Yesterday started banned book week, the week where book lovers across the globe come together and celebrate the “freedom to read.” Banned Books Week is the week that you say NO to censorship and YES to reading, because people can easily be sucked into “for the good of the children” and “for the good of the community” arguments…and all I want to respond with, “let them read!” So here is my TOP TEN list of the MUST READ books on the TOP 100 Most Banned / Challenged ALA List.
Top 10 Must Read Banned Books
1. Harry Potter Series
Number 1 on the Top 100 List in 2001 & 2002 – The Harry Potter series is a must read, do I really have to tell you this? The reasons for it’s banning was because of occultism and satanism.
2. Forever by Judy Blume
I read this baby when I was twelve years old and it didn’t scar me for life or turn me into a promiscuous, loose morals woman. There is — yes — sex in it!!!! The book was number 2 in the most banned book list of 2005 for offensive language and sexual content.
3. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Hunger Games has been on the Top Ten list of most challenge books in 2013 & 2010, challenged because of being sexually explicit (don’t remember that), unsuitable for the age group, religious viewpoint and violence. Yes, this book has a bit of violence in it – but so does the REAL WORLD. Again, do I have to tell you to read this series? I didn’t think so.
4. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
This treasure is usually banned for racism and offensive language. I’m glad the people that read this book and challenged it really understood the text. Just shows off the intellect…
5. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Again, a display of the challenger’s intellect, the book is often challenged because of the offensive language and being sexually explicit. If you have ever read this book and really understood what this one is all about, well you would be shaking your head. It might not be one of my favorite books to read, it is really hard to read. But it is a must read.
6. Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause
Gaining attention because of a movie that was popular in the early 2000s, Klause’s story about werewolves and love that was published way before Twilight was added to the banned list in 2001 because it was sexually explicit and unsuitable to the age group.
7. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
This is a life changer type of book, the one that you read as a teenager and it makes you question life, liberty and all that existential stuff. I do recommend that this goes to an appropriate age group, like all of these books on this list. But, it’s not about censorship, it’s more about grasping the meaning. If these books are read at the right moment, they shape thinking and understanding and expose them to something real. Most of these books aren’t that violent, lewd or pornographic, which is a shame, because at least that is a reasonable reason to slap an 18+ label on it for censorship’s sake. Because, most of them will make that child think, it might not be pretty unicorns, happy rainbows, where everyone wins and triumphs as they cash in their lottery checks…but at least it’s real. At what age will a child be given “real” that is up to the parents to decide, but I know for a fact – the later in life they get real, the harder it is. But, that is my humble opinion. BRAVE NEW WORLD by Aldous Huxley is on the banned and challenged list most of the time, citing things like insensitivity (what is that?), nudity (is that a joke?), racism, religious viewpoint and sexually explicit content.
8. The Witches by Roald Dahl
THE WITCHES by Roald Dahl is what myself, and a few other million readers would call a literary classic, even though it is only about 30 years old (1983). Dahl’s work has been celebrated and hated since he published his first work in 1953, because Dahl wrote children’s books with an adult mind, meaning he didn’t write “down” to children. THE WITCHES is no different. Winner of numerous awards in both the U.S. and the U.K., the book is the story of a young boy who learns about witches from his grandmother and then has to later confront them. Witches hate children. Witches are quite evil. Some parents don’t like this book. A lot of parents don’t like the book, in the 90s, THE WITCHES consistently appeared on the banned and challenged list, it has dwindled down lower on the list in the 2000s, but that doesn’t mean it still isn’t controversial. The majority of the controversy comes because of the fact – well it’s about witches. And witches are naturally Satanic. So are the Smurfs by the way, if you didn’t get that memo. And when children read about Witches they might want to grow up and become a witch. Because these witches are so appealing. But, it’s also a bit scary, the witches don’t play quiddich and have cuddly friends.
9. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Another children’s classic, A WRINKLE IN TIME by Madeleine L’Engle has everything I wanted in a book when I was a child: fantasy, adventure and a girl with BRAINS! I’m not alone in my worship of this book, also. Wrinkle won the Newbery in 1963, just a year after it’s publication. The book is the story of Meg and the adventure she must go on to save her father. Her father is a scientist and his research had him discovering that the universe is under attack. Upon discovery he is taken by what is attacking the universe and Meg, her little brother, Charles Wallace and a new friend Calvin must find him. It is a wonderful story, but it is also a controversial one, appearing high on the banned and challenged lists in the 1990s. The book is considered “different” and that it undermines religious beliefs and promotes occult practices.
10. The Lorax by Dr. Suess
This one gets a BIG WTF? Right? The funny thing, it was banned in California of all places, because it painted logging in a bad way. Wouldn’t want to indoctrinate our children, would we? Because if something goes against our opinion, we must ban it.
I hope you enjoy this list, some of these books are just for enjoyment and some will change your life. The only thing they have in common is that a few people thought that these books were so bad that they must strike them from existence. Which no one has a right to do. At least not in this country. I am all about a person taking an active roll in their child’s reading life, I am a firm believer that you have to read the books before your children read them. Because there is always a time and a place. I wouldn’t hand my child IT or a Nora Roberts novel at the tender age of 8, even if she possessed the skills to read them. But, I also would not wish that those novels were banned from libraries just because my child goes there. No, it is my responsibility as a parent to watch what books or movies or video games my child rents or owns. And if there are controversial topics or things that go against my religious or political beliefs, to make another choice – do I block my child from being exposed to these “other” opinions or ideas, or do I let them make up their own minds? This is the question every parent must make and whichever way you fall on this issue, that is your right. Your opinion. But, when you try and block everyone from reading this opinion, idea or belief – well then you have a right to hear my opinion also and that is “get your narrow-minded belief system out of my sphere of existence.” Have your child take a 0 in that class if you feel that strongly, or request that your child read their own book…but don’t force the entire class, or school to bend because of your opinion. You have a right to it, but that doesn’t mean you have a right to force it on others.
Fight for the right to read.
If you think that this doesn’t happen, that there are not groups that actively try to restrict our exposure to some topics, ideas or beliefs, think again. ALA.org cites that from 2000 – 2009 there were over 5000 challenge or ban reports to the Office for Intellectual Freedom. This office is dedicated to fighting censorship and promoting intellectual freedom in libraries. It also happens quietly, a mother raises the question that the book is too gruesome for her sheltered youth, or that it promotes bad behavior or language, that a child shouldn’t read books like JUNIE B. JONES, because they might get the “wrong idea.” It doesn’t have to be some conservative Christian sect that hates homosexuals and perceives FROZEN as promoting same-sex marriage (don’t laugh – this is a true story!). A lot of the times it is just a few parents that want to protect their children from not so sparkly vampires and the parents that don’t agree with them are too scared of being perceived as bad parents to speak up against them. Don’t be afraid to speak up.
The Black Cat by Edgar Allen Poe
For the most wild, yet most homely narrative which I am about to pen, I neither expect nor solicit belief. Mad indeed would I be to expect it, in a case where my very senses reject their own evidence. Yet, mad am I not –and very surely do I not dream. But to-morrow I die, and to-day I would unburden my soul. My immediate purpose is to place before the world, plainly, succinctly, and without comment, a series of mere household events. In their consequences, these events have terrified –have tortured –have destroyed me. Yet I will not attempt to expound them. To me, they have presented little but Horror –to many they will seem less terrible than baroques. Hereafter, perhaps, some intellect may be found which will reduce my phantasm to the common-place –some intellect more calm, more logical, and far less excitable than my own, which will perceive, in the circumstances I detail with awe, nothing more than an ordinary succession of very natural causes and effects.
From my infancy I was noted for the docility and humanity of my disposition. My tenderness of heart was even so conspicuous as to make me the jest of my companions. I was especially fond of animals, and was indulged by my parents with a great variety of pets. With these I spent most of my time, and never was so happy as when feeding and caressing them. This peculiar of character grew with my growth, and in my manhood, I derived from it one of my principal sources of pleasure. To those who have cherished an affection for a faithful and sagacious dog, I need hardly be at the trouble of explaining the nature or the intensity of the gratification thus derivable. There is something in the unselfish and self-sacrificing love of a brute, which goes directly to the heart of him who has had frequent occasion to test the paltry friendship and gossamer fidelity of mere Man.
I married early, and was happy to find in my wife a disposition not uncongenial with my own. Observing my partiality for domestic pets, she lost no opportunity of procuring those of the most agreeable kind. We had birds, gold fish, a fine dog, rabbits, a small monkey, and a cat. This latter was a remarkably large and beautiful animal, entirely black, and sagacious to an astonishing degree. In speaking of his intelligence, my wife, who at heart was not a little tinctured with superstition, made frequent allusion to the ancient popular notion, which regarded all black cats as witches in disguise. Not that she was ever serious upon this point–and I mention the matter at all for no better reason than that it happens, just now, to be remembered.
Pluto–this was the cat’s name–was my favorite pet and playmate. I alone fed him, and he attended me wherever I went about the house. It was even with difficulty that I could prevent him from following me through the streets.
Our friendship lasted, in this manner, for several years, during which my general temperament and character–through the instrumentality of the Fiend Intemperance –had (I blush to confess it) experienced a radical alteration for the worse. I grew, day by day, more moody, more irritable, more regardless of the feelings of others. I grew, day by day, more moody, more irritable, more regardless of the feelings of others. I suffered myself to use intemperate language to my wife. At length, I even offered her personal violence. My pets, of course, were made to feel the change in my disposition. I not only neglected, but ill-used them. For Pluto, however, I still retained sufficient regard to restrain me from maltreating him, as I made no scruple of maltreating the rabbits, the monkey, or even the dog, when by accident, or through affection, they came in my way. But my disease grew upon me–for what disease is like Alcohol!–and at length even Pluto, who was now becoming old, and consequently somewhat peevish–even Pluto began to experience the effects of my ill temper.
One night, returning home, much intoxicated, from one of my haunts about town, I fancied that the cat avoided my presence. I seized him; when, in his fright at my violence, he inflicted a slight wound upon my hand with his teeth. The fury of a demon instantly possessed me. I knew myself no longer. My original soul seemed, at once, to take its flight from my body; and a more than fiendish malevolence, gin-nurtured, thrilled every fiber of my frame. I took from my waistcoat-pocket a pen-knife, opened it, grasped the poor beast by the throat, and deliberately cut one of its eyes from the socket! I blush, I burn, I shudder, while I pen the damnable atrocity.
When reason returned with the morning –when I had slept off the fumes of the night’s debauch–I experienced a sentiment half of horror, half of remorse, for the crime of which I had been guilty; but it was, at best, a feeble and equivocal feeling, and the soul remained untouched. I again plunged into excess, and soon drowned in wine all memory of the deed.
Hear the Audio Here | Read more of Poe’s short works here
The works of Edgar Allen Poe are within the public domain.
Share With Me Sunday
I’ve mentioned before that I read a lot more books than I review here on PJV. Part of the reason I had to leave my own blog *sniff* was because between obligations to family, work, and actually reading, I had less and less time to blog about the awesome books I was reading…
And while I have some pretty good books scheduled for review in the next few weeks, this week has been a little hectic on a personal level and I don’t have an actual review this weekend.
So, I thought I’d share what I’m currently reading, and maybe we can discuss a little problem I’m having…
What I’m reading now:
(links through clicking covers are amazon affiliate links)
While I was running errands yesterday I picked up Jaci Burton’s One Sweet Ride. I’m only up to page 50 but am enjoying it so far. I’ve read and enjoyed the other books in her Play by Play series (swoony sports heroes) so I’ve been looking forward to this one.
I also picked up Stay with Me by Elyssa Patrick because I love NA and rock-star heroes, although this has a twist and the heroine is the rock star (I think). I’m only a few pages in to this one but I have high hopes; I like the author’s writing style so far. (Is it just me or does the cover model look kind of like KStew? I’m pretty sure this book is vampire-free though)
I’m also getting ready to start The Long Way Home by Tara Brown. Anyone who knows me knows I love hockey romance! Love it!!! So this was kind of a no-brainer for me, especially at the cost of $1. (I’ll admit I’m nervous as it’s self-published so I’m hoping the editing is ok)
Your turn to share with me: So this little problem I’m having? I’m dying for a great shapeshifter romance or highland historical romance. Can you recommend something? Or feel free to mention any books you’ve read recently that knocked your socks off..
Despite the terrors of her past, Vanora has managed live a normal life in Austin with her roommate Rhonda and her boyfriend Dan. When it all falls apart and Armando comes back into her life, she realizes that she can't escape her destiny. Evil threatens her family, and Vanora must venture into the darkness to save everyone she cares about.
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So I thought I’d kick things off with the giveaway first. But yeah anyway this is the In Darkness We Must Abide read along!!! If you haven’t read any of this serial yet, I don’t know what you are waiting for.
What did I think? Hmm. This episode was so emotionally draining that I kind of want to block it out. Rhiannon Frater knows how to push my emotional buttons and she was all over it in this episode. She literally takes Vanora through the emotional ringer in all ways. Her boyfriend is kind of a sha-douche. Armando is well Armando, and she once again loses someone close to her. It really is Destruction and it’s something that Rhiannon does so well.
Discussion: How will the move back to her home affect Vanora?
In this episode for reasons left unsaid (by me) Vanora must return home. I’m hoping this means she gets to spend more time with Armando. But let’s face it, this is Rhiannon Frater. IF and that is a very big IF Vanora and Armando are to end up together they will have to work for it. What I actually thing is going to happen is more chaos. Seriously people Rhiannon Frater has the talent to torment her readers and leaving them begging for more. She is a true master!
Go check out the series!
Today we have author DW Adler telling us how he lays out his book. Thank you DW for taking time to visit with us!
Planner or Pantser? Do your characters babble in your head non-stop or do you see your worlds as films?
I’m a both a planner and pantser. I like to have an overall plan for where I want to take a book and though I don’t write down any kind of outline, the planner part of me keeps things in my head. For the pantser aspect, a lot of the scenes are written on the fly – I have a vague idea in my head of how I want them to pan out from my planning stage but nothing is fully defined until I sit and write.
The way that the story comes to me is like a movie that will play out in my head – I’ll see the characters, watch how they react to the situations that I want to put them through, and develop the story that way. I rarely write out notes as to me it’s redundant – I’m going to be writing it anyway. I also like to let my ideas cook up in my mind until I sit down and write it out, just in case a fresher idea comes to me about where I want to take the story. I’ll admit that has worked to my detriment a couple of times. There have been story ideas that have faded away and I couldn’t remember them afterwards but fortunately those times have been very rare so I just see it as something that wasn’t important to begin with.
About the author:
DW Adler (“Call me Don”) was born and raised in beautiful Nova Scotia, Canada. After receiving a degree in psychology and an almost-minor in Irish Studies, he learned how to fix computers. He now sweats profusely in Florida where he does IT support for a living when he’s not writing.
Don counts such authors as Anne Rice, JRR Tolkien, and Edgar Allan Poe, as well as a love for Irish/Celtic myth and folklore as his influences. He loves to read sci-fi, fantasy, post-apocalyptic, and anything having to do with vampires.
Other than sipping tea and writing, Don dabbles in computer animation and graphic design, goes on long walks with his wife, and enjoys the company of his two children. He is constantly plotting how to get back home to Nova Scotia and flees there whenever the sight of snow becomes a necessity.
No, he will not fix your computer.
You can visit and contact Don at www.dw-adler.com
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Romancing the Weekends: Patti’s in a ‘Book Funk’
I have not been able to finish a book for the last two weeks. Well, that’s not true, I did finish (and enjoy) Rachel Caine’s ‘Fall of Night‘ (Morganville #13). BUT, aside from that…nothing. I have started and stopped no less than 10 books and haven’t been able to get past 25%, if that.
I think part of my problem is that things have been crazy at work and I’ve been working overtime, coming home and not being in the right frame of mind to enjoy a book. Well, today starts my vacation, so I’ve decided to bring a few books with me, hoping vacay will ‘bust the funk’, so to speak I’m trying to mix it up – the only constant is that it has to be romance.
Here’s what I’m bringing:
Title: An English Bride in Scotland
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Author: Lyndsay Sands
Type: Historical Romance
Published: June 25, 2013 by Avon
The first in a new historical series set in the Highlands of Scotland, from Lynsay Sands, the New York Times bestselling author of the Argeneau vampire series and countless historical romances.
Annabel was about to take the veil to become a nun when her mother suddenly arrives at the Abbey to take her home… so that she can marry the Scottish laird who is betrothed to her runaway sister! She knows nothing about being a wife, nothing about how to run a household, and definitely nothing about the marriage bed!
But from the moment Ross MacKay sets eyes on Annabel, he is taken with his shy sweet bride… and the fact that she’s blessed with lush curves only makes him utter his own prayers of thanks. But when an enemy endangers her life, he’ll move the Highlands themselves to save her. For though Annabel’s not the bride he planned for, she’s the only woman he desires…
I’m not really a fan of historical romance, but if there are highlanders, clan wars, and ‘forced marriage’ tropes. I think this one’s going to be good.
Title: Tangled (Tangled #1)
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Author: Emma Chase
Type: Contemporary Romance
Published: May 19, 2013 by Omnific
Drew Evans is a winner. Handsome and arrogant, he makes multimillion dollar business deals and seduces New York’s most beautiful women with just a smile. He has loyal friends and an indulgent family. So why has he been shuttered in his apartment for seven days, miserable and depressed?
He’ll tell you he has the flu.
But we all know that’s not really true.
Katherine Brooks is brilliant, beautiful and ambitious. She refuses to let anything – or anyone – derail her path to success. When Kate is hired as the new associate at Drew’s father’s investment banking firm, every aspect of the dashing playboy’s life is thrown into a tailspin. The professional competition she brings is unnerving, his attraction to her is distracting, his failure to entice her into his bed is exasperating.
Then, just when Drew is on the cusp of having everything he wants, his overblown confidence threatens to ruin it all. Will he be able untangle his feelings of lust and tenderness, frustration and fulfillment? Will he rise to the most important challenge of his life?
Can Drew Evans win at love?
Tangled is not your mother’s romance novel. It is an outrageous, passionate, witty narrative about a man who knows a lot about women…just not as much as he thinks he knows. As he tells his story, Drew learns the one thing he never wanted in life, is the only thing he can’t live without.
Sometimes I just like to read about an asshole hero who’s changed by the love of a good woman. Not sure what that says about me, but there it is.
Title: The Fine Art of Truth or Dare
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Author: Melissa Jensen
Type: Young Adult
Published: February 16, 2012 by Speak
Ella is nearly invisible at the Willing School, and that’s just fine by her. She’s got her friends – the fabulous Frankie and their sweet cohort Sadie. She’s got her art – and her idol, the unappreciated 19th-century painter Edward Willing. Still, it’s hard being a nobody and having a crush on the biggest somebody in the school: Alex Bainbridge. Especially when he is your French tutor, and lessons have started becoming, well, certainly more interesting than French ever has been before. But can the invisible girl actually end up with a happily ever after with the golden boy, when no one even knows they’re dating? And is Ella going to dare to be that girl?
I bought this a few months ago and it’s been sitting on my shelf. The blurb kind of makes me think of ‘Anna and the French Kiss‘ by Stephanie Perkins, which I absolutely adored, so hopefully I’ll be swooning over this one too!
Title: Royal Street (Sentinels of New Orleans #1)
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Author: Suzanne Johnson
Published: April 10, 2012 by Tor
As the junior wizard sentinel for New Orleans, Drusilla Jaco’s job involves a lot more potion-mixing and pixie-retrieval than sniffing out supernatural bad guys like rogue vampires and lethal were-creatures. DJ’s boss and mentor, Gerald St. Simon, is the wizard tasked with protecting the city from anyone or anything that might slip over from the preternatural beyond.
Then Hurricane Katrina hammers New Orleans’ fragile levees, unleashing more than just dangerous flood waters.
While winds howled and Lake Pontchartrain surged, the borders between the modern city and the Otherworld crumbled. Now, the undead and the restless are roaming the Big Easy, and a serial killer with ties to voodoo is murdering the soldiers sent to help the city recover.
To make it worse, Gerry has gone missing, the wizards’ Elders have assigned a grenade-toting assassin as DJ’s new partner, and undead pirate Jean Lafitte wants to make her walk his plank. The search for Gerry and for the serial killer turns personal when DJ learns the hard way that loyalty requires sacrifice, allies come from the unlikeliest places, and duty mixed with love creates one bitter gumbo.
This is another book I’ve had for a while. Parajunkee gives it great raves, and since it’s set in New Orleans I’m definitely interested. I don’t think there’s much romance though, which is the reason I’ve hesitated to read it. I met the author while she was vising NOLA, so I’ll be bringing my signed copy on vacation.
Well, I think I’ve got a pretty good variety there. Anything you can recommend? Something I shouldn’t leave home without?