September 28, 2015

8 Books to Read for Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to read. Launched by the American Library Association in 1982 in response to a surge in the number of books being challenged, Banned Books Week continues to celebrate literary freedom and fight censorship.

In honor of Banned Books Week, I've pulled together a list of my some of my favorite banned books (in no particular order).

1. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi - The first graphic novel I've read, Persepolis tells Marjane Satrapi's story of growing up in Iran during the Iranian Revolution. Banned for featuring gambling, offensive language, a political viewpoint, as well as being "politically, racially, and socially offensive" with "graphic depictions," Persepolis is one of the 10 most challenged titles of 2014.

2. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini - I first read The Kite Runner in 2007 while living in London and soon after, read A Thousand Splendid Suns. Khaled Hosseini is a genius and cannot write books fast enough. The Kite Runner definitely deals with heavy subject matter, but it's beautifully written. Banned for featuring offensive language and violence and being "unsuited to age group,"  The Kite Runner is also one of the 10 most challenged books of 2014. (I'm not sure what age group is in question, but I definitely wouldn't recommend this to anyone  younger than high school age).

3. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky - I just read this book this summer after seeing the movie when it first came out and I adored it. I'm upset I had never read it be
fore. I would definitely read this over and over. It's been banned for featuring drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, offensive language and being "unsuited to age group". Anyone who pretends that the issues dealt with in Perks doesn't happen in high school is out of their mind...especially in a day when heroine use among teenagers is on the rise.

4. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell - I  read Gone with the Wind before a trip to Atlanta in 2010 and it easily became one of my top 5 favorite books. A Pulitzer Prize winner that later won an Oscar for Best Picture (if you haven't seen the movie, I don't think we can be friends.) Gone With the Wind was simultaneously praised and banned for its realistic depiction of life in the south during the Civil War. Banned for offensive language and for depicting slavery too truthfully, Gone with the Wind broke social norms and caused a lot of controversy, while giving us Vivian Leigh in stunning gowns and Clark Gable, who is still making us swoon more than 75 years later.

5. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson - When I read Bridge to Terabithia, it was a summer reading assignment and at the end of it, I sobbed uncontrollably for three days. If it had been banned for causing uncontrollable sobbing among pre-teen girls, I would wholeheartedly support the banning, but since it was banned for "occult/Satanism" (umm what?) and offensive language, I can't support the banning. I watched the movie on a flight to London two days after a bad breakup and the flight attendant had to make sure I was ok...multiple times. Good book. Good movie. Check them both out.

6. Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison - The first time I read this book/series, I was in the 7th grade and I uncontrollably giggled. The last time I read this book/series , I was a fully fledged adult and I uncontrollably giggled like a crazy person on the New York City subway. Easy to read and a Top 100 Banned Book, Angus is the diary style saga of Georgia Nicholson. Another great book series, with a fantastic film version (with an awesome soundtrack, which I watch an embarrassing number of times) Angus has been banned for age inappropriateness and language. Believe me though, the titles of the books are way more age inappropriate than the books themselves.

7. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood - I read this book in high school and loved it. It's been on my "To Re-Read" list ever since but, I don't remember too much of it. A school board member in favor of banning it likened it to Penthouse, but its also been banned for being offensive to Christians.

8. Harry Potter (series) by JK Rowling - The Harry Potter series has been banned for a multitude of reasons. I remember going to see the films and coming back to my windshield to find fliers talking about how Harry Potter was evil. Chamber of Secrets and Goblet of Fire are easily my two favorites, but these booked shaped my childhood and early adulthood and I don't think any list of Banned Books would be complete without Harry Potter.

Have you read any of these books? Will you be reading any Banned Books this week?
What are your favorites? Do you agree with the censorship of any of these?
What's your favorite banned book?

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