Thursday, September 29, 2011

Banned or Challenged Books: What's On Your Shelf?

In honor of Banned Books Week I decided to sort through my collection to see what books I have that have been banned or challenged:

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald: Challenged for language and sexual references. So it was challenged for representing normal adult behavior?

The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger: One of the most challenged books for its offensive language and being sexually explicit... my kind of book, obviously!

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: Challenged for being sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and for its violence. I can see that. It is intense, but seriously, let a parent decide, don't make that decision before they even get a chance to.

1984 by George Orwell: I haven't read this one but my husband has. The copy we have has some fun notes and newspaper clippings. Someone did their homework. It was challenged for being "pro-communist and contained explicit sexual matter". From what I do know of the book, it seems awfully familiar.

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway: My husband picked up a huge box of free books that we then sorted through and kept what we wanted, then donated the rest. I kept this one so I would look smart with it sitting on the shelf. I think I’ve broken some unspoken rule that a reader should read Hemingway at some point. It's been banned and challenged and even burned by the Nazis! Why have I not read this yet?!

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien: Burned?! Really?! Please tell me what’s wrong with good triumphing over evil? Book burning Nazis!

In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote: Banned then reinstated, the drama started when "a parent complained about sex, violence, and profanity in the book that was part of an Advanced Placement English Class." Ask the instructor for an alternate book to read, duh. I must get this one read by the end of the year. I will be ashamed of myself if I don’t.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain: Challenged for it's racism. I can understand that. I only read the first part in high school and managed to get by with the assignments. Someday I'll go back and give it another go. And even with my limited knowledge of the book, I believe there is a reason it's assigned reading, such as, oh I don't know, learn from our country's past mistakes!

The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling: Challenged for promoting Satanism and it's violence. So? I've read them and as far as I know I have no desire to practice black magic. My daughter though... should I be concerned?

And there are many that have been banned or challenged that I would like to read, such as To Kill a Mockingbird, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Slaughterhouse Five, etc.

So, what banned books have you read or would like to read? Which are your favorites?

Also, if you have a few minutes, check out the Virtual Read Out Youtube channel. And this put a smile on my face:


  1. All good points. About In Cold Blood, I don't remember when I read it, probably when I was in my 30's. What I do remember is that I was spooked for a long time after, maybe even to today. But, as you say, I at least had the choice to read it and that's what we don't want to lose.

  2. Exactly! And if In Cold Blood spooked you, I may have to bump it up for October reading. It is the season for it!

  3. The only one I know of that I have is Harry Potter.