This is one of my favorite weeks of the year: Banned Books Week. I kind of accidentally celebrated a week early (by rereading one of the books on this list), but I don’t really limit my reading of banned books to one week a year, so it’s okay. Still, I wanted to celebrate somehow, and sharing a few of my favorite banned books with you is the perfect way to do it. I also wanted to put a bit of a twist on my recommendations, so these are my favorite banned classic novels (and one children’s book):
1984 by George Orwell. I am a huge fan of 1984. It is one of my all-time favorite books, and one I think everyone should read. It’s particularly relevant to today’s society (as you’ve probably already heard). If you haven’t read it yet, now is the perfect time. Animal Farm is also great.
The Color Purple by Alice Walker. I put off reading this book for a long time, because I was afraid I wouldn’t like it. Which was stupid, because I absolutely love this book! It is brilliant and beautiful. I will say that I think I liked this more as an audiobook than I would have as a physical book, so if you’re into audiobooks, I’d definitely go that route.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I read this for the first time in high school, and really enjoyed it. And then, on a whim, I listened to the audiobook last week, and somehow got so much more out of it than I would otherwise. It’s just a really great book. And if you haven’t read it, you should. If only because you’ll get all the Gatsby references (it’s not just flapper dresses and champagne).
The Lord of the Flies by William Golding. It might have been because I had a great teacher, but this was one of my favorite required reading books in high school. It’s shocking and enlightening and as much a commentary on society as 1984. There’s a reason there have been so many adaptations (just don’t get me started on the newest one).
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. There is nothing quite like Fahrenheit 451. Along with George Orwell, Bradbury is one of the most influential science fiction writers of his day, and this book is classic Bradbury. His writing is something all his own, and once you read this book, you will see echoes of it in so many modern sci-fi novels.
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. Yes, this counts as a classic, don’t fight me. There is just something amazing about this book, and it has been a favorite of mine for as long as I can remember. I couldn’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve read it. And I’ll never stop.
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. Except for my reread of Gatsby, this is the book on this list I read most recently. And, if I’m being honest, I didn’t love it. But I also couldn’t stop thinking about it. It’s completely bizarre, but also really great. I still don’t quite know how I feel about this one, but I am so glad I read it. (I highly recommend the audiobook read by James Franco; he does a great job.)
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. There’s a reason there have been so many adaptations of this classic. It’s good. And completely unique. If you haven’t read the original yet, you need to. Be sure to pick up Through the Looking Glass as well, because you must read “Jabberwocky” at least once in your life. It’s wonderfully weird.
What is your favorite banned classic book? Are you reading anything specific for banned books week? Let me know in the comments!