10 Books I Will Fight to Read

***Originally posted on HerCampus.com.

I have no problem with someone disliking a book, but when they attempt to hinder me from reading something, there’s an issue. I refuse to allow anyone to stop me from reading a particular book and I encourage everyone else to fight for their right to read. This week VCU Cabell Library has been talking all about banned and challenged books.

There are some things worth fighting for, and I have many books that I will always fight to read.

Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling

If you haven’t heard of the wizarding world, I’m highly concerned. Harry Potter looks at the life of the wizard, Harry Potter, and his friends. It’s been challenged for supernatural themes.

Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Kite Runner tells the story of a friendship between a wealthy boy and his father’s servant. It’s an emotionally beautiful story that you can learn a lot from. It has been banned for offensive language, being too mature for the age group and violence.

The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

The Catcher in the Rye is a controversial coming-of-age novel that follows the life of Holden Caulfield. Though originally published for adults, it’s very popular among adolescents.  It was challenged for offensive language, sexual content and being too mature for the age group.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

If you haven’t read this, you’re missing an amazing coming-of-age story that is told by the protagonist, Charlie, who writes letters to a stranger. It’s been challenged several times for offensive language, nudity, drugs and more.

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Scarlet Letter looks at the life of Hester Prynne, who is shammed by her town in Boston after she conceives a child through an affair. It has been challenged by school districts for being “obscene.”

The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie

The Satanic Verses follows two Indian Muslims who miraculously lived after they were trapped on a hijacked plane that exploded. Salman was accused of misusing his freedom of speech throughout the text and consequentially, the book was banned for being blasphemous.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Of Mice and Men tells the story of two men on the search of new job opportunities during the Great Depression. It’s been challenged numerous times because of vulgarity and racist language.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

If this wasn’t an assigned reading for one of your classes, go out and read it now. To Kill a Mockingbird deals with racial issues in America. It’s been banned for offensive language and racism.

The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

This novel is about a girl named Alice that falls in a rabbit hole into a magical world. It was banned its portrayal of animals with human qualities.

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

American Psycho is a novel that looks through the eyes of a serial killer. It’s been challenged in several countries for violence towards women and being harmful to minors.

Every day, books are challenged and even banned from schools and public libraries. Books have been challenged by critics, individuals and groups that have deemed them as unfit for the public because of their beliefs.

For the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week, VCU Libraries has provided a series of interactive events centered around fighting for the right to read. Events will include selfies, a video booth, green screen photos and a lecture from VCU professor, Tom De Haven. For a complete listing of events, visit the VCU Libraries events page.

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An Open Letter to My Foundation

***Originally posted on HerCampus.com.

To my foundation,

I remember the day I first met you. I walked into my local Sephora and there you were. You stood out in the crowd. Everyone had been telling me how great you were, and I knew I needed to have you. The first time we went out together, people complimented us, saying how good we looked together. I was addicted to the way you made me feel. I felt flawless when we were together.

I’m so grateful to you. You helped me get my confidence back. You transformed me from a girl that was self-conscious about the way she looked to a confident woman who knew how great she truly was. But because of that, I have to tell you– I don’t need you.

Don’t get me wrong, I still want us to go out together for special events and other adventures, but I have to let you know that I can’t be dependent on you anymore.

When we were first together, I found myself not being able to go anywhere without you. If you weren’t with me, I couldn’t let anyone see me. I thought I was nothing without you. Without you, people could see all of my imperfections. With you, those imperfections were gone. I finally felt good about myself.

I started noticing that when I was with you, I stood a little taller and I smiled a little brighter. I was so happy with you and I wanted to feel like that all the time. One day, after you were gone for the night, I stared at myself in the mirror. There was a pimple here and hyperpigmentation there, but it was me. So I smiled.

I went behind your back and did that a couple of nights feeling guilty, but eventually the smiles came more easily. I saw myself for who I really was without you and I was happy. I’ve learned to love myself with and without you.

I have imperfections, but that’s what makes me who I am. I love my imperfections when you’re not there just as much as I love dressing you up with a smokey eye and bright red lips. I’ve seen who I am without you and I love that person. I love who you are and everything you’ve done for me, but at the end of the day I wash you all off. You can’t be with me 24-hours of the day.

So foundation, this is far from a breakup. I love you, but I can’t and won’t let myself depend on you anymore.

Until the next adventure,

Xoxo, Katlyn