This is a list of 25 books that have either been banned outright or have created enough controversy that reading them is discouraged. For me, being banned or being labeled taboo makes them even more tempting to read. So let me do like the other list of 100 best loved novels that I posted about previously, and also mark the ones I have read from this list by putting an X at the end of the ones I’ve read. See my results at the bottom. Feel free to do the same on your blog and let me know how many you’ve read.
#1 A Day No Pigs Would Die
This coming of age story by Robert Newton Peck is one of the most challenged books of all time. People just can’t seem to get past the graphic description of animal butchery.
#2 American Psycho
After writing a novel about a self-proclaimed serial killer, Bret Easton Ellis received numerous death threats and a massive amount of hate mail. In some countries, American Psycho cannot be purchased by anyone who is under 18.
#3 And Tango Makes Three
Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson’s picture book about two penguins enraged enough homophobes to be named the most challenged book of 2006.
#4 Annie on My Mind
A Kansas School Board was so keen to get this novel, which depicts a lesbian relationship between two teenagers, off of school shelves that they willingly violated the First Amendment of the United States and went head to head with a judge.
#5 Bridge to Terabithia (X) Now this one is hard to believe. I read this from my daughter’s bookshelf.
Author Katherine Patterson is the daughter of missionaries and the wife of a minister, but that hasn’t stopped people from saying that her book, Bridge to Terabithia promotes Satanism through references to magic.
U.S. Customs officials used to seize Voltaire’s critically hailed satire. Apparently, not everyone was a fan of his merciless take on religion, philosophy and government.
#7 Fallen Angels
Walter Dean Myers’ novel about a group of young American soldiers in the Vietnam War has incensed so many people that it appears on the American Library’s Association’s list of the most frequently challenged books.
#8 Fanny Hill (X) I read this on the sly when I was still in high school and found my mom’s copy on her bedstand. lol!
The U.S Supreme Court did not clear 1749’s Fanny Hill (also known as Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure) from obscenity charges until 1966. People complained about the book’s blunt sexual descriptions and the way it parodied contemporary literature.
#9 Forever (X) I read this in 7th grade. I don’t see how it could be on this list!
Judy Blume was one of the first authors to write candidly about a sexually active teenage girl and has been the subject of criticism ever since. Her book, Forever, is a constant target of sexual abstinence and religious groups who don’t think teenagers should be reading about a girl who goes on ‘the pill.’
#10 Frankenstein (X) lol! they should read some of today’s science fiction genre
Mary Shelley’s classic book about a man obsessed with creating new life was banned in several countries for being indecent, objectionable and obscene.
#11 Harry Potter (The Entire Series) (X) I can’t even comment on why this is on this list. Some people need to get a grip!
Anti-witchcraft proponents everywhere hated the Harry Potter series with a passion. Their chief complaints involved Harry’s use of magic as well as his nasty habit of standing up to authority figures.
#12 I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (X) a classic!
Maya Angelou’s autobiography is one of the most challenged books of all time. Controversial issues include profanity, drug abuse and a brutal rape scene.
#13 Lady Chatterley’s Lover (X) another read on the sly. haha! I read a lot of these type of books in high school
D. H. Lawrence’s 1928 novel was the subject of numerous obscenity trials in the UK, the U.S. and other countries up into the 1960s. Objections were raised about the book’s explicit sex scenes and use of taboo four-letter words.
#14 Lord of the Flies
William Golding’s bestselling novel, Lord of Flies, is considered to be one of the best English-language novels of the 1900s. Nevertheless, the book’s stance on subjects of human nature has made it the frequent target of censors.
#15 Of Mice and Men (X) required reading in high school
John Steinbeck’s 1937 novella, Of Mice and Men, is one of the most challenged books of all time. People who criticize the book typically cite offensive and vulgar language.
#16 Silas Marner
George Eliot’s novel about a reclusive old man redeemed by the orphan girl he raises was controversial when it was first released and is still banned as far as some school districts are concerned.
#17 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (X) a great adventure book and a must read, I think.
Mark Twain’s classic tale about the journey of Huck and his friend Jim is one of the most challenged books of all time.
#18 The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (X) the same with this one
Although this book isn’t nearly as controversial as Twain’s other novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer has been barred frequently from schools and libraries alike.
#19 The Arabian Nights (X) I still read through this book when the mood strikes me. And No, there are no equestrian appareled characters prancing around in my version. 😉
There are various versions of The Arabian Nights stories and most have been banned at one point or another. To this day a law still exists to prevent the mailing of this book in the U.S.; however, the law is no longer enforced.
#20 The Catcher in the Rye (X) another must read
People have been banning J.D. Salinger’s novel since its publication in 1951. The censorship stems from the book’s profanity and anti-Christian sentiments.
#21 The Chocolate War
People have been objecting and banning this book since its publication in 1974. Chief complaints involve the 200+ swear words that appear in the story and the scenes that depict violence and masturbation.
#22 The Color Purple (X) if you haven’t read the book then watch the movie. It’s a great story!
Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel has been challenged and banned all over the world for graphic violence and sexuality.
#23 The Giver
Also known by its nickname, ‘the suicide book,’ Lois Lowry’s 1993 novel is the most commonly banned book in middle school libraries.
#24 The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders
Daniel Defoe’s 1722 novel of an irrepressible woman with a desperate life was banned for being lewd and indecent. What’s ironic about this is that Defoe left out the dirtiest of details to make sure he would stay out of jail once Moll Flanders was published.
#25 Ulysses (X) really??
Ulysses has been called the best novel of the 20th century. It has also been called the most obscene, vulgar and blasphemous book to be banned in the U.S.
Source: Degree Directory
I’ve read 14 of the titles. I’m still shocked to see some of the titles on the list or more so that there is even such a list as banned books! Considering I read the more risque of these books when I was in high school and read the Bridge to Terabithia and Harry Potter in my adulthood tells me I may be a little backward. haha! OR that the people who create prohibitive lists are the backward ones.