Blog 04.02.2022

Banned Books To Read Now

“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.”

 –Ray Bradbury

The act of banning books is beyond wrong. First, we must ask the powers that be, “why is this being banned?” If there’s information that’s being censored, it’s probably something we need to know. Keeping people uninformed and in the dark is what so many societies have tried to keep people complacent, keep them from asking questions, etc. The truth is we must challenge authority, that’s commonplace. We must ask questions in order to understand and make progress, in order to bring about change. 

A work of art should never be banned; that’s why we have free speech. Freedom of speech is all about ideas we’re uncomfortable with and do not necessarily agree with. That’s the entire point of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Banning books is like burning them—cutting off a society from knowledge, as in Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451,” 1953.

To ban and cut people off from information, knowledge, and, in this case, works of genius is dangerous. To ban creative expression (especially when it speaks truth which is often very unpopular) is a crime of the highest order.

Banned Authors We Love 

Books that deal with the most important topics, such as race, sex, gender, religion, and politics, are always the popular ones that, instead of getting shelved, are censored, removed from libraries and institutions of higher learning by the narrow-minded in charge.

Now, if you’re a parent, you have control, of course, over what a young child reads, but a school or a library should not. And then there’s always the wonderful joy of being an adolescent who hears about Henry Miller or D.H. Lawrence and, curious, sneaks a copy from the top shelf in his/her parents’ library and is thrilled for a whole new world has been discovered! New thoughts and ideas that are probably not even understood until later in life become, later on, truly profound. Books help us to feel less alone, and we learn about the world and all its troubles and joys, too, through literature.

  • Henry Miller, “Tropic of Cancer” (1934): “There will be more calamities, more death, more despair. Not the slightest indication of a change anywhere. The cancer of time is eating us away.” Miller, an American ex-pat living in Paris, wrote of life as a struggling writer whose candid, honest sexuality and blunt language ruled the page.
  • Toni Morrison, “The Bluest Eye” (1970), “Paradise” (1998), and “Song of Solomon” (1977) have all been censored and banned at one time or another due to honest, unflinching depictions of racism and, in the case of “The Bluest Eye,” a little black girl who succumbs to madness.
  • Mark Twain, “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” (1884) is a milestone in literature and, because of frank, realistic language, has also been on the banned book list.
  • D.H. Lawrence, “The Rainbow” (1915), “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” (1928), and “Women in Love” (1920) have all been banned for frank depictions of sex and sexuality. 

Read Banned Books

“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.” 

–James Baldwin

Must-Read Banned Children’s Books: 

“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” by Roald Dahl, 1964

“The Witches” by Roald Dahl, 1983

“Little House on the Prairie” by Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1932

“The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum, 1900

“A Light in the Attic” by Shel Silverstein, 1981

Must-Read Banned Books For Young Adult Readers:

  • “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding, 1954
  • “The Scarlet Letter” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1850
  •  “Call of the Wild” by Jack London, 1903
  •  “Night” by Elie Wiesel, 1956
  • “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1925

For more information on books you should be reading, check out Full Cycle Publications and see what’s on the blog. 

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