At “The Broke and Bookish”, the theme for Top Ten Tuesday is a fairly open one and I am choosing to stretch it even a bit more.
This week is “Banned Books Week”, a time to celebrate books that others feel should be banned for whatever reason.
I grew up in a reading family, where my father never censored what I read. He felt I needed to learn to discriminate by reading anything I wanted to.
Each year the Office for Intellectual Freedom compiles a list of hundreds of challenges and each year they post a Top Ten list of banned books for that year.
In the past 15 years, ten of my favourite books have been on these lists.
For Top Ten Tuesday, here is my list of 10 books I’ve read and enjoyed and have been on the Top Ten list of banned books at least once.
- Harry Potter by J.K.Rowling This amazing series has been on the list several times, cited for violence and having themes of Satanism/occult.
- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. Maya’s gut-wrenching memoir proved to be too sexually explicit for some people.
- The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. The reasons this novel was banned were for offensive language and being sexually explicit as well as being unsuited by age group.
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. A book that still resonates since I read it as a teen. It has been banned for offensive language, racism and being unsuited to the age group.
- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I thoroughly enjoyed the series, yet others found it violent, sexually explicit and unsuited for the age group.
- Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. The scary part of this book, is that so much of what is happening now, Huxley predicted so long ago. It has been cited for insensitivity, offensive language, racism and being sexually explicit.
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. Alexie explores important themes, especially relating to native youth. It has received so many objections: anti-family, sexuality explicit, violence, drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, unsuited for age group.
- Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. This is a challenging book to read but well worth the read. The reasons for banning it included being sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited for the age group, drugs/alcohol/smoking.
- The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger. It has been on the banned list for a long time – for being sexually explicit, offensive language and being unsuited for the age group.
- Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. Published in 1937, it was a stark book about an unlikely pairing. It has been cited for offensive language, racism and violence.
In honour of Banned Books Week, I am going to have to read a few more of these banned books. We have a right to read (and enjoy!) what we want to read.
Luckily, Banned Books seem to be on the down trend, but I have a friend who wasn’t allowed to read Harry Potter growing up! If they could try and ban books that are published now… A large majority have many themes that would be banned. I venture to say there’s no YA book that wouldn’t be challenged/banned!
When the first Harry Potter book came out, I read it to a gr. 4 class. The next year, I had several parents complain – that they didn’t want my then class to hear it. So I did not read it. I have since listened to myself – and not be influenced. Kids need exposure to all kinds of books.
Harry Potter. Friends, my mom, the church pastor, a co-teacher, about 70% of people I know advised me against it. I bought all books in the series, read about two of them three times, and I’m still a happy, law-abiding muggle.
I lovedx the series as well. Loved the movies too.