Banned Books To Read

Banned Books IconEver since signing up for Banned Books Month, I have been trying to decided which books to read. While I decided fairly quickly to read four books to celebrate the cause–one a week–it has been harder for me to select which four to read. Thanks to links from Steph Su Reads, I’ve been able to find great resources to find banned & challenged books.

The first thing I noticed when browsing the lists is how many of these books I had already read. For example both Looking For Alaska by John Green and The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson have been banned or challenged. I was not surprised to find the Harry Potter series on the list of top 100 challenged books of the decade. The number of banned or challenged books I had previously read as required reading was unexpected. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous–which I read in middle school English–was listed. Also on the list was The Color Purple by Alice Walker, which I read in AP English my senior year of High School. After seeing so many books that I had read, I began to worry that I would have trouble finding new ones to enjoy.

Book Cover of Coraline by Neil Gaiman Eventually I began to find some possibilities that would make interesting blogs for Banned Books Month . I was excited when I noticed Coraline by Neil Gaiman was listed as challenged. This book has been sitting on my “to-read” list for months, waiting for me to purchase it. This challenge would be a great opportunity for me to finally read it.

Book Cover of Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan Boy Meets Boy The second book I added to my list is Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan. While I have read and enjoyed several of the books he has co-written–most recently Will Grayson, Will Grayson–I have yet to read any of his solo efforts. Reading this book for Banned Books month allows me to read a challenged book while checking out some more of his great work.

Book Cover of Twisted by Laurie Halse AndersonLaurie Halse Anderson is an author whose books I have frequently seen mentioned on banned or challenged book lists. Many of my friends have talked about how much they have enjoyed her books. I figured this would be a great chance to check out her work while also reading a banned book. I looked up several of her banned or challenged books on goodreads.com in an attempt to help choose which to read. I decided to add Twisted to my to-read list.

I was pretty successful at picking my first three books. Picking a fourth book has not been as easy. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is a possibility. Out of all the books I read during my time in school, I somehow missed this classic. I could read it now and cross it off my “to-read” list, while also reading a banned book. I Was a Teenage Fairy by Francesca Lia Block is another option. This book caught my eye several times as I read different banned/challenged book lists and inspired me to put it on my list. Another alternative is the ttyl Internet Girls Series by Lauren Myracle. The series caught my attention due to the fact it is among the top 10 challenged books of the past few years.

So while I am pretty solid on three of my choices, I’m still wavering on my fourth. I would love some suggestions of what banned books people think I should check out. I know you guys have some great banned book recommendations for me!

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14 responses to “Banned Books To Read

  1. I read Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. It was heartbreaking but something I needed to read. It will move you to tears. I would suggest it.

    • Ohhh that one looks really good too. A quick look on Goodreads shows that a bunch of my friends have read it, and given it high marks! I may have to check it out. Thanks for the recommendation Wendy!

  2. I haven’t read the other two choices, but I really to think you would enjoy To Kill A Mockingbird. It is one of the few classics I had to read in school that I felt like I would have finished on my own had I decided to read it for pleasure.

    • Ohhh I LOVE those types of books. I read Brave New World (another banned book!) in school and really enjoyed it. I think even if I don’t read To Kill A Mockingbird this month, I need to read it at some point.

  3. Like I mentioned to you on Twitter, To Kill A Mockingbird is a book I read in high school, and it’s stuck with me ever since. It’s one of the most powerful books I’ve ever read. I highly recommend reading it, even if you don’t get to it until after Banned Books Week. 🙂

    • I’m thinking more and more that I rally need to find some time to read it. I just keep hearing more and more good reviews and next to no bad ones. Hopefully this challenge will be the kick in the butt I need.

  4. If you want to read a banned book, read the last book banned in the USA, namely, Fanny Hill, last banned in 1963.

    No books have been banned in the USA for about a half a century. See “National Hogwash Week.”

    Thomas Sowell says Banned Books Week is “the kind of shameless propaganda that has become commonplace in false charges of ‘censorship’ or ‘book banning’ has apparently now been institutionalized with a week of its own.” He calls it “National Hogwash Week.”

    Former ALA Councilor Jessamyn West said, “It also highlights the thing we know about Banned Books Week that we don’t talk about much — the bulk of these books are challenged by parents for being age-inappropriate for children. While I think this is still a formidable thing for librarians to deal with, it’s totally different from people trying to block a book from being sold at all.” See “Banned Books Week is Next Week.”

    And then there’s Judith Krug herself who created BBW:

    Marking 25 Years of Banned Books Week,” by Judith Krug, Curriculum Review, 46:1, Sep. 2006. “On rare occasion, we have situations where a piece of material is not what it appears to be on the surface and the material is totally inappropriate for a school library. In that case, yes, it is appropriate to remove materials. If it doesn’t fit your material selection policy, get it out of there.”

    Lastly, remember the ALA does not oppose book burning when doing so would interfere with its political interests. Go see what Judith Krug said about Cuban librarians: “American Library Association Shamed,” by Nat Hentoff.

  5. Still haven’t read it myself but I’d totally recommend “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini. However, if you rather prefer some light entertainment then I’d recommend “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain. Classics are always a good read, no doubts about that.

    • I did actually have “The Kite Runner” on my possible list! However I did take it off because right now I’m just looking for something less intense. Being pregnant is so stressful that when I read I want a nice relaxing light read.

      “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” was a great story! That was one of my many required reads in school, but one of them that I actually enjoyed!

      Thanks for the recommendations!!

  6. Like Wendy mentioned, “Speak” by Anderson is unforgettable. “Wintergirls,” which caused some controversy is also excellent. LHA nails a teenage girl’s voice like no other author I’ve read.

    “To Kill A Mockingbird” is one of my favorite of all time books.
    And Neil Gaiman is awesome. “Coraline” is wonderfully creepy (and a quick read). My daughter loves this book.

    • I’m planning on ordering “To Kill A Mockingbird”, “Coraline” and “Twisted” for my upcoming 6 hour plane ride to Vegas. After reading “Twisted” I am thinking I need to check out more of Anderson’s stuff. I’ve heard it was very similar to Before I Fall which was an AMAZING book. I really hope this project helps me read new authors I hadn’t checked out before.

  7. I loved Twisted, but I definitely agree you need to read more of Anderson’s stuff! One of my most favorite authors EVER. =)
    I Was a Teenage Fairy was disappointing… easily my least favorite of Francesca Lia Block’s stuff. I still liked it, don’t get me wrong, but if you’ve not read any of her work I’d start with just about anything else.
    I definitely agree on pregnancy affecting my reading habits… I just can’t focus the way I’d like to on most works, and nothing really sounds good. I need to buckle down and make some real decisions – if I get a copy, I’ll read it.

    • I think your twitter feed was one of the first places that put Anderson on my radar! There was another banned Anderson book I was looking into reading, but after noticing you only rated it a 3, compared to the 4 you gave Twisted, I decided to go with the latter.

      Yeah I’ve noticed I’m looking for a lot more light reading right now. I just don’t want anything to difficult or challenging. I picked up “The Help” the week before I found out I was pregnant and it has just been sitting there. Hopefully I find the desire to pick it up soon!

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