When I started looking into the most popular challenged books, or the ones that are challenged most frequently, some of the ones I found really surprised me. I decided to do a short compilation post – which of these have you read? What other challenged/banned books have you read and loved?
Anne Frank – Diary of a Young Girl – Discovered in the attic in which she spent the last years of her life, Anne Frank’s diary has become a worldwide classic that is a powerful reminder of the horrors of war and an eloquent testament to the human spirit. I read this book for the first time when I was quite young and it definitely made an impression on me. I’d like to reread it as an adult to see if it has as much impact.
Neverwhere – Neil Gaiman has a huge following. Admittedly, I’ve yet to read any of his work, but I’m sure his fans would greatly protest his books being challenged or banned. Neverwhere is the story of what happens under the streets of London, a city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels. A city of people who have fallen through the cracks.
Looking For Alaska – I’ve read The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns, but John Green makes the list for Looking for Alaska, a story that focuses on an MC called Miles “Pudge” Halter and Alaska Young. Pudge meets Alaska at boarding school and nothing is ever the same again. I’m hoping to read this one in the month of September.
Eleanor and Park – This has been on my TBR for a while, and I’m going to read and review it this month. I haven’t read any Rainbow Rowell yet, I was put off by the hype, but I think now is the time to dive in and I’ve heard great things about E&P. Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.
The Colour Purple – I vaguely remember reading this when I was quite young, very early teens I think. I do remember there were parts of it that I didn’t enjoy, I think it may have been a little graphic? So, I stopped reading it. See? People can make their own judgements without having to ban books! I’d really like to try this one again.
Of Mice and Men – I read this book when I was 15/16 for my GCSE English Literature exam. We all really enjoyed it, but it was a little death-by-analysis. It’s a really short book though, and I wouldn’t mind reading it again, except I’m pretty sure I can remember the entire story because we basically had to know it inside-out for the test!
Harry Potter – Thee number one most challenged book between 2000-2009 according to the American Library Association…
banning harry potter because it “promotes witchcraft”, to kill a mockingbird and the colour purple because it “promotes racism” …how bloody stupid though, I mean really. They aren’t promoting anything, they are questioning it!
Neverwhere is one of my favourite books, ugh so good.
I couldn’t believe it was one of the most often contested books though!! I have to say it struck me that it’s often popular books that make these lists, no one is out hunting down the wide variety of books that are likely far more offensive! Sigh. I’m looking forward to getting stuck into a few “banned” books and reviewing them this month, if I could ever get out of the little rut that I’m in. And I’ve loads I want to write about on the blog this weekend. Sigh, more time is needed! R x
looking forward to each review you do on them! (as usual!)
I read Anne Frank when I was 10, then tried to reread it a few years ago but found it too upsetting… I knew what was going to happen and it broke my heart when she’d talk about her dreams for the future. I’ll definitely try and pick it up again soon, as her writing is great and her story so important. The scandal surrounding it (particularly the most recent one I heard of) is just ridiculous!
What was the most recent one? I don’t know if it will upset me more now because surely I’ll understand more of it, and other consequences, whereas when I was younger I was reading it like the diary of a girl around my age, without full knowledge of what happened. I’d like to try it again, I like WW fiction. Have you read The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult?? R x
I can’t believe anyone would call that passage “pornographic”… seeing as it is rather clinical, not sexual!
Oh I love war fiction too! I think I was about 18 when I last tried to read it, I’d probably be able to handle it now.
No, I haven’t read that one… I think the last Picoult book I read was the one about the boy with Aspergers, that was a while ago now.
I can’t remember the name of that one right now. Oh, it came to me, House Rules? I liked it. The Storyteller was really good, I can well-up at a book but I rarely full on cry. I bawled at The Storyteller.
That’s the one!
I saw The Storyteller at the local bookstore this afternoon but they wanted $35 for the paperback so I’ll wait till I see it on sale 😉 I recently gave away a whole lot of my old Jodi Picoult books that I didn’t like… never giving away Plain Truth or 19 Minutes though!
Thanks for the recommendation!
Oh no, don’t pay that for it! When it was first released I got the hardback for £3.99 in my local Sainsbury’s grocery store, and I think it’s on The Works at the minute for £1.99 in the 6 books for £10 fiction deal – even with shipping this could be a good site for you? http://www.theworks.co.uk/p/contemporary-fiction/the-storyteller/9781444766660
I gave away a lot of books by my favourite childhood authors that I used to collect – Roald Dahl, Jacqueline Wilson and Meg Cabot mostly, and swore I would never do it again! I have a J Picoult collection and they’ll not be going anywhere! I think those are two I’ve yet to read!! I own them, but haven’t read them yet. My favourites by her are House Rules, The Storyteller and Handle With Care. And because I’m a grown up now, I recently decided to reclaim the lost books of my childhood with this – http://www.thebookpeople.co.uk/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/qs_product_tbp?storeId=10001&productId=138524
I cannot believe Diary of Anne Frank os banned. That is history, something that actually happened. I remember reading and doing a report on it in 7th grade. Harry potter is one I can understand for religious purposes, although I am a christian and my grandma didnt mind us reading it in school, because I understood it was fiction. a lot of parents dont think that way. A kid in my class wasnt able to read it because his mother thought it would “convert” him which caused bullying to the young boy and it put an end to our class continuing it. I dont understand Eleanor and Park. Kids hear worse everyday, so that one is weird to me. Another one that doesnt shock me is The Color Purple, while it is sad and touching and I think very informative, it is Very graphic and probably better for more hs aged children. I dunno sorry about rambling, I jist dislike that books are banned. Its sad we as people cant make reading decisions on our own
I’m sure it’s been banned from some school curriculums, but banned books week also focuses on books that are challenged often, though luckily rarely does a full-on ban take place. But yes, I agree, it is history and to ban it is to cover up the awful events that happened at that time, which we should never do. When it comes to Harry Potter for religious purposes though, I would argue that children often believe in magical things anyway, I’m sure people who have opposed Harry Potter allow their children to watch Cinderella, or leave their teeth under the pillow for the tooth fairy, or believe in Santa Claus. I don’t understand how you can pick and choose the difference between these things. HP also has SO many moral stories underlying the books, which if parents took the time to read, I’m sure they would find it beneficial to their child. HP was such a MASSIVE part of my childhood that I feel anyone who isn’t allowed to read it is being deprived! Your example there is a prime example of a parent making a rash decision without looking into it first – though to be fair if the Ministry popped up tomorrow, I’d be first in the queue to be converted!!! 😀
I haven’t read E&P yet, but I’m looking forward to it! And I think that’s another great point – parents are banning these books on the basis that they want to protect their children – if only they knew what their children are up to! I think as we get older we like to forget what being a kid was really like, and what we got up to ourselves! I can’t remember The Colour Purple in great detail, but I do remember that I found it upsetting when I was younger, though I would love to read it again now. I think some of the topics are trigger topics for me though, they make me anxious for some reason. But again, those topics and events happen in real life too, we can’t just turn a blind eye to things because they are uncomfortable!
Don’t worry about rambling, I love rambly comments, and I’m always pleased when a post inspires such a great response! 😀
I also read the Diary of Anne Frank when I was really young (about 10) and it has definitely stuck with me, especially the bit at the end where it described what happened to each member of the attic. I desperately want to re-read again though, I actually don’t know why haven’t yet.
I think I’m going to try and fit in a reread soon too! Maybe this month for Banned Books!
I was really let down by Alaska, so unlike JG… I think it’s his lamest work to date :L
As for Anne Frank… I just read today how there are people believing the holocaust a hoax, and how there are websites that ‘prove’ it. And how some schools use that as actual reference in history. OFC in America… mental!
As for HP, don’t get me started. It has wizards so ofc the religious world will get mental about it. -.-‘
Oh no. I’ve heard that TFioS really is John’s best work to-date, and I have to say I’ve only read Paper Towns other than TFioS, and found it to be quite lacking. Aside from TFioS, I don’t really understand all the mad hype about his writing, though as a personality he is fabulous! I had heard good things about Alaska though, and average things about the others, so I was looking forward to it. I’m still going to read it to see what I think…
So crazy to think these are all banned books. I just can’t understand the concept of banning books as it only makes them more appealing anyway. And the reasons that these books are banned are ridiculous.
I much prefer Looking for Alaska to TFIOS (which I also love) but I just think LFA is so much better and a bit under-rated.
I have E&P to read too. Sitting on my bookshelf with way too long now so I hope to get to it soon.
And I re-read The Diary of Anne Frank every few years. I love it and it’s such a powerful book, it never fails to move me.
Harry Potter, bwahahah, how could anyone think of banning this. I know it’s mostly religious organisations, with even a previous pope giving out about it. Please! Have they nothing better to focus on!
Definitely agree, if you tell me I CAN’T read it, I’m wondering what juicy content you’re withholding from me! Lol I’ve heard some good things about LFA, I’m hoping to get to it this month. I’m a mood reader, so the books I wanted to read this month I haven’t got to yet, though to be honest a LOT of books are challenged, so no doubt I’m reading those without even realising it.
You can never say a bad word about HP around me, so that instantly gets my disdain too!!! It shaped the childhoods of millions of children. It’s practically an institution! R x
Wow. I’ve read about half of those books, and some of these are really surprising. Harry Potter, though, I’ve heard of complaints about that before. I don’t think it would’ve been such a thing if it hadn’t gotten so popular.
A lot of the contested/banned books are the ones that are popular, and a lot of them surprise me too, I couldn’t help but think, “really, you want to ban some of the best books ever written?!” Madness!
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