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Banned Books Week Is Coming! Name Your Favorite

Banned Books Week Is Coming! Name Your Favorite

 

Banned books in the US?  There are always stories we can’t quite believe about books removed from school libraries and classrooms – and sometimes municipal libraries as well.   In the past, they’ve ranged from Harry Potter to Of Mice and Men to 1984.  Describe your own favorite banned or challenged book in the comments and tell us why that book matters to you.  We’ll run some of these during Banned Books Week itself – from 9/24 to /10/01.  Below you’ll find, first, the ten most banned or challenged classics, and then those from last year.  There are more lists here.  Do they include yours?  Let’s get the conversation going.

CLASSICS

1. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald 2. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D.
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 (tied for 10)
11. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck (tied for ten)

 


Here are the Top Ten from 2010:

  1. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson.  Reasons: homosexuality, religious viewpoint, and unsuited to age group.
  2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie.  Reasons: offensive language, racism, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and violence.
  3. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley.  Reasons: insensitivity, offensive language, racism, and sexually explicit.
  4. Crank, by Ellen Hopkins.  Reasons: drugs, offensive language, and sexually explicit.
  5. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins.  Reasons: sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and violence.
  6. Lush, by Natasha Friend.  Reasons: drugs, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group.
  7. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones.  Reasons: sexism, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group.
  8. Nickel and Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich. Reasons: drugs, inaccurate, offensive language, political viewpoint, and religious viewpoint.
  9. Revolutionary Voices, edited by Amy Sonnie. Reasons: homosexuality and sexually explicit.
  10. Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer.  Reasons: religious viewpoint and violence.

 

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Photo from the American Library Association.

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94 comments

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9:09PM PDT on Sep 13, 2012

Wait, I read a lot of these books all throughout my high school English classes. These are great books! When and where were they banned? IDK if my HS being a Vanguard school had anything to do with them NOT being banned.
Grapes of Wrath" is my favorite.

12:21PM PST on Jan 18, 2012

....wait a sec. Twilight has "religious content"? And nobody's banning it because, well IDK, Edward is a *stalker*?

My favorite banned book is Harry Potter. My aunt is in an evangelical cult. When I was nine, she visited me and said the book "wasn't God". never said it was, Aunt Sherry, never said it was! Ha. I strongly remember telling her (and my second -grade teacher, who agreed with her) "it's just fiction!" Why can a nine year old figure that out but a bunch of conservative American adults can't?!

3:02PM PDT on Oct 16, 2011

I read Rushdi's Satanic Verses when I was around 19, I can't say I understood too much, but I was certainly not offended or otherwise hurt by it. ;)

I understand that some of the books in these lists (children's classics, such as Huckleberry Finn and Uncle Tom's cabin) were banned because of the use of the word "nigger". I am Greek and in my country that word never meant anything more than "a person with black skin". There are no connotations following it, in fact it's a rather old word, which was used as a more formal (though NOT racist) alternative for "black". Cultural differences like these are very interesting.

2:43PM PDT on Oct 16, 2011

1984, A Brave New World and Animal Farm are three AWESOME, POWERFUL books, rich in political messages and highly critical of all societies that have abandoned the democratic virtues. I read them as a child and I still remember that I was mesmerised by their incredible power, that I just couldn't put them down.

LotR is nothing short of BRILLIANT, a fantasy world described in perfection.

Even though I am an adult, I thoroughly enjoyed all Harry Potter books for their vivid imagination and their messages of love, companionship and Good's triumph over Evil.

To Kill a Mockingbird was the book I had to read when I was sitting my Proficiency exams in English as a Foreign Language. I also got the see the film. I cried my eyes out and loved both passionately. Atticus Finch should be in the pantheon of Amazing Book Characters and an inspiration to people fighting injustice and racism everywhere.

7:32PM PDT on Oct 4, 2011

Let's read those banned books!

5:54AM PDT on Sep 29, 2011

I absolutely love To Kill a Mockingbird... Why on earth would it be banned? It has fantastic messages! If people are banning it, then I can only think they did not read and understand the book properly? Same with other great books, Animal Farm, Of Mice and Men... These are intelligent books with meaning. Don't we want to teach our kids anymore? And Harry Potter... What can I say? The best book series ever written? Magical? Catcher in the Rye, also... And I adore Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. They are so spiritual, or at least that's how I interpreted them, I know he is an athiest but I thought those books were magical and his Dust... wow. All kids should read it. It's funny... half of these books are studied for GCSE's!

5:53AM PDT on Sep 29, 2011

I absolutely love To Kill a Mockingbird... Why on earth would it be banned? It has fantastic messages! If people are banning it, then I can only think they did not read and understand the book properly? Same with other great books, Animal Farm, Of Mice and Men... These are intelligent books with meaning. Don't we want to teach our kids anymore? And Harry Potter... What can I say? The best book series ever written? Magical? Catcher in the Rye, also... And I adore Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. They are so spiritual, or at least that's how I interpreted them, I know he is an athiest but I thought those books were magical and his Dust... wow. All kids should read it. It's funny... half of these books are studied for GCSE's!

11:46PM PDT on Sep 28, 2011

I keep hearing of people being put on antidepressants and am always reminded of Brave New World. I realize for some people they are truly needed but it seems lately every second person I talk to is on them, some in their teens and I can't help wonder if their being over prescribed.

Funny how some books talked about things decades ago that seemed like scifi but are now routine

9:31AM PDT on Sep 28, 2011

That only shows that reading a fiction book can also make people think and progress.
Exactly what censors want to keep people from doing !!!

7:54AM PDT on Sep 28, 2011

I cannot believe anyone would now ban those books we were required to read in college in the fifties. What gives? We were asked to read and analyze Aldous Huxley's Brave New World and
George Orwell's 1984. Ye Gods, 1984 came and went and no one fell off the earth yet.

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