Author Opens FL Bookstore in response to Book Bans

While they had toyed with the idea of opening a bookstore for some time, it was the surge of book bans sweeping across Florida that finally compelled author Lauren Groff and her husband, Clay Kallman, to turn their dream into reality. “This store would probably still be a pipe dream if the book bans hadn’t happened,” Groff shared in a recent interview with The New York Times.

Last autumn, they stumbled upon an old building on South Main Street in Gainesville Florida, which they transformed into The Lynx—a sanctuary for literature, discourse and a hub for communal engagement. In addition to over 7,000 books, there are  plans for a Banned Books Book Club and discussions on targeted literature.

Groff shared that she chose to call it “The Lynx”, which is a wildcat native to the Florida, as “We wanted something a little fierce.”

The store’s mission struck a chord beyond Florida, drawing support and donations from across the nation. The little-bookstore-that-could has garnered national attention and news coverage.

Groff’s journey into bookselling was not without guidance. She sought counsel from established authors-turned-booksellers like Emma Straub, Ann Patchett, and industry veteran Mitchell Kaplan.

“Censorship leaves us in the dark”, Kaplan shares in his blog from Oct 2023, continuing, “I distinctly remember being met with wonderment by our customers, who were incredulous that some of the most iconic books of the past 100 years were subject to removal from libraries and schools.”

For local authors like Amy Hempel, The Lynx represents more than a bookstore. “It’s a beacon of hope amid turbulent times”. For Hempel and many others, its mere existence signals a defiant stance against censorship, inspiring both readers and residents alike.

Despite the exhaustion of launching a new venture alongside her writing pursuits, Groff remaines undeterred. She sees The Lynx not as a distraction, but as an extension of her commitment to literature and community.

As she embarked on this new chapter, Groff embraces the challenges with determination, fueled by the enthusiasm of readers and the promise of a more inclusive literary landscape- despite pushback.

In an interview with TeenVogue, Groff shared, “There will definitely be actions taken against us. Part of the reason I want to do this is because I can take the censuring and people being angry at me, because people have been angry at me publicly for a very long time just for being an opinionated woman in the world. I’ve gotten death threats after being on Charlie Rose.”

Groff continutes stating, “If Florida goes to such extremes that it will arrest or censure business owners for selling these books, then I am happy to be the face of that, because I have a very loud voice. There are many people fighting against that and I want to be among them. I’m full of optimism.”

If Groff has a motto, it would be: ‘Where books are burned, people will be next’ – Heinrich Heine.

Groff’s efforts at the bookstore have been hectic, rewarding, and crucial amidst ongoing book challenges in her state. To learn more about “The Lynx”, its mission, upcoming author events, or to buy merch, click here.

Lauren Groff is an acclaimed author and has been a finalist for the National Book Award three times. Her bestselling novels include, The Monsters of Templeton, Arcadia, Fates and Furies, Matrix, and The Vaster Wilds.

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The post Author Opens FL Bookstore in response to Book Bans first appeared on Good e-Reader.

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