn’t heard in the rattle of machine gun fire or the bellowing of bombs. It is in the voices of those who lived and died and the stories they have to share.

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body on the street is a suicide. Emily is stunned to discover that the dead woman is a dear friend since high school. Unable to fathom why Beni Steinart would take her own life, Emily begins an investigation that leads to a trunk-load of cocaine, Federal narcotics charges, abuse of power and a perplexing mystery – suicide or murder?

Emily’s reporting triggers an explosive battle between two men who tower over their city. Cary Chase is Chicago’s most prominent bachelor, a wealthy entrepreneur whose mansion is the epicenter of Chicago’s elite society. United States Attorney Tommy “Tommy Terrific” Jameson is ambitiously determined to rid his city of corruption on his way up to the Governor’s office and perhaps even higher.

Drawing on an eclectic roster of news sources and WEL colleagues and her own considerable talent and determination, Emily uncovers the full story of her friend’s death in a remarkable confrontation which produces front page headlines and restores one life as it ruins another.

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gence as a single spark in the dimness of prehistory, to the more enlightening force into which he evolves across the full span of human existence, Satan, as he now clearly illustrates, has been urging human beings to open their eyes to the world around them, and to continue seeking, with unfettered minds, for ultimate answers, yet to be found. To do so he must struggle against the persistent attempts to stifle that urge by the "spoon feeders," as he calls them, individuals who have insisted, within every age, and often with a bloody fist, that they, and they alone, are the possessors of the only beliefs that every human being should accept and live by, without question. As Satan traces the history of their many attempts to stop human beings from thinking for themselves, he also takes his readers on a search for the ultimate source of all evil in this world. Readers will obviously enter the book with the standard concept of Satan as a supernatural figure of evil, however they will leave the book with a better understanding of how such mind-twisting concepts have been used to keep people away from the "forbidden" knowledge that lies beyond the borders of entrenched beliefs. 

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anthology of 10 short stories takes readers all over the world and over time to experience—in human terms—the growing impact of what the author has dubbed “The Warming,” the man-made catastrophe that is increasing temperature, raising ocean levels and causing increasingly violent weather. 

These stories are thought exercises that blend fact and fiction to examine the human impact of the crisis. Each concerns a different challenge thrust upon us by the warming and readers witness people’s struggles to deal with these new realities. Some of the stories put people in harm’s way; others focus more on human creativity in mitigating the effects of the warming.

Most of the warnings about the climate crisis have come in the form of non-fiction. But these efforts have not rallied the public around the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare to mitigate the coming effects of what will be a civilization-changing phenomenon. Recent polls indicate that, while 70 percent of Americans now believe global warming is real, 57 percent do not expect it to threaten their way of life.

Science sometimes can be its own worst enemy. Couching its warnings in scientific jargon, statistics, charts and graphs can render readers comatose. Because writing about implications, “what ifs”, is outside the realm of objective science, people are left struggling to understand why they should care. They can’t relate what they’re reading and hearing to their own realities.  

Fiction that’s based on worst-case warming scenarios proposed by climate scientists, however, can bridge the gap. Perhaps novelist, poet and playwright Doris Lessing said it best: “There’s no doubt that fiction makes a better job of the truth.”

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In 1649, Descartes was invited by the Queen of Sweden to become her Court Philosopher. Though he was the world’s leading philosopher, his life had by this point fallen apart. He was 53, penniless, living in exile in Amsterdam, alone. With much trepidation but not much choice, he arrived in Stockholm in mid-October.

Shortly thereafter he was dead.

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stressed-out dad who finds himself flirting with thoughts of infidelity. While his job is being threatened by a crumbling economy, he’s fraught with anxiety over his only son’s well-being. So when his son starts playing baseball, Nick becomes a rabid Little League dad who loses sight of what’s good in his life. After developing a crush on a gorgeous team mom, he can’t decide between her and his wife, then finds himself at risk of losing everything that’s important to him.

A smart, sexy, and funny novel about bad breaks, bad decisions, and the long road of life.

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a school in Flint, Michigan where she meets Taezha Riverton, an aspiring teenage writer. After discovering that Maggie is also a writer, Taezha turns to her as both mentor and friend.

Alone and childless, it's not enough for Maggie to take Tae to upscale restaurants and poetry readings; she has a more far-reaching vision. Although Tae’s mother has nothing against Maggie, she is less than thrilled when Maggie proposes to take her daughter on a summer road trip. Permission is never explicitly granted, but shortly after school is out for the summer, Maggie and Tae head for the Southeast. 

Tae’s mother insists that Maggie return Tae to Flint, but Maggie instead takes Tae to a remote cabin outside Asheville, North Carolina. Growing evermore emotionally unsound, Maggie clings to the belief that living close to nature is the perfect therapy for her doubts and insecurities. Yet her role as mentor has now been supplanted to that of a drill sergeant, causing Tae to have serious misgivings...

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prostitution, struggles to find a safe home for her unborn child. Marika Lailich, a Slavic immigrant, dodges a pre-ar-ranged marriage to become a doctor. As their paths cross, and they become unlikely friends, neither woman knows the family secret that ties them together. 

"Copper Sky is a riveting story of darkness and redemption, rising from the ashes of two fiery tragedies in Butte, Montana. Marsenich creates two heroines whose great losses lead them ever closer to truth. And as their stories unfold, the Butte of one hundred years ago startles to full and undeniable life." -- Phil Condon, author of Clay CenterMontana Surround, and Nine Ten Again 

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Open Books Authors (click photo for full bio)

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Author Milana Marsenich Launches Copper Sky in Home State of Montana

Moronic Ox Classics: "The Lady of Shallot" by Tennyson
Mark Ozeroff

Mark Ozeroff has been passionate about airplanes since he was a kid. As a boy he was lucky enough to get a ride in the copilot’s seat of a 1927 Ford Tri-Motor, an experience that cemented his interest in flying for life. And though he didn’t realize it at the time, he was already researching his novels.

Later, Mark attended college in Florida, and then ended up staying for decades. His most enjoyable years were spent living in an airplane hangar at a unique airport called Spruce Creek (his roommate was an older, curvaceous Cessna 195). It was there that he wrote his first novel, Days of Smoke, as engine song from P-51 Mustangs serenaded dogfights burgeoning in his mind. “You might say I took up aeronautical writing in self-defense―now, when folks caught me drooling over airplanes for hours, I could tell them I was doing research.”

A Progressive on the Prairie
a blog about books, reading and other things 
that bring nuance to life reviews

The Autobiography of Satan: 
Authorized Edition 
by William A. Glasser 
In the Weeds 
by Mark Ozeroff

In the Weeds  is a tale of gas, grass, ass, and Vietnam.     

Air Force pilot Slats Kisov flies daring missions from a plane so small that the armament doubles if a passenger climbs in wearing a shoulder holster. His courage is audacious, his strategy is devil-may-care, and his luck is impeccable 

until his plane is shot down over the jungle and he sustains the “million-dollar injury”―one that leaves him no less audacious if just slightly less fertile. 

But war has made Slats something of an adrenaline junkie, and he returns to the States a changed man, one determined to live a life of harmless banditry from the cockpit of an airplane. Using his exceptional low-and-slow flying skills, he begins to smuggle marijuana into Florida from the Bahamas. He is aided in this venture by his friends the Morales brothers, members of an improbable family of immigrants seeking their own unique form of artistic freedom. They’re moral people…who just also happen to be money launderers, gun molls, and poetry-spouting bulimic Cuban marijuana farmers.  

Generally, Slats enjoys good fortune as he wobbles through life, but his luck takes occasional appalling turns. Much of his trouble comes from Bobby Ray Pistle, police chief of Farth, Florida. Bobby Ray is the sort of man who considers the Klan an upstanding civic organization and views Slats as nothing more than a Hebraic hippie who prefers the company of minorities to that of paler folk. The chief soon comes to suspect that Slats is smuggling the same weed he’s been smoking, though Pistle’s bulb burns too dimly to find proof. But when the chief discovers his lusty ex has fallen for Slats, it’s time to fish or cut bait.  

Will Slats’ battles with the Viet Cong, hijackers, PTSD, and Mother Nature herself serve to prepare him for his most perilous battle of all―the one he must wage against Chief Bobby Ray Pistle? Strap yourself in and get ready for a bumpy ride. And one spectacular landing! 

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Mark believes that he may be the most undisciplined author since Jack Kerouac. “I write slower than a glacier descends a fjord,” he confesses, “and my first drafts are rougher than forty-grit sandpaper.” 

Mark holds an MBA and a Commercial pilot license. He is a ravenous reader who believes that fiction can sometimes tell a more profound truth than history. His debut novel earned a gold medal from the Military Writers Society of America. He now lives and writes in Southern California.

Susan Sage

Born in Detroit, Michigan, Susan is the youngest of three daughters. During her college years, she began publishing her poetry, and was a recipient of Wayne State University’s Tompkins Award in Creative Writing. 

After moving to the Flint, Michigan, she became a certified teacher in Language Arts, and also completed graduate coursework at the University of Michigan-Flint. An educator for over twenty years, Susan has worked as an adult education teacher, an educational coordinator, and an academic interventionist at both the elementary and secondary levels. 

Her poetry and her fiction has appeared in Five on the FifthArlington Literary Journal,
Illuminations, Twisted Vines Literary Journal, The Birds We Piled Loosely, Referential Magazine, Storyacious, E.T.A. Literary Journal, Digital Papercut, Black Denim Lit, The Green Hills Literary Lantern, The Rockhurst Review, Passages North, Metis, Qua, Diceybrown, The Mochila Review, Beyond DoggerelThe Wire, and Corridors. Her first novel, Insominy, was published in 2010.

​Susan currently lives in Flushing, Michigan, with her husband, Tom, and two cats. They have a daughter, Sarah, who is also an author.

A Mentor and Her Muse by Susan Sage
Marc Whelchel

Artist, lion tamer, entrepreneur, Dudeist priest, lame joke machine, future warrior-prophet, shapeshifter, jack of hearts – Marc Whelchel is almost none of those things. He knows something about everything and everything about nothing. He believes there aren't enough words online or in print, so he is committed to adding more to the pile.

Marc lives in St. Louis with his beautiful wife and daughter, a green-eyed demon cat, and a song in his head that he can’t quite identify. When he is not driving to and fro, scouring the wastebasket of his mind for a point, he is writing the next Great American Novel, a half-decent short story starring some Congolese guy in faraway lands. He enjoys whistling off-key at the moon, loud music, dead quiet, meeting new people, and avoiding the human race at all costs. Two people once said he’s funny, so it must be true. Those who know him best agree that he has damn good reason to be self-deprecating.

After taking the undergraduate tour of Missouri colleges, collecting debts and meeting oddballs, Marc eventually obtained a Communications degree from the University of Phoenix. Like so many others, he used said degree to shrink his bank account and sling drinks on nights and weekends. 

Marc is the world’s most pointless psychic, sporadically receiving fleeting mental images of scenes from old sitcoms that invariably appear on TV the next day. He spent the first several years of his life counting the letters in the words that were spoken to him. His hobbies include listening to obscure indie rock, quoting The Big Lebowski, making bad puns, writing his own bio, and sending messages hidden in a raindrop.

He is the author of four novels, the first three having been shredded and recycled into Chinese food containers long ago.
Smokin' Author Event

Meet Open Books author
Mark Ozeroff
and celebrate 
Legal Weed 
L.H.O.O.Q. Ex-Realism
in Carlsbad, California 
October 28, 2017; 7:00 pm
for a reading and signing 
of Mark's new novel,
In The Weeds
Meet  Milana Marsenich at

Swift Dam
by Sid Gustafson

It had been a long snowy winter and spring. The rivers were late rising, and the mountains held onto a pure white snow-cover. Rain fell upon the deep winter snow the day before the Flood of '64. Waters rose, the rivers raged. The dam failed to hold the Birch Creek flow, and broke, giving way to a wall of water and drowning the Indians. 

Veterinarian Alphonse Vallerone dreams out this novel of dreamers dreaming. He goes back 50 years to the day after the Flood, when he assisted the surviving Indians. Riding from one devastated ranch to another, he tends to the surviving yet devastated animals and tries to mend the grief wrought by the Flood. 

Underpinned by the lingering and harsh reminders of the Blackfeet Nation’s heroic, tragic, and vibrant past, Gustafson’s third novel chronicles the heartrending drama of the Blackfeet people.

Swift Dam celebrates the native land and the Natives who survive as they have survived throughout time, perilously. It is the story of a veterinarian who attempts to sustain and nurture life on the land, his empathy with the living, and his sympathy for the dead and dying.

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New & Noteworthy
Upcoming Titles
The Doubly Dead Angel-Thief
by Marc Whelchel

V.C. Almond’s life is in the gutter. Divorced and broke, he’s living in a rat trap apartment above the loudest punk music venue in the Delmar Loop. He over imbibes Grand Marnier and has conversations with inanimate objects by day, while 95 decibels of indie-punk clatter blast him out of bed at night. Worst, his dear friend, merry prank-
ster Jake Kennedy, son of crime boss “Big Jamie” Kennedy, has just committed suicide.

The night of Jake’s funeral, V.C. returns home after a booze binge to find a surprise on his floor: Jake’s freshly murdered, bullet-riddled body. The police inexplicably pretend it never happened. Big Jamie’s only response is to cry mock tears and proclaim V.C. a genius for his “brilliant idea.” Realizing that Jake’s double death appears destined to go unsolved, V.C. reluctantly agrees to help his old friend, the boisterous, logic-impaired private detective Aldous Lewie, crack the case.

But stumbling upon the body of a man who’s supposed to already be dead is just the first leg of V.C.’s journey down the rabbit hole. Mystery thugs are soon attacking his friends. V.C.’s car is set on fire. A shiny black Continental is hell-bent on running him down. A soft-core porn star-turned semi-pro wrestler-turned mobster’s underling wants to take him under his wing. A TV psychic wants to prove his apartment is haunted. To top it off, the psychotic ex-boyfriend of his new love interest, Miss Kalista Chestnut, has disappeared, popping up only long enough to leave V.C. death threats written in blood.

As the mysteries mount and the misunderstandings multiply, V.C. finds himself an unwitting piece in an elaborate game of sex trafficking, narcotics, and murder. Two things soon become clear: Even in the Communication Age, miscommunication reigns supreme. And if V.C. and his band of misfits don’t figure out who aced their amigo soon, they will soon be sipping GrandMa in the Great Beyond.

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A Progressive on the Prairie
Gregory Heath
David M. Hamlin
and on Voice of America about books as diverse as the life of a dissident Russian to a Soviet Jewish pomegranate botanist who led her to her own amateur horticulturalism. She helped create book festivals and started a small press to publish women writers, as well as one man.

Credits include fiction in Redbook, New American Review, Confrontation, New Letters, 34th Parallel and other publications; non-fiction in Orion Magazine, The Nation, The Progressive, Narrative, Saisons de la Danse, The Massachusetts Review, Dance Magazine, Persimmon Tree and more. Her work appears in collections from To Eat with Grace, 100 years of Writing from The Nation, Traveler’s Tales, Wreckage of Reason, America’s Working Women. Her novella, Grisha the Scrivener, was published in 2011.

Barbara has lived many years in Sonoma County, California, where she writes, edits and teachers through the county jail program, tends a garden and an orchard of pomegranates and olives, and is active in environmental and political causes. She lives with her husband, Michael Morey, also a writer and bricoleur, jack of all trades, who keeps things going.

Open Books will publisher her novella, The Ballet Lover in September 2017 and also her novel, The Last Devadasi in Spring 2018.
Author Events!

Featured Title
The Ballet Lover
by Barbara L. Baer

The Ballet Lover exposes the beauty and cruelty of ballet, the performances, the back stage moments, and the per- sonal dramas of the famous ballet dancers Rudolf Nurey- ev and Natalia Makarova as seen through the eyes of an American female journalist.

Paris, 1970s: the orchestra plays the first ominous note of Swan Lake. In the audience sits Geneva, an American journalist and ballet lover, waiting for the heart-stopping beauty and seduction of the romantic duet to start, but instead she witnesses Rudolf Nureyev failing to catch his Russian partner Natalia Makarova, allowing her to fall with a crash upon the stage. 

Geneva interprets the fall as an act of cruelty, a man with all the fame and power in the world brutally letting fall his delicate, wraith-like artistic partner. When other critics defend Nureyev and accuse Makarova of causing her own tumble, Geneva vows revenge on the page, creating havoc in her own career and discovering surprising parallels between herself and the fallen ballerina.

The Ballet Lover is a refined, mesmerizing, fictional account of two of the most celebrated dancers in the dance world, how one compromised the other, and how the drama on the stage often mirrors those played out in real life.

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Open Books Author
Barbara L. Baer
to Launch 
The Ballet Lover
in Northern California! 
A Book Launch Gala is scheduled for November 19th and will feature a short performance by a local ballet company as well as live music and a reading 
by the author.

The Ballet Lover 
exposes the beauty
 and cruelty of ballet, 
the performances, 
the back stage mo-
ments, and the per-
sonal dramas of the 
famous ballet dancers 
Rudolph Nureyev and Natalia Makarova as seen through the eyes 
of an American female journalist.

Sunday, November 5, 2017
Book Launch Events at
2295 Hwy 116 South, Sebastopol, CA
Time TBA
Whine & Cheese Cozy Mystery Series: 
Feta and the Fat Bastard (Book 3)
by Judy Volhart

Who’s gotten cheesed off this time?

Millionaire Milton is about as pleasant as a moldy block of feta, but when his juicy young wife drops dead at the Whine & 
Cheese Bistro, Amalia finds herself back in the thick of things. 

Matters are further complicated by one very handsome paramedic. Will Amalia have a new love interest? And why is Nora back with the acidic Mr. Leonardo, Amalia’s archenemy?

Drugs, mafia, escort agencies and a brown and yellow Mr. Kis as Amalia’s unexpected sidekick? She’s “grateful” for his help, but things are getting “whey” too strange.  

As the sleuthing continues, Amalia finds herself in a poisonous setting, and wonders if the wrong person was killed.

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Allison L. Palmer

Allison Lee Palmer grew up next to a small college in Westminster, Maryland, where both her parents taught literature. She developed an interest in Italian Renaissance art during family trips to Europe, and then received a B.A. in Art History from Mount Holyoke College in 1985, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Rutgers University in 1994. She has taught Renaissance and Baroque Art History in the School of Visual Arts at the University of Oklahoma for over twenty years and writes both academic texts and novels. Her recent research on a hand-painted Italian Renaissance sorting book is featured in her debut novel The Sun King, which Open Books will publish in October 2017..

Barbara L. Baer will appear at Readers' Books
130 East Napa St.
Sonoma, CA 
Nov. 11, 2017 
2:00 pm.
OB Author Richard Fellinger will read from his novel, Made to Break Your Heart on Monday, September 25th at High Library, Level 2
7:00 - 8:00
The Sun King
by Allison Lee Palmer

​A mother, her son, and mania...

In this fictionalized memoir, a mother recounts the emotional journey she and her son take when he becomes mentally ill.

Jack is known as the Sun King because as a child he resembled 
the illustrated boy in his mother's deck of tarot cards. Already on the verge of madness, Jack leaves for college in Ohio but secretly decides not to take his medicine. When Jack becomes manic, his mother must retrieve him from a psychiatric hospital and bring him home to Oklahoma. She and Jack spend the next year dealing with court hearings, doctor appointments, and counseling sessions precipitated by his bipolar disorder and resultant psychosis.

Guiding Jack back to sanity leads his mother to a fateful decision—one that brings about her own emotional unraveling. In the end, it is the Sun King who must save his mother.

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Banned Books Week
is celebrated from September 24th through September 30th and is promoted by the American Library Association and by Amnesty International.

Read a banned book
and support the 
Freedom to Read!