I read Banned Books…and you should too!

I read Banned Books…and you should too!


Censorship is something that terrifies me, because losing the ability to read other people’s tales of expression is probably one of the things that I value most in life. I believe in choice and learning – but even more so, I believe in challenging our current assumptions and forcing ourselves to see other views and hear other stories.

This week is Banned Books Week, which you can learn more about here, if you haven’t heard about it in the over 30 years that it has been celebrated.

And because creating a Top 10 List is super fun, here are my Top 10 favorite books that have been banned and/or created controversy:

  1. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
    I have read this book twice, once in my early twenties and once in my early thirties – and my viewpoint changed dramatically. Even so, this book tells a fascinating story about a family making their way – and learning forgiveness.
  1. Lolita, by Vladmir Nabokov
    When I read Lolita in college, I felt very smart. I still feel smart for having read Lolita. It’s seductive and maybe…well, wrong, but incredible literature not to be ignored.
  1. Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
    Reading this book as a teenager is like a right of passage. If we want the next generation to understand the many references people make about Lord of the Flies (and we want a smart next generation, right?), then we should keep this on the reading list.
  1. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
    I will simply never forget this book. The imagery, beautiful storytelling and the haunting pieces will be with me forever.
  1. Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
    When I read this as a teenager I realized that I did not have huge problems and that life was pretty darn good. This anonymous diary, written by Beatrice Sparks in the ‘70s still resonates today.
  1. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
    Maya Angelou’s autobiography is a must read –and points to important issues still facing us every day (literacy, rape, and race to name a few)
  1. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
    Ok, I get it that Hunger Games may not be for everyone, but banning it? Really? Hunger Games takes the reader to another world, a place struggling for survival in the most real sense, and we get to watch heroes emerge. The Hunger Games series is one of my all-time favorites.
  1. The Giver, by Lois Lowry
    A classic.
  1. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
    If you have not read this book, please, please read it.
  1. Harry Potter!
    Witches, wizards and magic – yes please! I could never pick just one favorite of the Harry Potter series, so please do not make me. The Harry Potter books are some of the best books I have ever read.

Celebrate the freedom to read by adding one of these books, or another frequently challenged book, to your TRB list!