Banned Books Week
It’s Banned Books Week, the yearly event always sneaks up on me! This year, I failed to intentionally choose a specific banned book with which to celebrate the week in time. Instead, I decided to revisit the lists the ALA has on their website of banned and challenged books and take another tally of how many I’d read. No matter how many times I look at the list, I’m sure to discover more titles on there that leave me stunned. Some of those books have been amongst my favorites of all time, and I cannot imagine being told I can’t read them.
So, I decided to put together my top five favorite banned books (so far)! I still have many more to read, but I’ve already discovered some wonderful gems.
- Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston: This one is a beautiful coming of age story with which I absolutely fell in love. I’ve read it twice to date (that’s a lot for me!) and plan to read it many more times.
- Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden: I listened to Rebecca Lowman read this book about two teenage girls who fall in love at a time when such things were rarely done and was swept away in the story.
- The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling: I love this series for its creativity, its characters, its magical world, and its lessons. I also think it’s brought people to reading who may not otherwise have picked up a book.
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: I recently revisited this classic novel on audio, as read by Sissy Spacek. I’ve been lending my copy to the members of my book group, and everyone has raved about it. If you’ve yet to experience this book, do yourself a favor and find a copy!
- Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov: Yes, the premise of this one is creepy, but the novel is so spectacularly executed that it deserves the place among great literature it’s attained. Next time I pick this one up, it will be on audio!
What’s your favorite banned book?
BAND: Non-fiction Audiobooks
Switching gears a bit, I decided to participate in BAND’s monthly discussion for the first time! What is BAND, you might ask? Why, it’s the Bloggers’ Alliance of Non-Fiction Devotees, a joint effort between some fantastic bloggers whose goal is to “advocate non-fiction as a non-chore.”
Now, I’m not very good at non-fiction. I wouldn’t say reading it feels like a chore, but I also don’t gravitate toward it when it’s time to choose my next book. I’m hoping participating in BAND will inspire me to do a better job balancing my reading.
“If you’ve listened to non-fiction audio books before: What did you enjoy most about the experience? What’s your favorite non-fiction audio book?”
I like this topic, because audiobooks make me happy. I have listened to some non-fiction audiobooks and, overall, enjoyed them. Actually, in looking back at my recent reading, most of my non-fiction has been in audio format.
I think there are two reasons I tend to shy away from non-fiction:
- Let’s be honest…some (not all!) of it can be dry. When there’s an enticing novel waiting just a few shelves away, I’m loath to pick up the less exciting option.
- It often takes me longer to read non-fiction, which means I really have to want to read such a book to be willing to devote extra time to it.
What’s so neat about audiobooks is that they can (though don’t always) solve both problems. The right narrator can enliven even drier non-fiction, making it more exciting to experience. And with someone else reading, I don’t have to settle for my slow pace yet never find myself struggling to keep up. So, to answer Cass’s question, my favorite part of listening to non-fiction on audio is how the format allows me to overcome the usual hurdles that stand between me and all those non-fiction books!
As for a favorite non-fiction audiobook, most of the ones I’ve listened to have been excellent. I think I’ll have to choose The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (read by Cassandra Campbell) as my top favorite, but The Professor and the Madman by (and read by) Simon Winchester was really good as well.
What about you? Do you listen to non-fiction audiobooks? If so, do you have a favorite? If not, do you think you’d ever give them a try?