I did not write a long post honoring banned books week, but Steph did and it’s awesome. You should go read it!
I find history to be fascinating. It was my favorite subject in school and it’s one of my favorite channels on TV (minus all the “reality” and alien shows they play). History is both enlightening and damning, oppressive and liberating. I feel like history goes hand-in-hand with books and banned books week. In honor of September 25th kicking off Banned Books Week, I wanted to share my favorite banned, challenged, controversial, or censored books. These books have raised eyebrows both within our borders and abroad.
My Favorite Banned Books
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
This isn’t just my favorite banned book- it’s my favorite book ever. If you haven’t read AiW then you need to block off 3 hours this weekend and tackle it. I don’t know- it might take you less than three hours! It’s zany and odd and insightful and kooky and fun. I love it so much!
Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
I don’t think I need to say much here. Banned for it’s witchcraft and devilry, loved for it’s magic and morality.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
To be totally honest, I don’t actually like this book. I hate almost all the characters and the plot twists my stomach. But that’s what makes it so good- humans are flawed and lessons are learned (by the reader… the characters, not so much).
James & The Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
I haven’t read this book, but I’ve seen the movie (-gasp-). I want to read the book, though!
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
I haven’t read this book in +10 years, but I remember liking it. And feeling sad.
*Another short one if you’re looking for a banned book to read next week!
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
I love this book. I’ve never met anyone who didn’t love this book… (I haven’t read the se/pre/quel and I don’t want to.)
Forever by Judy Blume
I don’t know how this book came into my possession, but after I read it I hide it behind all the other books on my bedroom bookshelf because my mom used to read my books and I was so embarrassed that she might find it. I mean, it talks about *sex*, you guys!
Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
The most badass thing about this book is the author 😉
The Lottery by Shirley Jackson (short story)
I read this in high school or college and remember loving it. It’s so…. twisted. This one takes 20 minutes to read- check it out this week!
I wanted to have a solid 10, but I won’t lie and pretend like I enjoyed The Giver, Of Mice and Men, or The Grapes of Wrath. I hated those books- glad I read them, but I hated them.
Have you read any of these? What are some of your favorite banned books?
*I am impressed by my use of the word “devilry.” I need to work that into my daily vocabulary.
26 Comments Add yours
I wonder why they banned James & the Giant Peach. I remember reading it as a kid, but now I’ve forgotten what could’ve been challenged about it. I also am not a fan of The Great Gatsby. It is really depressing, but an important view of the times, I suppose.
From what I found online, James & The… was banned for magical characters and possible parent defying and drug/alcohol-type hallucinations… I don’t know where it was controversial- it may not have been the US.
I loved Steph’s post & was SHOCKEDDDDDD at the list of banned books.
We live in a world where people can say ANYTHING on tv or in public, but we can’t put out books that ‘may’ hit a controversial topic? DUMBEST THING EVER!!!
These are a mix of banned/challenged/controversial books- so not totally outlawed. But I totally agree! We should read whatever we want because that’s what makes us more well rounded and educated! Even the controversial books add to the educational stew!
I have read most of the books on your list. Crazy that there were banned, right??? No one is going to tell me what I can or cannot read!!!
It’s so crazy what offends people! (Or scares them!) My mom always kept an eye on what I watched or listened to, but I was allowed to read whatever I wanted 🙂
haha I loved The Giver. Or at least I did when I read it in school when I was 13. I haven’t read James and the Giant Peach since I was little so I have no idea why it would be banned. Maybe too scary or unreal? Then they’d have to ban all the Roald Dahl books. Weird. I don’t know.
It’s been a LONG time since I’ve read The Giver. Maybe as an adult I liked it more….
Online it said that James & The Giant Peach was controversial for its language, disobedience to parents, magical elements, & drugs/alcohol references. Ha.
Thanks for writing this post! I had no idea Banned Books Week is coming up. I might have to copy you and come up with my own list, if you don’t mind. I love Alice in Wonderland but I had no idea it was banned. The Giver is another one of my top favorite books ever — sorry you didn’t like it!
Alice in Wonderland is my absolute favorite ❤ I hated The Giver in school but maybe as an adult I would like it…? Ha.
I haven’t read James & the Giant Peach but I’ve seen the movie too…why on earth would that be banned?! Also I actually have been thinking about how I want to read Of Mice & Men again! I think I like it and want to read it outside of a forced-to-read-it context to make sure.
Ugh. I hated Of Mice and Men. Mainly because my heart couldn’t handle it….. ha.
I’ve answered the James & The Giant Peach question so much in this comment section 😀 Haha! Online it says it was banned for language, disobedience to parents, drug and alcohol references, and magical elements. (All of which make a book great, in my opinion! Ha!)
Oh my gosh yes, I remember being so embarrassed when I was reading Forever. I thought it was so bad! Hahaha.
James and the Giant Peach… why?! Great book and can’t think of anything bad or inappropriate about it. Who knows?!
Haha, my mom called me out on this post the other day because I said I hid this book! Haha! I’m glad someone else had the same mortifying reaction!! Haha!
I’m with what Elyse said – if they banned James & the Giant Peach, you’d think they’d ban Dahl’s books too. They’re pretty “scary” in a similar way! I was never a huge fan of James and the Giant Peach, but I don’t see any problem with it either.
Oh yeah. Like The Witches?? He’s such a great writer 🙂 I read it was banned for magical elements, language, disobedience toward parents, and drugs/alcohol references.
I can’t quite believe that some of these were banned – what devilry is this?? (OMG you’re right, that’s the BEST word!
Right?? Such a great word 🙂 And it’s so crazy to think they were banned- that just makes me want to read them more! Ha!
Mockingbird is one of the greatest books of all time; it’s a shame that it’s been banned!
Such a good book! It’s not banned in our house 🙂
HP is obviously solid in every situation. I liked To Kill a Mockingbird, but I don’t remember it well… I have a hard time keeping books in my head after I’ve read them. Gatsby, I agree with you. Daisy is THE WORST, but I did like the book on it’s own. Not my very favorite or anything though. I love all things Alice but still have not read it! KC got me the really gorgeous Rifle copy for xmas and I can’t wait to actually sit down with it! The Grapes of Wrath was pretty killer… ugh. But I really loved Of Mice and Men and The Giver. I didn’t read the latter until a few years ago, I read the other two, but haven’t read the last one. I like it a lot better as a series. 🙂 XO – Alexandra
Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things
Oh my gosh, Daisy is TOTALLY the worst. She’s my least favorite character.
Ahh, you must read Alice in Wonderland! And then tell me what you thought about it! Harry Potter always a good choice 🙂 Of Mice and Men just makes me so sad…. lol.
Excellent idea for a post to celebrate banned books!
Thanks, Erin! I feel like I just posted this and now the week’s over! I think it should be “Banned Books Month” 🙂
Oh hahaha! I really liked The Giver. But I also liked Harry Potter, The Great Gatsby, and The Outsiders. Alice in Wonderland was fascinating, but I don’t know if it would be a reread for me. After looking at different people’s lists, I’m starting to wonder: have any books not been banned at some point??? Geez. (P.S. I can’t stand Of Mice and Men! Or any Steinbeck books, of which I have read too many.)
I read the give a LONG time ago- so maybe as an adult I’d appreciate it more. I’d be willing to give it another shot. I just thought it was so stupid when I was a kid….. hahahaha!