In honor of Banned Books Week, a collection of ten personal favorites with highlighted quotes from each.
As the proverbial saying goes, people always want what they cannot have. Just as it applies to an illicit lover or the latest cost-prohibitive shiny thing, it also applies to what people desire to read.
Forbidden fruit is truly sweeter. Consequently, whenever a small-minded group bans a book from a certain demographic, it instantly becomes more seductive and fascinating, resulting ultimately in a larger readership. One simply must appreciate the irony.
It is shocking to see some of the epic, beloved works that have been restricted over the years. Let that be a reminder to us all when future works are pushed to be restricted as well.
I have not yet read everything on the banned list, nor have I loved all the ones that I have read. In honor of Banned Books Week, below are the ten best ones I have read thus far, listed in order of publication.
Fellow reading rebels, comment below and let me know what your favorite banned books are.
1. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell — 1936
Death, taxes and childbirth! There’s never any convenient time for any of them.
Until you’ve lost your reputation, you never realize what a burden it was or what freedom really is.
2. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston — 1937
There are years that ask questions and years that answer.
She had waited all her life for something, and it had killed her when it found her.
3. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck — 1939
And this you can know- fear the time when Manself will not suffer and die for a concept, for this one quality is man, distinctive in the universe.
And in the eyes of the people there is the failure; and in the eyes of the hungry there is a growing wrath. In the souls of the people the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage.
4. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien — 1954
Yet such is oft the course of deeds that move the wheels of the world: small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere.
And to that I hold. I would rather share one lifetime with you than face all the ages of this world alone.
5. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee — 1960
Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.
The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.
6. The Color Purple by Alice Walker — 1982
Time moves slowly, but passes quickly.
What I love best bout Shug is what she been through, I say. When you look in Shug’s eyes you know she been where she been, seen what she seen, did what she did. And now she know.
7. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling — 1997
It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.
To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.
8. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini — 2003
Better to get hurt by the truth than comforted with a lie.
There is only one sin, only one. And that is theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft. When you kill a man, you steal a life…When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness…There is no act more wretched than stealing.
9. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie — 2007
The world is only broken into two tribes: The people who are assholes and the people who are not.
I’ve learned that the worst thing a parent can do is ignore their children.
10. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins — 2008
For there to be betrayal, there would have to have been trust first.
May the odds be ever in your favor!