So this week, for those in the know, was Banned Books Week, an annual week-long celebration of literary taboo and books that people think shouldn’t exist.

You may have even read some of these books, such as The Great Gatsby, 1984, Slaughterhouse-Five, and A Clockwork Orange. The gist of it is a celebration of free slaughterhouse fivespeech and books that some governments felt were unsuitable for the consumption of the masses.

But the government has a habit of making bad decisions on our behalf, so a lot of these are now required reading in high school and college.

While I am all about reading things you shouldn’t, this isn’t going to touch on any of those today. Instead, I’m going to talk about the books I used to read before Twilight, The Hunger Games, and Divergent. Yes, kids, there were Young Adult novels before those. And no, you probably should ask your parents before you’re allowed to read them too (even if I didn’t).

Of all the gifts my grandparents gave me, including dancing even if you’re awful because it’s fun and it’ll make you feel better, plus it is exercise (thanks Grandpa!), they instilled in me a deep love of reading.

vampire chronicles bookBetween the three sets of living grandparents I had growing up, there was a virtual library at my fingertips during every visit. In fact, one of the great past times of visiting my mom’s parents was a trip to the library.

My Grandma Maureen, who was a voracious reader who got me started on Anne Rice, lent me the first The Mayfair Witches book. I think I was thirteen. If you’ve ever read anything by Anne Rice, you know that a) it’ll be pretty good and b) she does not skimp on detail. So, yeah, I got a lot of book learning from reading that trilogy. And maybe the ambition for a few years that I would grow up to be a vampire.

I read most of the Vampire Chronicles, which happily will have a new book out soon! My favorite was Queen of the Damned and Mekare and Maharet may have had an influence on my red hair today. And my addiction to rock music. I still won’t watch the movie because…WHO THE HELL MADE LESTAT A BRUNETTE?

I quite innocently stumbled upon Kelley Armstrong’s Bitten, which, unlike what the name implies, is about werewolves. Dead sexy male werewolves and a woman who became one after the love of her life bites her. This was in the Young Adult section of my local silver wolfand fairly puritanical public library as a child. It was a great story with characters who had a lot of personality and were really well rounded. Unlike Twilight, which I have also read. No, seriously, Clay is a better werewolf than Jacob will ever be. Shots fired. Get over it. It’s also the start of Women of the Otherworld which has many more books worth reading.

I may have briefly shifted my allegiance to werewolves after this. They live a much cooler life but don’t live as long.

Oh, also while we are on the subject of werewolves and Anne Rice. Did you know her (sadly now deceased) sister, Alice Borchardt, was also an author? No? Okay, so go to Amazon and order The Silver Wolf. Yes. Go do that now please.

The Trilogy follows the ancient werewolf Maeniel and his adventures (which continue into another series set around the time of King Arthur, and has two books, starting with The Dragon Queen and is stupid difficult to hunt down but cheap on Amazon). It starts with Regeane who is betrothed to this gentleman barbarian king and is a werewolf herself. It’s a fun read. And it is set in Rome during the time of Charlemagne. (I was a history minor and an almost Classics minor so…Rome, squee.)

And the awesome news is that most of these books can be found at your friendly, local, and free public library! In fact, that is where I picked up a lot of these books during an unexpected unpaid vacation.

Do you have any supernatural fiction that I missed and must read (really I am open to suggestions)? Did you have any guilty reading pleasures as an angst-ridden teenager?