Rebel Readers

Northwest One LibraryRead FeedChevy Chase LibraryShepherd Park (Juanita E. Thornton) LibraryMartin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library - Central LibraryMt. Pleasant Library

Rebel Readers

Uncensored books for the uncensored mind

Explicit language, homosexuality, politics, violence. Just a few reasons why certain books are deemed unsuitable for society by the "conservative" reader. Imagine what our world be like if we did not have those who dared to push the envelope? As Banned Books Week approaches, let us take some time out of our busy day to honor those authors who not only crossed the line, but erased it. But let's not limit that acknowledgement to authors in the United States. Let's cross our borders and look at writers around the world who shook things up in their homeland. Enjoy! 

Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and the His Struggle with IndiaJoseph Lelyveld 
Banned in the Gujarat state in India, Great Soul has been accused of insinuating that India's most revered leader may have been bisexual. Although the author denies this, others aren't so sure. When you read this be sure to pay extra attention to Gandhi's relationship with the German architect, Hermann Kallenbach. There will be a book club discussion at the Chevy Chase Library on September 20, so be sure to drop in.

From a Crooked RibNuruddin Farah
Banned in Somalia, Farah spoke out against the treatment of women in Somalia and the horrific female genital mutilation. From a Crooked Rib (published in 1968) follows a young woman, Ebla, as she runs away from home to get out of an arranged marriage and struggles to build a life for herself in a world where "women are sold like cattle".

The ZahirPaulo Coelho 
Banned in Iran, The Zahir is simply a story about a man searching for his wife who ends up finding himself. It is set in France, not Iran. Zahir is an Arabic word meaning obvious, apparent, manifest. There seems to be no explanation as to why this book was banned in Iran. Anyone who has Paulo Coelho's works before can tell that his books normally involve exploration of the self and end with the character reaching an "enlightenment". If that doesn't appeal to you, just remember: this book is considered taboo so you would be considered a rebel for picking it up.

CandyMian Mian
Banned in China for three reasons: sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll. Readers get a glimpse into the underground world of China in the 80's and 90's. However, there is so much more to this novel than that. Readers meet Hong, a teenager released from jail who goes south in search of work, but loses her way in the midst of her newfound freedom. 

The Satanic VersesSalman Rushdie
Banned in over ten countries, The Satanic Verses, became a huge controversy in the Muslim community because of it blasphemous references to Islam. The novel follows two men that survive a plane explosion, one becomes an angel and the other evil. The "satanic verses" is a reference to verses found in the Quran said to have been spoken by the Prophet Muhammad in which he had mistaken to be "divine revelation". In Arabic these verses are known as "qissat al-gharaniq" (the story of Cranes).

Join the Book Club!
Mount Pleasant LibraryUncle Bobby's Wedding by Sarah S. Brannen
Juanita E. Thorton/Shepherd Park LibraryI Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Northwest One LibraryIn the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
Northwest One LibraryBeloved by Toni Morrison
Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library: Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

Looking for Banned Books Week programs? Check out our calendar!