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Five Must-Read Banned Books

5 Banned Books

In honor of Banned Books Week (September 21st – 27th) and the freedom to read, I’ve complied a list of some of my favorite books that have been banned and/or challenged over the years. It’s been a while since I’ve read some of these (was freshman year of high school really 10 years ago?), but they still hold a place in my heart.

1. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller: Described as a cornerstone of American literature, it’s worth the read for the “indecent” language that got it banned in 1972 (reinstated in 1976).

2. Beloved by Toni Morrison: Beloved was the first Toni Morrison novel I ever read (The Bluest Eye being the second), and it opened my eyes to more issues than any other book had previously. But some didn’t think it was appropriate.

3. Looking For Alaska by John Green: Challenged for drugs and sexually explicit material, Looking for Alaska is a YA novel that tackles more adult themes than you’d realize at first glance. I think there are several less talked about themes here, including the idea that we are responsible for each other’s actions and that it is necessary for the human condition for us to make an effort to understand one another.

4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: I think this is still on the reading for most high schoolers in the United States. This was the first book that ever had me discussing racism in an academic setting. While the author viewed her book as a simple love story, it is reflective of our societal values.

5. Slaugherhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut: I only recently read this one, and while I was admittedly, a little confused by the style at first (how does one even become “unstuck” in time?), but eventually I felt that it was worth my time, and it’s worth yours too.

What banned or challenged books do you recommend?

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About the Author

Nicole Booz

Nicole Booz is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of GenTwenty, GenThirty, and The Capsule Collab. She has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and is the author of The Kidult Handbook (Simon & Schuster May 2018). She currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two sons. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s probably hiking, eating brunch, or planning her next great adventure.


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