From September 22-28, 2019 Fully Booked invites bookworms to celebrate Banned Books Week, a timely reminder that people fought for the freedom to read.
Despite censorship (or attempts at censorship), these books continue to occupy bookshelves, make it to bestsellers lists, and have tv and film adaptations win the hearts of viewers the world over—proof that stories worth telling will, somehow, find their way into the world.
Scroll down to find a list of banned books to add to your to-be-read pile right now. If you need more convincing, perhaps their onscreen versions could get you to crack open a book.
The Harry Potter Series, J.K. Rowling
The series about “the boy who lived” has been sparking controversy since the first book was published in 1997. Many parents and religious groups were outraged saying it promoted violence and witchcraft to young readers. Despite success, the series still finds itself under fire. Most recently—22 years, 7 books, 8 movies, and several spin-offs later—a school in Tennessee had the books removed from its library for fear that students could conjure evil spirits.
The Color Purple, Alice Walker
The book about African-American women’s struggles in the 1930s served as the basis for Steven Spielberg’s 1985 film starring powerhouse acts Oprah Winfrey and Whoopi Goldberg. Despite being challenged for tackling domestic violence, racism, and sexism, the book went on to win a Pulitzer Prize in 1983, while the movie made a killing in the box office.
A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L’Engle
The first in a series of books by Madeleine L’Engle, A Wrinkle in Time follows the story of a young girl’s magical quest to find her long-lost father. The best-selling novel faced an intense amount of scrutiny for its religious content and portrayal of witchcraft.
Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
Fahrenheit 451 may be the most inherently meta entry on a list of banned books. Here, Ray Bradbury lays out a dystopian future where books are outlawed and “firemen” enforce the ban by burning them.
In 2018, HBO produced a film adaptation starring Michael B. Jordan. Although critics didn’t love the film, the release proved that the book’s themes remain as relevant as when it was first published in 1953.
The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood
Originally published in 1985, Margaret Atwood’s controversial book explores many touchy subjects around women living under an oppressive regime. The book was banned for being sexually explicit and was deemed detrimental to spiritual values. Despite this, Hulu has found success with its Emmy-winning adaptation starring Elisabeth Moss.
Looking for Alaska, John Green
The author who made us weep with The Fault in Our Stars has had his fair share of controversy. Looking for Alaska is a story about a student reeling from the unexpected death of a classmate. Parents called the book “too racy to read” and wanted it banned for fear that the book would drive young readers to “experiment with pornography, sex, drugs, alcohol and profanity.”
Hulu will air the tv series adaptation later this year.
Good Omens, Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett
People have called this collaboration between two of the most distinguished English authors the funniest material about the apocalypse. The miniseries, released in May 2019 on Amazon Prime, received major backlash, including a petition to put the series to a halt for its take on good and evil. Both the book and miniseries were frowned upon by conservatives for being blasphemous.
All titles are available at Fully Booked, Ground Level, Santolan Town Plaza and R3 Level, Power Plant Mall.