“I’d rather have a goddam horse. A horse is at least human, for God’s sake.”
– from The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
What do J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, George Orwell’s Animal Farm, and J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy have in common? Each book is a classic, having captivated generations of readers and changed the way people thought about society, politics, and the bounds of imagination. Each book, of course, includes unforgettable horses. And all of them have been banned.
Tolkien’s books were even burned. In America. In 2001.
✅ Best The Catcher in the Rye Book
The Curser in the Rye – This book gets a lot of criticism. It is aimless. It is vulgar, in a 1950s sort-of way. It is depressing. The protagonist is unlikable. These criticisms are all partially true—but perhaps it takes someone who has felt alienated to understand the protagonist and this type of narration. Also, the heavily symbolic nature of this book, from the hunting hat, to the ducks in the lagoon, to the carousel in the final scene, make this a thoroughly satisfying text — they shift in meaning throughout, and give the book a “cohesion” that tie together its seemingly loosen ends.
✅ Best The Lord of the Rings Book
A Symphony of Words – Describing this book is quite simply impossible. The story itself was written as six novels, with depth given to even the trees and shrubs so that the reader could really imagine what Tolkien himself was. Highly recommend this book. It is a high fantasy classic for a reason. Character development is first rate among all genres. No clear use of deus ex machina like in most fantasy stories. Every step feels full and heavy. Many parts of the story really have you believing you can no longer read another line (in a good way) while a certain character feels he can’t take another step. It is filled with wisdom, and has been edited for over 50 years now. Do yourself and those around you a favor and read this book. If you hate fantasy, you will love this. If you love fantasy, you will be bewildered at the amount of thought that is placed at each step, and the connection you feel with the story. …no, the movies are not better, but they could not have been done any better to represent such a masterpiece.
✅ Best Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Book
Good budget version of the amazing story. – This is by far the most exciting book out of the first three. As the characters mature within the HP universe, so does the ever growing sense that Harry Potter is being groomed to face Hogwarts greatest foe. There’s a sense of repetitive narrative amongst the three books as far as the character arcs and plot twists, which rely on the complex relationship between the Gryffindor gang and Slytherin camp. But I understand that’s the point of the series. Very emotive book with a pleasing conclusion.
Intellectual freedom is the cornerstone of a functioning democracy: the freedom to think, to read, and to share ideas is the foundation of our ability to imagine and create change. To promote and support that essential freedom to read, the American Library Association annually celebrates Banned Books Week:
“Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community –- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types –- in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.”
At the ALA website, you can learn more about Banned Books Week and how censorship affects you – and your two- and four-legged loved ones. Maybe this year there’s an event you’d like to join, or a favorite banned or challenged book you’d like to revisit …or share! How about J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, with its wonderful pegasi and thestrals? Those were the #1 banned or challenged books of the decade, 2000-2009.
It’s an old chestnut that “wherever you have two horse-people, you’ll have three opinions.” By celebrating Banned Books Week and actively preserving intellectual freedom, hopefully that will remain true. Because when the covers of books are forcibly shut, next close the doors of libraries, schools, and the halls of government. As George Orwell wrote in his banned book Animal Farm, when the promise of equality is torn down, a new, chilling sign goes up:
“All animals are equal – but some animals are more equal than others.”