It’s Banned Books Week! As an English major and lifelong book nerd, I’ve read my share of controversial books – and because I grew up in a fairly conservative part of the country, some of those books had even more appeal because of their contraband status. Here are some of my favorite banned books:

Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

To be honest, I’m always mystified that anyone would ban this book. It touches many of the most important issues in our lives: family, love, fear, class, race, and more. Just reading the line “Jean Louise, stand up, your father is passin'” makes the hair on the back of my neck stand on end.

Lois Lowry, The Giver

It’s a beautiful, if tragic, parable about the way we go through life not really seeing what’s around us. And what adolescent kid doesn’t feel like they hold all the misery of the entire world inside of them?

Vladmir Nabokov, Lolita

Subject matter nonwithstanding, this is a beautifully written book. The first chapter borrows from Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “Annabel Lee,” and Nabokov manages to make the main characters about so much more than just their sexuality.

Katherine Paterson, Bridge to Terabithia

I won’t spoil this book for you if you haven’t read it, but the reason one of my teachers gave me for not reading it was “it’ll make you cry.” However, not everything that makes you cry is bad – sometimes those tears can be moving. Paterson is a top notch young adult writer – I also highly recommend Jacob Have I Loved, banning or no banning.

John Knowles, A Separate Peace

Find me a fourteen year old who didn’t have a sarcastic phase, a la the characters in this book. Yeah, that’s what I thought. Plus, this is my mom’s favorite book, so it deserves a shoutout just for that.

Do you have a favorite banned book? (You can view a partial list of books that are often banned or censored here). Tell us yours in the comments and we’ll see if there are enough people to do a book club.