Banned Books Week – Part Two



In my first Banned Books Week Post I talked about my feelings on censorship and banning books from the public. Part Two will focus on some of the titles I have read and loved that were challenged or taken off the shelves at various libraries around the world. Here we go…

1984 by George Orwell – If you’ve read my About Me section then you know this is my absolute favourite book. A dystopian fiction that talks about a world split up and at war. Written in the 1940’s Orwell almost eerily foretells some advance in technologies that we are privy to today. It deals with a world that overly censors its citizens and the price they pay for challenging the government for their rights to freedom of speech and thinking freely.

Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling – This book was challenged numerous times because of witchcraft, violence, anti-parents, and gullibility of young children who may take this seriously and try to mimic what they read. Although the story can be violent, doesn’t have the typical parental presence (The Weasley’s do make frequent appearances and some of the Professors and Dumbledore are more like surrogate parents to Harry and the students.) This series kick-started my love of reading. If it weren’t for this series I would not be the kind of reader I am today. It was magical and memorable, captivating my everything. I couldn’t put any of the books down!!

Howl by Allen Ginsberg – This book was challenged because of references to homosexuality. Why yes, it does talk about homosexuality but Ginsberg tells it with such beautiful words and imagery.. how could you hate on it? This is the quintessential Beats Generation work, if you are at all curious about the Beats than you should read this poem and the accompanying poems in the Howl and Other Poems collection.

I could write about a TON of books (because apparently people have been challenging almost every great book out there!) but I will quit here and just share some lists provided by ALA’s Banned Books site:

Top Ten Most Challenged books of 2013:

  1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
    Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence
  2. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence
  3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  4. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James
    Reasons: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  5. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
    Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group
  6. A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl, by Tanya Lee Stone
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit
  7. Looking for Alaska, by John Green
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
    Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  9. Bless Me Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
    Reasons: Occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
  10. Bone (series), by Jeff Smith
    Reasons: Political viewpoint, racism, violence

view other years here.

Most Challenged and Banned Classics over the years:

1. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
3. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
4. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
5. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
6. Ulysses, by James Joyce
7. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
8. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
9. 1984, by George Orwell
10. Lolita, by Vladmir Nabokov
11. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
12. Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
13. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
14. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
15. The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
16. As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
17. A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway
18. Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston
19. Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
20. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
21. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
22. Native Son, by Richard Wright
23. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
24. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
25. For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway
26. The Call of the Wild, by Jack London
27. Go Tell it on the Mountain, by James Baldwin
28. All the King’s Men, by Robert Penn Warren
29. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
30. The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
31. Lady Chatterley’s Lover, by D.H. Lawrence
32. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
33. The Awakening, by Kate Chopin
34. In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
35. The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie
36. Sophie’s Choice, by William Styron
37. Sons and Lovers, by D.H. Lawrence
38. Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
39. A Separate Peace, by John Knowles
40. Naked Lunch, by William S. Burroughs
41. Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
42. Women in Love, by D.H. Lawrence
43. The Naked and the Dead, by Norman Mailer
44. Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller
45. An American Tragedy, by Theodore Dreiser
46. Rabbit, Run, by John Updike


Take a stand and pick up one of these books to read! #IReadBannedBooks



3 thoughts on “Banned Books Week – Part Two

  1. Madame Vauquer says:

    Sometimes when I see these lists, I just scratch my head over some of them and wonder. I guess there is always someone to object about anything. I’ve read eighteen of the above list of most challenged over the years.

    • Shannon says:

      I know! I almost want to ask them if they have even bothered to read the books they are trying to ban. Of the classics I have read none have had a negative impact on me (and I read a lot of them in high school while I was much more impressionable.)

  2. empeck says:

    Captain Underpants made the list? Wow. My niece and nephew love those books.

    I’ve read quite a few of the books on those lists, and I just don’t get why some of them are banned. If a kid’s ready for the subject matter, why not let them explore?

    Bah. Anyway, this is a good reminder to add some of these books to my TBR file.

    Ah well. Thanks for dropping by my TT.

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