How Many of These Banned or Challenged Books Have You Read?
It’s Banned Books Week, and that means it’s time to celebrate your freedom to read! Though it may surprise you, books are still being banned, taken off library shelves, and pulled from classrooms. Some books seen as outrageous for their time have become accepted, but many still rankle even a century later. There are a variety of reasons people challenge books, whether they don’t like the language used or they don’t approve of the content, but that doesn’t mean these voices should be silenced. Words have power, and that’s exactly why books are important. Books can expose us to ideas we never thought of and can allow us a window into experiences we never had. They build empathy and expand our point of view. Often the books that are challenged are the ones we need the most.
We’ve compiled a—by no means exhaustive—list of some of the books that have been banned or challenged throughout history. Take a look to see how many you’ve read, and if you’re missing some, why not add one to the top of your TBR pile? Give it a read, contextualize, think critically, and discuss it with your book group! Stand up to censorship and open your world!
1. Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (1884) | Get the Reading Guide
2. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (1850) | Get the Reading Guide
3. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville (1851) | Get the Reading Guide
4. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe (1852) | Get the Reading Guide
5. The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane (1895)
6. The Call of the Wild by Jack London (1903)
7. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (1931)
8. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison (1952) | Get the Reading Guide
9. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (1961)
10 In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (1966
11. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (1970)
13. Grendel by John Gardner (1971)
14. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison (1977)
15. The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende (1982)
16. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (1985) | Get the Reading Guide
17. Beloved by Toni Morrison (1987)
18. A Time to Kill by John Grisham (1989)
19. Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson (1994) | Get the Reading Guide
20. Crazy: A Novel by Benjamin Lebert (2000)
21. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (2000) | Get the Reading Guide
22. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (2003) | Get the Reading Guide
23. Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James (2011) | Get the Reading Guide
24. Habibi by Craig Thompson (2011)
25. Make Something Up by Chuck Palahniuk (2015)
Browse more banned books on the American Library Association website.