Wednesday, September 23, 2009

On Your Marks

Too many books have been slandered, maligned, and pulled from library shelves. Some aren't well known, others are infamous. As we head into Banned Books Week I wanted to do a little warm up for the discussions ahead. So here are the top ten banned books:
  1. Candide
  2. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  3. Brave New World
  4. Nineteen Eighty-Four
  5. The Catcher in the Rye
  6. Lolita
  7. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
  8. The Anarchist Cookbook
  9. The Satanic Verses
  10. Harry Potter Series
Surprised? Already familiar with this list? Is there anything you see that brings these texts together? What makes a book "bannable"?


  1. I've read four of the books on the list, and three of them back in high school.

    You know the funny thing about banned books? It always makes me want to go and read them to see why they were banned!

  2. When books are banned, it always seem to be "obscene." What makes a book obscene? To some people, obscene is anything that goes against the norm, switches a point of view, or apparently little wizards in glasses casting spells. I remember The Goosebumps series was banned from my Catholic school. What ever happened to imagination?

    It all goes back to the Salem Witch Trials, it seems. People are afraid so they point fingers. Just instead of burning "witches" they want to burn or ban books.

    It's ridiculous. If you don't want to read it, don't. But don't keep it away from others who are mature enough and understand the value of literature, and understand that these stories aren't supposed to tell us how to live. We are supposed to learn from them and THINK.

    Geesh. Good post!

  3. Great comments you guys! Megan, I have the same reaction as you, if a book is banned I'm all the more curious about it.

    Lisa you're dead on about obscenity and woot for bringing up Salem (that's the era in history I specialize in); it's a longstanding human trait to fear what they don't understand and find scapegoats to blame (or in the case of the Puritans hang - gulp!)

  4. I've read the majority of these books. Does that mean I should be banned, locked up, burned? In some people's eyes, yes.
    When I was newspaper reporter, the conventional wisdom was if people got fired up by something you wrote it was good, it was thought-provoking. At least you got their attention.
    What surprises me is how fearful people are, how they mistrust new ideas and want to shout them down.
    I hope Banned Books Week opens a few eyes, eases fears. Thanks for your post.