It’s Banned Books Week!
In case you missed it, I recently decided to take part in a Banned Books challenge, for which I will be reading a minimum of fifteen banned books by December 31 (I already completed the fifteen, but I’m hoping to read a few more by the end of the year). I actually tend to read a lot of banned books anyway (it was my nerdy way of rebelling as a kid, and it’s still what I gravitate towards a lot of the time – if a book is banned, I want to find out why first hand) so this isn’t really a stretch for me. However, it got me thinking about all of the banned books I’ve already read, and I thought I’d share some of my favorites with you, in honor of Banned Books Week.
The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling. I was actually not allowed to read Harry Potter until I was in eighth grade and the pope approved them (because apparently before then, I would have believed in witchcraft had I read them – my parents are weird). So these actually felt like banned books when I finally got my hands on them. And I couldn’t get enough. Definitely some of my favorite books of all-time. Banned due to religious objections, witchcraft, and teaching kids to resist authority.
1984 by George Orwell. I actually just read this book last year. And I absolutely loved it! I think this is going to become one of those books I reread every few years just to remind myself how great it is. I also bought a 1984 book-cover sweatshirt that I wear pretty much anytime the weather is below seventy-five degrees. Banned in the USSR for negative attitudes towards communism, and for pro-communist and anti-government sentiments in the US. Apparently only Stalin understood satire.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. I actually haven’t read this book since probably freshman/sophomore year of high school, but I loved it. Ray Bradbury is an incredible writer and this book is just so good! Banned for language and religious objections.
Lord of the Flies by William Golding. Another book I haven’t read since I was thirteen, but one of my favorites. I’ve tried to block out most of high school, but I clearly remember how much I loved this book. And I think it’s what really got me into reading more classics/actually finishing my assigned reading. Banned for language, violence, profanity, sexuality, racism, sexism, and comparing men to animals. Trying so hard not to make a snarky comment here.
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes. So, I just found out this was a banned book, and was a little bit surprised. I read this during my psychology phase junior year of high school, and thought it was incredible. Pretty sure I sobbed at the end of this book. Banned due to sexually explicit passages.
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. Another amazing book! I read this last year, and immediately went out and bought almost all the other books Gaiman has ever published. Neverwhere is still my favorite. Banned because of a one paragraph make-out scene not involving the main characters, aka the “racy jumper” scene.
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. Another book I just read last year – apparently I was missing out on some really great science fiction. It’s a really great book, and it made me think about how I treat others and the world around me. I can see why so many people love it. (I definitely bought an Ender’s Game t-shirt when I bought my 1984 sweatshirt.) Banned for profanity and sexuality.
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. I love this book! I think my fondness for Alice comes from the fact that, when I was a kid, the movie really inspired me to be creative with my storytelling. I think it’s one of the many stories that ultimately inspired me to write, and write more creatively. Banned due to anthropomorphism and drug references.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I really need to reread this book because it was one of my favorite assigned readings in high school. I honestly think I just love anything set in the 1920s, and you can’t beat Gatsby. Banned for language and references to sex.
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. This will forever be my favorite children’s book. I can’t even describe how much I adore this book. I still read it occasionally. Banned because of the “dark and disturbing” nature of the story.
I’m going to end this post with one of my favorite quotes, because I feel like it really addresses why most books are banned. And why I feel that we should read them anyway:
It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. – Aristotle
What are some of your favorite banned books?