September 21, 2006

Banned Book Week

Banned Book Week begins this weekend (September 23-30). After perusing the list of books that have been challenged or banned, I came up with two lists of my own. For today's Thursday Thirteen, I've listed thirteen books I read as a child/teenager that have been challenged or banned. I'll share the books I've read as an adult in next week's list.

1. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

2. Go Ask Alice -anonymous

3. Julie of the Wolves - Jean Craighead George

4. Forever - Judy Bloom

5. The Outsiders - S. E. Hinton

6. Flowers for Algernon - Daniel Keyes

7. Lord of the Flies - William Golding

8. The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald

9. The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck

10. The Sun Also Rises - Ernest Hemingway

11. A Separate Peace - John Knowles

12. The Jungle - Upton Sinclair

13. Cujo - Stephen King

I can't imagine missing the experience of reading these wonderful books simply because a group of individuals decided (for me!) they are unfit to be read for one reason or another. I'd continue my rant against banning books, but I think I'd be preaching to the choir.


  1. Wow, I had no idea so many of these wonderful books had been banned or challenged. Great post! Some on your list are favorites of mine - I love Julie of the Wolves and A Separate Peace, in particular. I haven't yet read Flowers for Algernon, but it's a recent purchase and hope to read it soon. And, I still need to read The Great Gatsby; that's one I'm embarrassed to admit I still haven't read.

  2. I've read almost all of these - whenever I hear of a book being challenged I immediately try to track down a copy to see what all of the fuss is about. Which I think a lot of other people do too - so really, those people attempting to get the books banned are actually encouraging people like me to go out and buy a copy.

  3. Les ~ Where is this list of books that are banned or challenged? Who are the people that created the list? Is there an explanation for why "they" put them on the "list"? And...does this only apply to selected states or is this nation-wide? I never thought about all of the above before (oops! showing my ignorance), but now I need to know. :)

    Kirsten ~ You rebel you! :)

  4. Nancy - I had a pretty good idea since we have a book about banned books that lists quite a few of these titles. I remember reading Julie of the Wolves, but boy, I couldn't tell you what it's about! I had to have been 8-10 when I read it. Ah, The Great Gatsby. I've read it 3 times and still don't think it's as great as most people. Why 3 times than, you ask? First in high school, second when my daughter had to read it in high school, and third a few years ago (just to see if I missed something along the way).

    Kirsten - Me, too! That's one reason why I read Lady Chatterly's Lover.

    Joy - Click on the red "Banned Book Week" and "list of books" in the text of my blog entry. You'll notice throughout my blog that if you hover the cursor over an underlined piece of text, you'll see the hyperlink (url) at the bottom of your screen. To answer your last question, this is nationwide.

  5. LOL...I really did read your post, but was so incensed (actually it was more like surprised at some of the titles) that I neglected to notice that you had links to the list. I just quickly typed out what first came to mind. :) Thanks. I will definitely be checking out the site.

  6. Thinking of books banned gives me such shivers, as though we all lived in such a stifled country as many of those in the Middle East. (Did you ever read A Reader in Teh'Ran? Talk about scary!)

    I've read all those you listed with the exception of The Jungle, and Lord of The Flies. They were all very much worth the read, and I think our lives would be so much less without exposure to many kinds of thoughts, or many kinds of books.

  7. Whoa, I had no idea all those fine books had been banned/challenged! I used to love "Lord of the Flies" and recently when I got my daughters to read it, they thought it was a pretty marvellous read, too! I'm having a really hard time believing they would ban "The Great Gatsby" and "The Sun Also Rises" and all the other books on your list... makes me appreciate these books even more.

    Thanks for another fine post, Les!

  8. Why was Julie of the Wolves banned? I'm sure it was a silly reason, but I'd still like to know.

    Wow, Les -- you've really been hard at work on your blog! I'm starting to feel like a slacker!

  9. Bellezza - No, I haven't read A Reader in Teh'Ran, but it sounds like one I might like. They were all very much worth the read, and I think our lives would be so much less without exposure to many kinds of thoughts, or many kinds of books. Couldn't have said it any better! I agree wholeheartedly.

    Lotus - I read Lord of the Flies in high school and didn't care for it. However, I read it again a few years ago and thought is was extremely powerful and well-done. I enjoyed it so much that I rented the old black & white movie (can't remember who all was in it). It was a bit dated, but chilling nonetheless.

    Bybee - I'm not sure why Julie of the Wolves was challenged/banned. The list didn't give specific reasons for each. Perhaps Google can help us... Don't feel like a slacker! Aren't you still traveling or are you back in South Korea now?


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