21 Banned Books We Are Still Reading Today
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21 Banned Books We Are Still Reading Today

Celebrate Banned Books Week by picking up one of these classics.

21 Banned Books We Are Still Reading Today

This week (September 24- September 30) marks Banned Books Week, something close to my heart. Banned Books Week is an event taking place each year to celebrate the freedom to read. Throughout history, many books have been challenged, and banned by the community from schools and public libraries.

It is during this week that we must celebrate the freedom to read, and challenge the censorship of literature that has been shaping the way we think as individuals for centuries. To participate in Banned Books Week this year, I have compiled a list of influential books that have been banned in the past, and some of which continue to be challenged even today.

Here are the banned books I have either read on my own or as part of a school curriculum:

1. "Harry Potter" by J.K. Rowling

Reasons for challenging: Occult/Satanism, Violence, Anti-Family

2. "Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck

Reasons for challenging: Racism, Profanity, Violence

3. "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain

Reasons for challenging: Racism, Offensive Language

4. "The Color Purple" by Alice Walker

5. "The Giver" by Lois Lowry

Reasons for challenging: Drugs, Violence, Anti-Family, Lethal Injections

6. "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley

Reasons for challenging: Offensive Language, Sexual Content, Drugs/Alcohol/Smoking, Anti-Family

7. "The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini

Reasons for challenging: Not Suited for the Age Group, Offensive Language, Sexual Content

8. "The Things They Carried" by Tim O'Brien

Reasons for challenging: Profanity, Sexual Content, Drugs, Violence, Images of War

9. "The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood

Reasons for challenging: Sexual Content, Profanity, Suicide, Violence, Anti-Christian

10. "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Reasons for challenging: Profanity, Sexual Content

11. "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Reasons for challenging: Morality, Obscenity, Sexual Content

12. "Their Eyes Were Watching God" by Zora Neale Hurston

Reasons for challenging: Offensive Language, Sexual Content

13. "The Canterbury Tales" by Geoffrey Chaucer

Reasons for challenging: Offensive Language, Sexual Content

14. "1984" by George Orwell

Reasons for Challenging: Pro-Communism, Sexual Content

While these are only some of the banned books I have personally read, here are a few more famous books that have been banned or challenged:

15. "The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger

Reasons for challenging: Offensive Language, Violence, Racism

16. "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee

Reasons for challenging: Discussion of Rape, Morality, Profanity

17. "Slaughterhouse-Five" by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Reasons for challenging: Pornography, Foul Language, Immorality

18. "Fahrenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury

Reasons for challenging: Offensive Language, Questionable Themes

19. "Beloved" by Toni Morrison

Reasons for challenging: Violence, Sexual Content, Discussion of Bestiality

20. "Lord of the Flies" by William Golding

Reasons for challenging: Offensive Language, Sexual Content, Violence, Religious Viewpoint, Racism

21. "Gone with the Wind" by Margaret Mitchell

Reasons for challenging: Slavery, Racism, Profanity

Many of the reasons why these books were challenged are similar in nature, such as the use of offensive language, sexual content, or racism. However, they still continue to be taught in schools. Why? Because aside from the offensive content, each of these books has the ability to make an even bigger impact on the reader.

Whether it be teaching the values of friendship as in Harry Potter, teaching about certain points in the history of the world (discussing war or politics), or simply to open the eyes of the reader and allow them to become more analytic and insightful in their reading, these books can all shape the reader in some way.

And while the challenges to these books may be valid in the eyes of those against them, that does not give a few individuals the right to dictate what the greater whole can read. Censorship of literature should be based on individual needs, rather than being brought to a state or national level. So, in honor of great literature, go read a banned book this week!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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