Thursday, August 04, 2011

When I told Nathan I was going to make my summer reading list out of banned books,

he looked at me kind of funny and said, "Band books?" What can I say? He knows me well. We both love music, but we both know books about bands are mainly crap written by superfans and are often subtitled, "The Unauthorized Biography" as in "Thom York Rocks: The Unauthorized Biography." Very meh.

What happened was this: As I was making my summer reading list, I realized that several of the titles I listed had been banned/censored/challenged over the years, so I thought... why not make my summer reading list of banned books? That could be interesting. Just to read and see what someone else might have found offensive or objectionable.

I started with Gone With the Wind, which I've always wanted to read. Which is 3000 pages long. So that was basically the only book I read this summer.

And without giving you any spoilers, I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. Until the last fifteen pages. If you've read it and you want to chat about how infuriating and wrong the whole thing is, let me know. We can grab a cup of coffee and chat about how the ending goes down.

Anyway, I've decided to continue this reading of banned books for the year.
Right now I'm reading In Cold Blood and The Handmaid's Tale. Both fantastic so far.

In my searches for books that have been banned and/or challenged over the years, I found quite an extensive list:
The Color Purple
Little Women
Harry Potter (I read the first one years ago, so I think I'll continue with the second.)
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
East of Eden
July's People
Flowers in the Attic
A Day No Pigs Would Die
Rabbit, Run
Invisible Man
Steal This Book
Running with Scissors
The Sun Also Rises
Slaughterhouse Five
Stranger in a Strange Land
Olive's Ocean
A Prayer for Owen Meany
Sophie's Choice
How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents
How to Eat Fried Worms
100 Years of Solitude
Then Again, Maybe I Won't
The Bean Trees
Go Ask Alice
Pillars of the Earth
Doctor Zhivago
Harriet the Spy
Native Son
A Series of Unfortunate Events
Grapes of Wrath

Have you read any of these titles? Which did you like?


kori said...

I loved, loved East of Eden! I had a copy of it for years and years but could never read more than the first paragraph. One day, I just picked it up and started reading it and I was hooked. Good read indeed. Thanks for sharing your list! I'm reading The Power of One right now...I'm sure it's been banned somewhere...also a good read!

ann @ my life as prose said...

i've read invisible man, slaughter house five (i think?), a prayer for owen meany, & grapes of wrath. of those, grapes of wrath was my favorite, hands down. :) beautifully written. steinbeck is a genius.

Laura said...

If I lived in Austin, I would totally commiserate with you over GWTW. I've always said the first chapter is the very best part, and then it's all downhill from there. But it's still a favorite.

Harriet the Spy was one of my favorites growing up. I remember copying a lot of the things she did.

I would definitely recommend The Color Purple and Invisible Man and Running with Scissors. (Although, Burroughs' "Dry" was his best book.)

To Kill a Mockingbird and The Great Gastby were also banned at some point.

Amy Russell said...

East of Eden is one of my favorite books ever. I definitely recommend it.

That Chelsea Girl™ said...

I was incredibly pissed when I finished Gone With The Wind. But the historical content it contains, is fascinating. I recently re-watched Gone With The Wind (the movie), and have been thinking about rereading it. Now I know I should! And we should definitely discuss it one day!
And East of Eden--Steinbeck is one of my favorite American authors.
Ahhh! Great list.

amy said...

Kori-- Can't wait to read it!

Ann-- It's kind of embarrassing how few classics I've read, so I'm definitely taking this chance to catch up.

Laura-- I love Mockingbird and Gatsy! I may have to reread them, when I've gone through some of these titles.

Amy-- It's next on my list!

Chelsea-- Don't you get the feeling that Margaret Mitchell almost meant for it to have a sequel? Maybe not, but that's my impression. It's really such a shame that she died before she was able to write anything else. Apparently, a sequel was written by someone else and it's completely horrible.

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