Ban Those Books… No, Really, Don’t

blur book stack books bookshelves
Photo by Janko Ferlic on

It is banned book week, which I always find strangely fun and interesting because… well, isn’t a banned book such a delicious way of understanding the society in which it is banned?

Some books that have been banned:

1. The Lorax

Banned in 1971 because it was a dangerous piece of political propaganda (oh if we had only listened to the Lorax and the fate of precious Truffula trees).

2. As I Lay Dying

Banned in 1986 because it questioned the existence of God. There are A LOT of books banned for this reason, though I mention this one specifically because it was one of the first Faulkner books I ever read and I devoured it. The book questioned ideas that I had never thought to question. Ah literature, you lovely thing, you.

3. Lolita

Do I need to say more? Banned upon publication in 1955 and frequently throughout the last 60 or so years. This one fascinates me because the subject continues to be taboo (rightly) and the fact that it continues to horrify audiences over the many decades says something about our seemingly inherent view of sexuality and children… as in, don’t.

4. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

Get this, it has been frequently banned, because, and I quote: “It is a real downer.”

Really? Nooooooo…..

5. The Color Purple

Because it deals with racism, sexuality, and African history… oh, and racism.

6. Along the same lines: Beloved

Because it deals with racism, sexuality, and violence… oh, and racism (got to give it to my American brethren, they are consistent).

7. An oldy: The Canterbury Tales

Because, well, you might have guessed it: sexual innuendos. As humans, apparently the sexy is not cool. Morality and all that. Pshaw.

8, 9, 10.  The contemporaries: Twilight; Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone; Fifty Shades of Grey

By no means similar, these more contemporary reads have run into quite the opposition from Americans, mostly in response to the magic; having relations with a vampire; pornography.

*shrugs* What can you do?

Anyway, there are a ton more books that have been banned off and on throughout history; the brilliant thing is that in the United States if it is banned in one place, it is available in another. Freedom to read as we please. This is a very happy thing indeed.


What is your favorite “banned book?”



2 thoughts on “Ban Those Books… No, Really, Don’t

  1. The book that often springs to mind for me was “The Hindus: An Alternative History” by Wendy Doniger, a scholar of myths. Penguin were pressured to discontinue it because the hard right in India didn’t approve of a western, female academic writing about all the minorities in Hindu history who had been sidelined in the official narrative. It was withdrawn and the remaining copies pulped.


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