Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Lainey. You basically get a new topic every Wednesday, and you list your Top 5 books related to that topic. Head over to the Goodreads group, and add your name to the list of Wednesday-ers if you’re interested in participating!
Today’s topic is “Top Five Banned Books You’ve Read.” This week is Banned Books Week. Every year, one week marks the celebration of books that were challenged or banned. The United States has made it illegal to ban books on a national level, but schools and libraries often ban books for whatever reason. As an avid reader myself, I have never – nor will I ever – support the banning of literature, no matter how offensive it is to what I believe in. So I’m going to take this opportunity to spotlight some of my favorite books that have been banned/challenged in the past.
Just another thought: some of my favorite books of all-time have been challenged in the past. I think the books that hold the most difficult material are those that are the most worthy of a read.
I will also take this opportunity to give a piece of my mind to people who challenge these books.
5. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
I think this book was challenged for containing explicit language. Okay, this book is targeted towards teens, particularly people around the age of 13 or 14, although older people can definitely read and enjoy it as well. What 13 or 14 year old doesn’t use “fuck” on a daily basis? They hear “fuck” everyday in school, or in movies, or on TV, or even on the streets! As for ignoring everything good a book has to offer – like messages of acceptance, of friendship and diversity – because there are some swear words is the peak of stupidity.
4. The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
I was actually quite shocked to learn that this series was banned. Apparently, it was challenged because it is violent (understandable but doesn’t justify banning) and anti-family (also understandable.) So here’s the thing. Yes, this series is violent- it’s perhaps one of the most violent YA trilogies out there. But kids are exposed to violence constantly- cartoons contain violence, video games and TV shows contain violence. Superhero movies have explosions and fighting in basically ever scene. And reading violence on page is much less effective than being visually stimulated by it. Anti-family because Katniss is bitter of her mother. Guess what? Families aren’t perfect. Families can be the most fucked up thing in a person’s life.
This series is important. It’s important in so many different ways- it leads youngsters to think about a world where you have to earn the right to even breathe. It’s interesting because I showed my cousins in Pakistan the movie, and they said it one of the most thought-provoking things they’d ever seen. There’s a brutal dictatorship and the power of the people. It teaches hope and justice– and it does that in an entertaining ass way.
3. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Here’s the irony. This book is about censorship. And this book was censored. Whaaaaat? Fahrenheit 451 was challenged for using offensive language, particularly the words “hell” and “damn” (words that are on most 10 year-olds tongues now), and it was also challenged for being anti-religious. I don’t really understand why, since the book has nothing to do with religion at all. Perhaps because it used God’s name in vain? Oh, well.
But this book is also important. It was basically one of the books that started the discussion on banned books and the issue of censorship. It is, arguably, one of the most powerful classics out there. And it truly depicts a world I would never want to live in. A world without books? Count me out.
2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Wow, is this a controversial book! It has been banned CONSTANTLY since 2003 for containing drug use (even though it doesn’t glorify it at all), sexual content (yes, because the characters are in their early teens when their hormones are acting up), homosexuality (it was banned in 2015 for being gay-positive- if that doesn’t tell you our society is fucked up, I don’t know what will) and masturbation. Yeah, masturbation. I wish parents would actually look at what their kids are doing instead of banning books?????????
This is one of my favorite books of all time. I read it in eleventh grade, and my life was forever changed. It focuses on very important issues, like mental health, drug abuse, and sexual abuse. It teaches lessons like the importance of friendship, the importance of a strong family structure, the importance of getting help when you need it. It’s a phenomenal book, and it should be read by everyone. It breaks my heart that this is shelved in the “adult” section in most bookstores, because it’s not an adult book. It’s a book that should be read by teenagers, because it’s important for them.
1. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
Banned for promoting witchcraft. Are you fucking serious? Is this the seventeeth century? Newsflash to people everywhere: magic doesn’t actually exist, so banning a tremendous series for promoting witchcraft is about the stupidest thing you can do. The witches/wizards in question are some of the most wonderful characters in literature everywhere. This series contains some of the most important messages, like friendship, the power of love, family, the inherent power of being good, of hope and relationships and truth. And it was banned because the characters wave wands? Jeez, I’m angry and I’m steadily losing faith in this world.