top ten tuesday: favorite banned books

This week I was really struggling with The Broke and the Bookish’s topic for today’s Top Ten Tuesday: favorite sequels. If you stop by here often enough, you’ll know I hardly ever read series books, so I was having trouble coming up with more than, like, two for this topic. BUT this morning I checked out one of the blogs I regularly read, Words for Worms, and Katie there came up with her own topic in honor of Banned Books Week:

September 24: Top ten favorite banned books

Now THAT I can handle! And this especially works well for me since I’m a little too busy to properly participate in Banned Books Week this time around. In no particular order, here are my favorite banned/challenged books:

1. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
This one is a parody of a utopian society, one where the people are just a bland mass, no individualism, overly exposed to sex and drug use. So there are the surface reasons, and then deeper it seems that groups try to ban anything that has a bleak or negative future outlook in which society is tightly controlled and knowledge is oppressed, similar to my picks for #2–4…

2. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Atwood’s dark dystopian future of classism, oppression, and misogyny. Offred, the protagonist, has been stripped of her rights, freedoms, and family, and forced into a sort of slave position, kept around solely for the purpose of procreation. On top of the censorship for being sexually explicit and having crude language, The Handmaid’s Tale has been targeted for not aligning with “Christian values.”

3. 1984 by George Orwell
Censored for its warning of… (wait for it) …totalitarian censorship. Oh the irony!

4. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Like the previous three, Fahrenheit 451 is set in a dystopian future society where freedom of thought (specifically in the form of books) is outlawed, and “firemen” go around burning all the books in existence. Now, obviously there are reasons right there I can see why a group might want to ban it, but apparently a school in California didn’t like all them curses in there and got “an expurgated version of the text in which all the ‘hells’ and ‘damns’ were blacked out.” ( Oh..kaay…

5. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
One of the first popular true crime books in the style of narrative non-fiction, Capote’s masterpiece was challenged because of sex, violence, and profanity. Um, it’s about a family being murdered… complaining about the violence, really??

6. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
This one is interesting—challenged for Steinbeck’s use of “real-life” language in the book. People didn’t like how George and Lennie talked like real people. You know, like, with curse words. Also people looking to ban it didn’t like the historically accurate portrayals of former slaves in the American South.

7. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
It wasn’t the yellow journalism or sensationalized exposé of Chicago’s horrifying slaughterhouse district during the Industrial Revolution that outraged people, but the book’s socialist views at the end that caused a stir for Yugoslavia, South Korea, East Germany, and Boston. (One of these things is not like the other!)

8. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Angelou’s autobiography of her early life, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings is heartbreaking but also hopeful. It has been questioned for its scenes of rape, abuse, and violence, and sections with racism and homosexuality. And it’s another book with naughty swears in it!

9. Beloved by Toni Morrison
A Pultizer Prize-winner, Beloved has been banned for sexually explicit content, talking about bestiality, and violence. I just listened to the audiobook with the author narrating and it was seriously disturbing and powerful.

10. In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak

 What are your favorite banned or challenged books?

14 thoughts on “top ten tuesday: favorite banned books

    • Wow. I loved it, was totally captivated. Well, and I think partly because I live in Kansas City and it’s sort of regional history around here, that gave it a little extra punch of interestingness for me. 🙂

      • Yes, I can see how that would keep you connected to the story. It just got repetitive and boring to me for some reason. I got within 50 pages of the end and just couldn’t keep reading.

  1. I’m totally teaching Fahrenheit this year so that got me really excited! WOO! Also, The Handmaid’s Tale, so angry this is banned. Such a wonderful book. Great banned book list!

    • Thanks! I never read Fahrenheit 451 in school, but I wish I had. I have Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes waiting to be read on my bookshelf… a friend has a copy too and we mean to read together. Mini book club!

      Have a good one 🙂

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