First Steps is a new segment that was inspired but the Literary Exploration Reading Challenge. Each week or two, we look at books from different themes, genres or maybe authors and suggest some that are worth trying. Not necessarily all easy to read books but the ones that are worth the time and effort. My goal is to have First Steps guide you to some great books in places you don’t normally venture to.
To celebrate banned book week and because I’ve been asked for some suggestions on what to read, I thought I would share a couple of books that you should check out. I’m not going to focus on high literature or the controversial books but rather some great reads in a few different genres and styles.
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
Persepolis is the autobiography of Satrapi, growing up within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution. She balances the plot between her private and public life, in a country plagued by political upheaval. I can’t recommend this graphic novel enough, if you have never tried a comic then try this one.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
The ultimate book about the problems with banning books and ironically it managed to get banned. Guy Montag is a fireman, his job is to burn books; the source of all discord and unhappiness. Guy is unhappy with his life and there is discord in his marriage. A terrifyingly prophetic novel of a post-literate future.
Yes, this book was banned; a classic children’s novel that is probably the best example of the literary nonsense genre. This book plays with logic and narrative structure making this book popular among adults as well as children. I love this book and it is full of witty and amusing puns.
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
One of my favourite dystopian novels out there, A Clockwork Orange is just weird and a real khorosho (horrorshow). A Clockwork Orange tells the story of Alex, your humble narrator; a disturbing 15 year old anti-hero, until the government tried some experimental behaviour-modification treatment on him.
My all-time favourite, a book I read again and again. There are so many different themes you can pull out of this novel and it infuses elements from the Romantic Movement, gothic, horror and science fiction. Everyone has an idea of what this book is about but just how different is it to its pop culture references.
I can’t recommend banned books without Lolita getting a look in. The highly controversial novel of Humbert Humbert, a middle-aged literature professor and his obsession with twelve year-old Dolores Haze. You may not enjoy reading this book but you might enjoy having read it.
Feel free to suggest some more banned books and even recommend some to me that I should check out. I have plans to read Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (a recent addition to the banned books list) this week but I can’t seem to get a copy, so I might be late with my banned book reading.