Fifty Banned Books

So, while hopping through the blogosphere and looking at so many wonderful posts during Banned Book Week I came across this link from Laura Marcella’s blog.  The next thought I had was how wonderful it would be to read EVERY BOOK on that list as a way of celebrating activism in the first amendment.  Now, I’ve read a few on there already and will not endeavor to reread them but there are plenty I have not read.  If others want to take part in this very cool, last minute challenge then, please, let me know!  For a new twist I thought I’d also review each book while discussing the supposed reasons for the banning.  Fun, no?  Now, just so you know I’m not insane I’m going to give myself a year.  I do so like to have flexibility in my reading schedule dontcha know.  Below is a list of the fifty with links to reviews I did where applicable.

Key:  * = I’ve read it and not going to reread it; ** = I’ve read it and might reread it

  1. Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger *
  2. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.
  3. Forever by Judy Blume.
  4. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman.
  5. Lord of the Flies by William Golding. *
  6. The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling. *
  7. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson.
  8. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl.
  9. And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson.
  10. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle.
  11. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier.
  12. The Giver by Lois Lowery.
  13. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
  14. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
  15. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  16. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriett Beecher Stowe
  17. The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
  18. The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown *
  19. 1984 by George Orwell
  20. Animal Farm by George Orwell **
  21. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
  22. Candide by Voltaire
  23. Lady Chatterly’s Lover by DH Lawrence
  24. Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
  25. Fanny Hill by John Cleland
  26. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
  27. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  28. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  29. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hossieni
  30. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
  31. The Awakening by Kate Chopin
  32. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  33. Rabbit, Run by John Updike
  34. Anne Frank:  Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  35. Lolita by Vladmir Nabokov
  36. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee*
  37. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  38. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  39. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  40. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  41. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller *
  42. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  43. Native Son by Richard Wright
  44. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  45. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
  46. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kessey
  47. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  48. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
  49. Slaughterhouse – Five by Kurt Vonnegut *
  50. East of Eden by John Steinbeck

Disclaimer:  If I find I don’t like any of these tomes or their authors whilst in progress of reading I reserve the right to substitute said book with another from the really, really, really big list of banned books.

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20 responses to “Fifty Banned Books

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  • jessicabookworm

    What a fun idea for a challenge, I’m currently involved with my first ever challenge RIP V which covers my kind of genres so I’m finding it very easy at the moment, this one seems a bit harder lol so good luck!

    The one book off that list that always surprises me the most is Harry Potter…ok I get that it has magic in it but what is so bad about that. Harry is a good boy fighting evil people, what is so bad about that?! I’m a Christian myself and when other Christians bang on about it being an evil/heathen book I really want to say shut up hahaha.

  • Jan

    I’ve read all but a few and the ones I read were absolutely worth reading. I don’t understand why people want to ban books that challenge the status quo!

  • Kate

    I also have read most of of the banned books……..wonderful reading. Kinda makes you wonder who it is out there that is so afraid/threatened.

  • laurelrainsnow

    I’ve read several of these and enjoyed them thoroughly…some I can understand why “moralistic” people would find offensive, but Little Women? Huck Finn?

    I read those when I was a kid, and reread Little Women recently.

    I also read Uncle Tom’s Cabin as a kid; my mother had a copy given to her by a relative. I guess the “racist” stuff would be the theme that some find offensive.

    Some people need to get over themselves and get a life! (Okay, that was probably uncalled for…LOL).

    I’m planning to read some of the others on this list.

  • Laura Marcella

    Thanks for sharing the link, Kimberly! I haven’t read nearly as many banned books as I’d like to; I’ve read 27 from this list (most of them more than once!). Many of the others are on my to-read list, though!

    Happy Banned Books Week!!!

  • Tim

    Wow, I never knew James and the Giant Peach was among them. I remember my mother tried reading that book to me when I was a kid. After James’ parents were eaten by zoo animals in the first few pages, she closed it and never read the rest of it to me.

    Years later it was made into a movie for children.

    Roald Dahl is, in my opinion, the greatest children’s author ever. The idea that one of his books was banned is just atrocious.

  • Hart

    I’ve read a number of these–oddly, a mostly different set from what you’ve read. And I DO like the idea of reading banned books. My current stack is too big to add to at the moment, but I AM going to give a brief blurb on the ones of these I’ve read on Sunday, if you want any push for which you might want to read next of these!

  • Joy

    I haven’t read a lot of these and would certainly like to read some of those I haven’t. I definitely want to know what all the hubbub was about with The DaVinci Code. Lolita, The Satanic Verses and The Kite Runners would also be at the top of that list too.

  • sara

    Stupid question: by whom are these books banned? I mean are they just books that at some time or other were banned by different organizations? Or is there some big book-banning organization that makes it illegal to read these? If so, call me an outlaw because I’ve read most of the ones on your list.

  • Jillian

    I love this, Kimberly!! I just read Little Women because I saw it on the Banned list. A great endeavor!

    A lot of these are on my TBR list, so I’ll be getting to them. Can’t believe somebody banned Judy Blume and Dr. Suess…

  • Hart

    Hey there–I have a blog award for you today!

  • Ketutar

    I think it’s really interesting to read WHY books are being challenged/banned.

    Little Women is banned because it’s anti-feminist,
    Laura Ingalls Wilder books are banned because of racist view on Native Americans,
    Giant Peach is banned because James MUST be using drugs, as he cannot possible experience giant peaches and insect any other way.
    Anne Frank’s diary is being banned because it’s too depressing. 😀
    The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe was banned because it was too violent.
    Most books have been banned because they are “too sexual”, which they are if they MENTION rape, sex, sexual thoughts, menstruation… not to mention books like Fanny Hill, which does more than mentions sex 😀
    Candide was banned by the Catholic Church back at when it was written, Gulliver was horrible, thought the government of United Kingdom back at when IT was written…

    Who bans books? Anyone can challenge a book for any reason, and it must be then reviewed as the Free Speech for children does “protect” them from “content unsuitable for minors”, which can be understood to be profanity, sex, religion or minority rights. If the book is found containing such things, it can be banned. Now, there is no LEGAL list of banned books, because no-one has the right to ban books. (At least not at the moment, and not in most free countries.)

  • Rayna

    After seeing all the posts floating around, I am almost tempted to do a read-athon of banned books myself.

  • Barb

    Of these 50 I’ve read only 4, but then I’m way behind with classics! 😉 Three you read them too (#1 – 5 and 49), the fourth is Madame Bovary, I’ve just read it for research purposes. I downloaded the text from some online website (in French, but I can read French, and I’d rather avoid translations when I can) and wasn’t too impressed. I mean, I understand it was banned when it was written (1800), but today? I guess it was one of the first novels about women’s unhappiness in marriage, and being written by a man, of course the woman comes out as guilty of adultery… but that’s a 19th century moral story, I can’t believe some people still stick to that! 😦
    Happy reading! 🙂

  • litlove

    I’m really grateful to have this list as I’ve encountered difficulties in the past trying to ascertain which books have been banned. I’m surprised by how many on this list I’ve read. But what intrigues me most are the stories that lie behind the desire to ban. Now looking into some of those stories is something I’d really like to do, if I can, as a contribution to the debate over banned books.

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