Monday, September 26, 2011

Banned or Challenged Literary Classics

This is a list from the Banned Books Week website.




"According to the Office for Intellectual Freedom, at least 46 of the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century have been the target of ban attempts.
The titles below represent banned or challenged books on that list ( see the entire list here). For more information on why these books were challenged, visit challenged classics and the Banned Books Week Web site."


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 


I'm happy to say that I've read all but a handful of the books on the list.  I have my Catholic high school in rural Iowa to thank. Many  of the books were assigned reading--or I was led to them by reading an assigned book by the same author. The most recent book I've read is on this list, too. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison is a coming of age story filled with heartbreaking betrayal and confusion and ultimate victory, but at a price. A book like Invisible Man could be a life raft for a young man or woman whose dreams for college have fallen apart.


I still remember the first book I read  that served as a life raft. There it was on the page--someone who was crying over the very same thing that was hurting me. I was seven or eight years old, and my best friend was moving away. Carol from the Country by Frieda Friedman got me through it. The book is now called simply, Carol.


I'm thinking of all the books that I've turned to over the years. I owe a lot of writers. Do you have a book that's served as a life raft for you?

5 comments:

Birdie said...

If I hear about a book being banned it just makes me want to read it.

Elizabeth said...

I think Jane Eyre was a life raft -- and The Brothers Karamazov -- and then maybe To the Lighthouse.

Ms. Moon said...

Almost all of the ones you have listed. They have almost all been life rafts for me at one point or another. And comfort and joy and mind-opening.

Steph(anie) said...

I too read that list and noted how many I had read. I credit the English teacher I had for 3 of my high school years. She was insane, but I read some good stuff.

I read Sweet Eyes by Jonis Agee several times years ago. That was the first one I thought of when you asked your question.

T. Clear said...

In my childhood it was Grimm's, then for years it was Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich, and more recently it's been the poetry of Raymond Carver.

(Sounds like we could compare some "good" divorce stories....)