Happy Tuesday!! The lovely bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish are taking a brief hiatus from hosting Top Ten Tuesday this summer, which means that I’ve decided to create some of my own TTT themes. Since today is Independence Day in the United States, I thought it would be fun to talk about books revolving around freedom. Though we might initially think of freedom as escaping from physical imprisonment or captivity, there are countless ways that freedom can be manifested. In no particular order, here are my Top Ten Books About Freedom:
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass
This autobiography discusses one of the most important kinds of freedom, in my opinion: freedom from slavery. Douglass was a slave who escaped from bondage, traveled to New England, and became one of the most successful and influential African American orators of his time. His life story and his writing are as fascinating as they are inspirational.
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
I think we can all relate to the feeling of being trapped in a monotonous, dull routine. The Phantom Tollbooth offers young Milo a respite from this gloomy boredom and helps him realize that there is fun, adventure, and excitement to be found in everyday life. (It also features the most adorable dog!!)
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
As she hikes the grueling Pacific Crest Trail, Strayed is simultaneously on a journey to free herself from the regrets, mistakes, and sorrows of her past. What she finds is an illuminating sense of self, life, and purpose. This empowering emotional and spiritual freedom is incredibly inspiring to read about.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Atwood has created a brilliant, expertly crafted novel of what it feels like to live under an oppressive government that does not recognize the rights of women to their own bodies and lives. Offred, the protagonist, seeks freedom from the societal chains she is forced to bear. Not only is this simply a captivating story, but it contains an important message that we should remember in our own society today.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Though very different in many ways, Huck and Jim are both searching for the same thing as they journey along the river: freedom from the restrictive, controlling civilization they are forced to live in. This is a classic case of nature vs. civilization, making the raft a kind of liminal space where the normal rules of society are bent.
1984 by George Orwell
In this classic dystopian novel, Orwell shows how difficult it can be to maintain individuality and assert one’s free will in the face of an all-knowing, omnipotent government. Though freedom from observance is sought, such efforts ultimately prove futile. This is one of the most unsettling, startling, eye-opening books I’ve ever read!
Beloved by Toni Morrison
Haunted by the ghosts of her past as a slave, Sethe is nearly driven to madness as her memories become more and more real. This raw, unsettling, captivating novel captures the struggle of trying to break free from the past, especially when remnants of it still surround you.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Sometimes adolescence can feel like one big cage built by society, arbitrary rules of “popularity,” the desire to conform and be liked, high expectations of adults, and all of the questions you wish you had answers for. Fortunately, Charlie finds some freedom from this cage through the help of some unlikely friends.
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
Krakauer tells the true story of a man named Chris McCandless who traveled across the United States all the way to Alaska where he unfortunately passed away in the middle of the wilderness. Though people wonder exactly what Chris wanted to get out of his journey, I personally feel as though he was searching for the freedom to live the life he wanted to live without feeling restricted by society.
1776 by David McCullough
How could I create a list about freedom without including a book about America’s independence from Great Britain? McCullough is a masterful historian and storyteller, as shown through his ability to tell this inspirational and engaging historical account.
What books remind you of freedom? What do you think of the books on my list? Do you have any fun Fourth of July traditions? Let me know in the comments section below!