Banned and Challenged Classics


I love lists of books. I especially love to note which books I’ve read, and which I want to read, on other people’s lists of best books, classic books, Books Everyone Should Read, and suchlike. This book is both timely (hello, Banned Books Week) and fun because it combines two concepts that make me interested in a book: that somebody is calling it a Classic, and that somebody thought it was too racy or thoughtful for people (especially little kids) to read. (This usually recommends a book to me, or at least piques my interest. I’m not weird, am I?)

So here are Banned and Challenged Classics according to the American Library Association. Again, my notations are:

Bold = I’ve read it
Italicized = I’ve started the book, but never finished
Neither = I haven’t picked it up.

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

See, this is interesting: I think I have my highest percentage-read on this book, than of any of the lists I’ve reviewed here so far. (That, and a number of them make My List.) My personal reaction to this list is… wow, these are really excellent books. What a shame that anyone has tried to limit access to them. (And then there’s The Satanic Verses, which I really couldn’t get into. And Faulkner? Ugh, I couldn’t make any headway; although I was trying The Sound and the Fury, which I’ve since heard is not the best first-read.) That, and who the heck challenged The Call of the Wild??

Which books have you read off this list? Which ones are you itching to read? Any you aren’t attracted to?

2 Responses

  1. Wow, there are so many great novels here. I cannot even fathom why some of these were even banned in the first place. Catcher in the Rye? Of Mice and Men? Go Tell it On the Mountain? Utter madness.

    Surprisingly, I have read a bunch off this list but really looking forward to finally getting around to “Brideshead Revisited.”

    A Clockwork Orange is one of my favorite novels, ever. I’d be curious to what you think of it.

    • Brideshead Revisited is on my shelf now, but I don’t even have a copy of A Clockwork Orange around… maybe someday… yes, it’s always tragic to see what’s been banned. 😦 We’ll never learn, I guess. The recent irony surrounding Fahrenheit 451‘s banning does not make me optimistic.

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