Every year, book lovers from around the world celebrate our freedom to read. Here at The Miscellany News, we believe in having the opportunity to read literature on a variety of topics, from sexuality and gender, to racism and white supremacy, in order to better understand the world we live in while appreciating the beauty of writing. We chose from an array of challenged and banned books from the American Library Association (ALA) and encourage everyone to pick up these must-reads:
Angie Thomas’ “The Hate U Give” is an awe-inspiring young adult novel of police brutality through the innocent account of sixteen-year-old Starr, who not only witnesses her friend get murdered, but stands up to do something about it. The words flow effortlessly and the plot thickens with every page turned. Simply witnessing Starr unravel the complicated evils of white supremacy is worth fighting every ban on this masterpiece.
This book was formative for me and my entire generation. Often regarded as the more cerebral counterpart to “Twilight,” Suzanne Collins’s young-adult dystopia was born of a thematic marriage between American reality T.V. and news coverage of the Iraq War. For so many people my age, “The Hunger Games” was a spectacular introduction to totalitarianism. It was a portent to one potential future, informed by both past and present brutality. But perhaps most importantly, it reminded us that the youth bear a special burden in moments of oppression and social unrest, and that we are uniquely empowered to make change. May the odds be ever in our favor.
As Opinions Editor, I’m always intrigued by stories about people’s opinions and voices. This one happens to be about the silencing of certain opinions, mainly those that are written, and I think it’s a really great representation of the consequences of censorship.
Whenever I see the bright lime-green cover of this book, “Heroes” by David Bowie immediately starts playing in my head. Maybe because my relationship with this story also extends to the 2012 film adaptation, an iconic cinematic masterpiece that captures the sentiments of the original novel. Overall, the novels’ exploration of serious topics, especially of mental health, distinguish “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” as an important novel to read, especially for young adults.
Since the time of its publication in 1960, Harper Lee’s novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” has been both praised and condemned. Despite attempts to ban this work and erase it from classrooms, this book is critical to teaching children about the troubled world we live in and the intricacies of how one’s actions can have a domino effect on the lives of others. While it is a story about racism, injustice and corruption, it is also one that explores the importance of being kind, open-minded and ethical. Banning this book in classrooms would do a disservice to past, present and future generations.
Lois Lowry’s “The Giver” is a timeless novel that has been one of my favorites since I first read it in sixth grade. Lowry’s writing is so comfortable and embracing, clearly in contrast with the dystopian world she has created. The story follows Jonas as he discovers that he is very different from the rest of his community—and in learning this, he begins to realize that maybe the way things are aren’t the way they should, or could, be. “The Giver” is the kind of story that sticks with you long after you finish reading its last (beautifully ambiguous) sentence and will always be relevant to read.