Celebrating the Freedom to Read: Banned Books Week (BBW) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States.
After perusing the 100 most commonly banned or challenged books of the 20th century, I realized that a lot of them are novels I rank as my favorites. And, oftentimes, the reasons for the banning/challenges are frivolous (e.g. use of the word “whore”) or entirely inaccurate (e.g. failure to see the books is a satire, and therefore not to be taken literally).
Well, in honor of BBW, I think we should all go out and buy — yeah, spend some money! — a banned or challenged book. Here are a few that I highly recommend:
5 out of 5 stars.
The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
1984, by George Orwell
Lolita, by Vladmir Nabokov
This book has the best opening line — not to mention one of the most wacky, endearing, and confusing cast of characters imaginable.
“It was love at first sight. The first time Yossarian saw the chaplain he fell madly in love.”
Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway
Slaughterhouse Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut (All Time Favorite #2)
Filled with Vonnegut’s typically bizarre characters and twisted plots, this book overflows with Vonnegut’s insight and uncomfortable truths.
“Busy, busy, busy.”
A Separate Peace, by John Knowles
The Awakening, by Kate Chopin
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
Candide by Voltaire
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
What are your favorite banned/challenged books? Did you attend a school where you weren’t allowed to read certain titles? Do you have any suggestions for me to read?