Sunday, September 22, 2013

BW39: Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week was formed in 1982 as a response to the surge of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries from different individuals, parents, groups, and organizations.  Since 1982, more than 11,300 books have been challenged for many reasons, including but not limited to sexual, political, anti-ethnic, anti family, violence, and profanity content.  During 2012, there were 464 challenges reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom.  The ten most challenged titles last year were

  1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey:  
  2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie:   
  3. Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher:  
  4. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James.
  5.  And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson.
  6.  The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini.
  7.  Looking for Alaska, by John Green.
  8.  Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
  9.  The Glass Castle, by Jeanette Walls
  10.  Beloved, by Toni Morrison

Over the years, at least 46 classics listed on Radcliff Publishing top 100 novels of the 20th Century have been challenged:

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
17. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
18. The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
19. As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
20. A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway
23. Their Eyes Were 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
40. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
45. The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
48. Lady Chatterley's Lover, by D.H. Lawrence
49. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
50. The Awakening, by Kate Chopin
53. In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
55. The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie
57. Sophie's Choice, by William Styron
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
74. Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
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

To find out more, click here to see yearly lists, frequently challenged books of the 21st century, 100 most frequently challenged books by decade and more.

I currently have Catcher in the Rye and To Kill a Mockingbird on my shelves.  Celebrate your freedom to read this week by reading a banned book.

Link to your reviews:    Please link to your specific book review post and not your general blog link. In the Your Name field, type in your name and the name of the book in parenthesis. In the Your URL field leave a link to your specific post. If you don't have a blog, tell us about the books you are reading in the comment section of this post. 


  1. I have trouble with Banned Book Week. I discovered that while a few of the books were unjustly banned, most of them were just banned in certain areas because parents didn't want them available to their children at an age they thought too young to be appropriate. Now I sort of see it as librarians and school officials trying to wrest authority away from parents. Most of these books have really traumatic, ugly stuff going on in them that shouldn't be pushed on middle schoolers, etc.

    1. Totally understand. I have a lot of problems with some of the books even being in a school library. Fifty Shades of Gray for example. I was surprised to even see it on the list. If that one is in school libraries, whether junior high or high school, the librarian and the principle are just ignorant of the facts, to say politely. As a parent and if my kid was in that school, I'd be screaming mad.

  2. No school library money should ever be spent on a book like 50 Shades! {shudder} I do believe that the challenges include public libraries not just grade school. One story involved a college library.

    I had a problem with the story where an alternate book was assigned when the parent complained then they decided that none of the kids should be reading it. I always figured the kids would ask questions the parents weren't ready to answer.

    As for banning/challenges, I don't have a problem with it as long as it is a parent and their minor. I do have a problem when a parent/group/school board tells me that my child can't read it. I'm just glad that my kids are older now and already out of high school.

  3. Corrie ten Boom's father, if I recall correctly, told her that knowing certain things is like lifting a heavy suitcase. My children are not ready to lift certain suitcases, i.e. read certain books, but eventually they will be.

    Other books, being completely against moral values and enticing people to evil, should not be read. As a parent, I can make those decisions for my kids in my home. But banning books is a parental issue and a personal issue. I ban books for myself, too, just like I have K-9 on my computer.


Thank you for your kind comments.