Banned Book Week

Banned book week starts tomorrow September 26th and runs through October 3rd. I will be reading The Great Gatsby which has been sitting festering on the shelf for the past few years. Every year I say I'm going to read it and don't. This year I'm determined. I may even attempt The Grapes of Wrath - maybe.

I was looking at the list on the American Library Associations site and I have to confess. For the past couple years, every time I have looked at the list of challenged or banned books, I've missed something. The thing I have missed or not read correctly is this

According to the Office for Intellectual Freedom, at least 42 of the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century have been the target of ban attempts. The titles in bold represent banned or challenged books.

I totally overlooked the "titles in bold" are the banned or challenged books. I always thought every book on the list had been challenged or banned. Which lead me to searching high and low on the internet why Wind in the Willows would be challenged or banned. Couldn't find anything anywhere...asked my husband and asked the ladies of Well Trained Mind who all set me straight. AHEM! That will teach me to read the small print a bit more carefully in the future. Here's the list of books eliminating the ones that have not been questioned.

I read banned books. Do I really? The way I understood the list before, I had read quite a few. Now that I've eliminated over half the list, I've see that I've only read 3 which are marked with stars.

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 ***
11. Lolita by Vladmir Nabokov
12. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

15. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
16. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
18. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
19. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
20. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
21. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad ***
23. Their Eyes are Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
24. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
25. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
26. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
27. Native Son by Richard Wright
28. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
29. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
30. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
33. The Call of the Wild by Jack London
36. Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin
38. All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren
45. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
48. Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence
49. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
53. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
55. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
64. Sons and Lovers by D. H. Lawrence
66. Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
67. A Separate Peace by John Knowles
73. Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs
75. Women in Love by D. H. Lawrence
80. The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
84. Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
88. An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
97. Rabbit, Run by John Updike

Reasons why these books were challenged are here.

When I was in high school back in the 70's, A Clockwork Orange and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's nest was part of our required reading list for english class. At the time I was enrolled in a private Catholic high school. My parents didn't think either book was appropriate, went to the principal and I ended up reading alternative books. For the life of me I can't remember what they were. Hmm! I still haven't read either one and not sure if I ever will. However, there are quite a few on the list I do want to read. Looks like a trip to Borders is in store. Especially since Border's Educator Appreciation Week coincides with Banned Book Week. I think they did that on purpose.

Which banned book will you be reading this week?


  1. I have read about five on the list, but they were mostly for my English A level in the 80's. So I think we may have been a bit more lenient with the book banning over here in England.

  2. I've read a bunch of these, and they're some of my favorite books. It seems to me people have just tried to ban anything that will make you think. Sure, some of these books are graphic, but life isn't always pretty. The books are trying to make a point.

    I recommend Beloved. I read it in college, and it blew me away.

  3. I've read only four of these, and two more lying around waiting to be read. Curiously (for me) only one of those is for my courses.

    As for your question... Unless it happens to be on the ALA list without my knowledge, probably none. I think it's partially the fact that we, as far as I know, don't have the whole concept of banning books over here.

    Mind you, from what little I know and can extrapolate, I think there are legitimate concerns about some books, but they get snowed under (and grouped with) all the rest. (And, anyway, are probably harder for people to get their hands on by accident.) And that's a shame. If we had just those books it could lead to an interesting discussion (and, perhaps, a change in library systems.)

  4. Enjoy The Great Gatsby.
    I didnt know Gone with the Wind was on the list. Its one of my favorites. I'm actually reading Beloved now.

  5. I'm not participating in this challenge but I've read 5 on the list that you posted. Have fun!

  6. I'm not planning on reading a banned book this week, but I think I've read all but about 4 on the list. One list I saw included Little House on the Prairie! I can't figure out what the problem was.

  7. The Grapes of Wrath isn't too bad... really.

    Wow, my parents never stopped me from reading a book for school. But then, if they'd told me I couldn't read a book, the first thing I would have done is run out and read it, of course. :)


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