Banned Books that I Read

Throughout the centuries and around the world, governments banned books for political, ideological and religious reasons, curbing freedom and creativity. After a quick search online, I discovered that at least seven of the books that I remember reading were banned in some countries at specific points in time.

 

1984 by George Orwell

This dystopian novel was banned in the Soviet Union, since Stalin considered it to be a satire of his leadership. It is set in a time of permanent war, government surveillance and public manipulation. There is only one party that is personified in the Big Brother. In this context, Winston, a rewriter of historical events, has an affair with Julia, who opposes the party.

 

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Banned in South Africa during the Apartheid, this classic delves into how a creator deals with the destructive actions of his creation, while making interesting observations on discrimination and economic inequality. Readers follow what happens after Victor Frankenstein manages to animate lifeless matter and the creature born of that experiment doesn’t meet his expectations. Continue reading

Books I Struggled to Rate

Sometimes, as soon as I finish a book, I instantaneously know how many stars I’m going to award it. Other times, to choose one from only five numbers becomes a hugely challenging task. My main difficulty, so far, has been deciding whether some books were 3 or 4-star reads. There was also an instance when I was unsure whether a book deserved a 2 or a 3-star rating.  However, I’ve never had indecisions involving possible 5-star reads – those are just faultless books in my eyes, easy!

Since I’ve started this blog, the following books were the ones that I remember struggling the most to rate.

 

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

In All the Light We Cannot See, readers are introduced to the stories of Marie-Laure and Werner, whose lives are deeply affected by the events of the Second World War. The overall story is quite inspiring, and I really appreciated the ending. However, I didn’t immediately connect with the characters, mainly because of the structure of the book, which felt too fragmented. I was unsure whether to rate it with 3 or 4 stars. I ended up going for a 4-star rating and now feel like it was the right choice. Continue reading

‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ by Lewis Carroll

My rating: 3 stars

I finished reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll some weeks ago and wasn’t going to review it. However, I changed my mind, as I have to get some things off my chest. Although I acknowledge that this is quite an imaginative story, I am failing to understand why it is considered a children’s classic. This is not a bad book at all, it just doesn’t have much of a plot besides Alice falling down the rabbit hole and getting involved in some crazy situations.

Once Alice gets to Wonderland, she encounters a vast number of characters, such as the White Rabbit, the Caterpillar, the Hatter, the Queen of Hearts and the Cheshire Cat. None of them are well developed, since the reader doesn’t get to know much about their traits and backgrounds. Two things are certain though: they all seem to be quite mad and their interactions don’t make much sense. The meeting between the Cheshire Cat and Alice during which she asks him “How do you know I’m mad?” and he replies “You must be. Or you wouldn’t have come here” is one of the rare occasions when the dialogue between the characters makes perfect sense.

If we imagine that all the mad encounters that take place are nothing more than a dream, then what happens in the story makes sense in a way. However, for me that possibility doesn’t transform this book into an extraordinary one, but only a satisfactory one at best, since the story doesn’t seem to go anywhere. While reading it, I kept looking for an occurrence that could be perceived as a true moment of confrontation that would lead to a resolution. But I really couldn’t find one. The Queen of Hearts asking for everyone’s heads and the trial looked more like extra moments of madness, adding to the already extensive list of those occasions. Continue reading