Hey all, Dani here.
It is still Banned Books Week, and today I want to talk about some banned books that I think people need to read. Also, because there are some books that have been very prominent and influential in recent months, I’ll have a few of those listed at the end. I’m pretty certain that some of them will end up being on the list of 2017 Banned Books when it is released next year.
Okay, honestly, I think that books should be read period. When it comes to books that are challenged or banned though, I feel like people are trying to lock up some idea and keep it from the public eye. This puts it on my radar even more, practically labeling the book as a must read. What concept in the book has made people so afraid that they want to prevent people from reading it?
Any of the books I mentioned in my last post are definitely worth a read, as are any and all of the other books on the lists of challenged books from the past couple decades.
- Saga, by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples (anti-Family, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group)
- This is a graphic novel series, and yes there is nudity, offensive language, and sexual content within most issues. This is not a series targeted at youth. In fact, when I saw Saga being talked about and sold at BookExpo, the guy at the booth was sure to inform readers/consumers that it is targeted at an adult audience. The series follows a couple who just happen to be part of opposing races, and they fall in love, which causes all sorts of issues. They are hunted down by both of their people, and even by their families. But they form a new family of sorts. I think it is worth the read. I think it is about people from different places finding common ground despite the prejudices they grew up believing.
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky (drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “date rape and masturbation”)
- One of the things I like to say about this book is that the movie adaptation has to be one of the best adaptations I have seen. Yes, that is because the author wrote the screenplay and directed the movie. It does not get adapted any better than having the author in such prevalent roles in the process. But I think this book is one that everyone should read. It is actually a shorter read too, so it doesn’t take that much time, and it is written in letters/journal entries. But seriously, everyone should read Charlie’s story.
- To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee (offensive language, racism)
- Isn’t this one just a classic that basically everyone reads anyway? I remember reading it and watching the movie in school. It is one of those classics that shows us the reality of a time in the past of the USA, that actually does not feel all that different from the current reality, with the exception of a vast advancement in technology.
- His Dark Materials trilogy, by Philip Pullman (political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, violence)
- I devoured these books as a kid, and am hoping to complete a reread of them soon, but when I was a kid I didn’t pay attention to any political or religious undertones or overtones in the books. I was so wrapped up in Lyra’s adventures. I’m curious to see what I pick up now reading these as an adult.
- The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood (Profanity; lurid passages about sex; statements defamatory to minorities, god, women and the disabled; violence; hopelessness; age-inappropriate; graphic sex; vulgar; offensive to Christians; violently graphic and morally corrupt.)
- Okay, so technically I have yet to read this one, but I’m still including it on this recommendations list. With the way the world is going nowadays, this seems like a scary possibility for the future, so I think more people need to read it (myself included–I promise, I have it on my TBR)
- Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank (sexual content)
- Seriously, this book has been challenged and banned because at one point Anne details the fact that she is maturing and so is her body. That is the reason why people think that this book should be taken out of schools and libraries. Not because of all the historical violence by the Nazis or the treatment of Jews and others. No, because a young woman talks about puberty, this book shouldn’t be read. Wow, just wow. I have this one on my TBR again, because I feel that I need a reread.
- 1984, by George Orwell (pro-communist, explicit sexual matter)
- Here’s another classic book that eerily predicted how society would be in the future. But instead of focusing on the government watching and monitoring every move, no let’s challenge this book because it could be promoting the communist agenda. Both George Orwell books on this list have been challenged because people suspected the author of being a communist.
- Animal Farm, by George Orwell (political theories, pro-communist)
- This book was also challenged because of having anthropomorphized animals in the book. I think the segregation of the animals based on what kind of animal they are is very similar to how nowadays we try and separate people by gender, or race, or religion, or sexuality. We need to have more conversation on the topic of division within the world today, and I think books like this can help get the conversation really moving
Okay, so now I’m going to include a few recommendations for books released this year, in 2017. They have not hit any challenged or banned lists (yet) but I imagine we’ll see them there when the 2017 list is released next year.
- The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas
- All Rights Reserved by Gregory Scott Katsoulis
- Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
- The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed
- Dear Martin by Nic Stone
Both The Hate You Give and Dear Martin deal with the Black Lives Matter movement and police brutality, which are issues that definitely need more discussion and time in the spotlight. Again, yes, I need to read both of these, though to be fair the novel by Nic Stone will be released on October 17th.
Moxie and The Nowhere Girls are more focused on the issues of sexism and how girls are treated even within our schools during their formative years. Whether it is the dress code, or allegations of rape, or anything of that nature, we need to be bringing these issues into the spotlight. Oh, and The Nowhere Girls will be released on October 10th.
Finally there is All Rights Reserved, which is one of my top reads of 2017. It focuses a lot on issues surrounding freedom of speech, and I cannot recommend this book enough. I have my review up here, and just order yourself a copy or borrow it from the library. Please, just read these books, and then make your voice heard.
Well, that’s all for now. But, this is sort of a start for a series I’ll be running for the next few months wherein I recommend different books based on a theme or genre. Next Thursday I will be back with a LGBTQ+ Recommendations post. But I wanted to ask all of you what list you would like to see after that. Here are the options I have right now (but if you have others suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments):
- Graphic Novel