Reading Challenge 2015: The Banned and the Quirky

Banned books week is upon us.

Amazon has had some sweet kindle discounts in celebration.

This post has been expedited for that purpose.

Of course Popsugar’s 2015 Challenge includes a banned book.  Of course.  But the three books I am posting on today all feature quirky characters on the margins of others lives, the unnoticed, the weird, the ignored, or those who get attention for all the wrong reasons.

 A banned book:

the perks of being a wallflower

Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky

Banned for sexual content and drug use, I feel this book resonates with many teenagers struggling with a hidden mental illness/trauma and trying to find their place in the world. This book is a quick and easy read, chosen partly because it is so and also due to my deep and abiding love of YA fiction. The main character is absolutely a kid who hangs on the edges of life and watches how it plays out for others and spends his time trying to make efforts at participation, often urged by well-meaning others.  However, at a twist/reveal at the end he is quite central to a family tragedy. I imagine it is difficult after being a part of something like that to want to jump into the mainstream and participate more with others and with life.

A book that came out the year I was born: 1981 friends.

housekeeping

Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson

This slender novel is not a quick read. It is haunting. It forced me to slow down to absorb all it’s creepy and atmospheric goodness. Lots of death and darkness, speculation.  The narrator, Ruthie, is passed from her mother to her grandmother to her great aunts to and finally to her aunt Sylvie, a quirky drifter in herself. Her aunt Sylvie is fanciful and odd and the narrator falls in step with her. Her family is marginal and isolated from others, and the narrator continues this recession from others into the margins of society along with her aunt. Like in Perks of Being a Wallflower, others do not readily relate to either of them.  Rather than feeling isolated, the narrator does not really seem to mind. The vivid details of the book stick in my mind. I think I will have to re-read this in the future to absorb whatever I missed, and I am sure I missed things, despite my determination to absorb.

A popular author’s first book: This almost could have had Frankenstein, but I was deeply curious about how King started his prolific book publishing career.  I  wanted to know the book with which he busted onto the scene:

Carrie

Carrie, by Stephen King

I feel like if I want to be well versed in oft referenced books, I have to delve further into his works than I may want to. Last summer, I made it through It, which I liked.  Before that I read some short stories and I felt they were all the same.  Carrie is another one that tries to hide on the edges, but she exacts revenge. Instead of trying to “participate” or working even further from notice and connection with others, Carrie lets everyone know how she feels. I was not expecting it to be an epistolary novel but it sucked me right in and kept me going. This is often a banned book as well.  Of course this book was the start of something awesome.

Happy Banned Books Week!  What will you be reading?

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