The end of Banned Books Week

I don’t know ho450px-book_burningw it can still stun me how intolerant the U.S. sometimes is, given how many years I have railed against it, but it still does. September is the month that libraries focus on banned books in the U.S. for a week (or so).   The library in Washington D.C. did a scavenger hunt.

Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982 according to the American Library Association. Most did not get banned, but some did.

It may surprise some to know that one of the most banned contemporary authors is Judy Blume. She writes for kids and teens and dares (gasp) to tackle subjects like masturbation (Deenie), periods and boobs (Margaret), sex and birth control (Forever…), or death (Tiger Eyes). While she has sold something like 85 million books, she is not loved by all. In an interview with the Guardian she mentions that even recently (2014) she received 700 hate mails and death threats.

So, to honor the First Amendment here is my list of my favorite famous banned books:

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain

Beloved, Toni Morrison (my discussion on Beloved)

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, Dee Brown

The Call of the Wild, Jack London

Catch-22, Joseph Heller

The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger

Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury

For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway

Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell (I actually think that this is not that well written, but included it because of its fame).

The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison

The Jungle, Upton Sinclair

Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman

Moby-Dick; or The Whale, Herman Melville

The Red Badge of Courage, Stephen Crane

The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne

Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein

A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams

Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston ()

To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe

Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak


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