Classics will always find their way to us.
Freedom of Thought and Freedom of Speech are fundamental human rights.
Don’t let anyone tell you what you can or cannot think, read, or say.
Here are 7 Classic Books that scared some individuals so badly in the past — because the ideas contained between their covers threatened the comfort of one’s own belief system — that they requested their removal from public libraries and book shops. Sometimes, for incredibly feeble reasons.
Even though at the present moment the books on this list are not banned in most Western countries, I believe that reading them and connecting with the content that got them off the shelves in the first place— even if only for a limited amount of time, is incredibly important in the ongoing process of standing up to any type of censorship, the signs of which we get to see right now, but with slightly different targets.
Assert your fundamental rights, defy censorship and think freely.
The book title links are not referral links. They are only meant to take you on Amazon to read the blurb and decide whether you want to read the book or not.
7 Classic Banned Books That You Should Read Anyway
My reading percentage for the books I recommend via this list is 100%.
- The Catcher in the Rye — J.D. Salinger
I loved the main character’s carefree attitude. Frowned upon by others. Banned in many areas of the United States due to profanity and content deemed “unacceptable”. Linton-Stockton, IN High School considered that the book is “blasphemous and undermines morality”.
2. Lord of the Flies — William Golding
This book terrified me and there is still a residual feeling linked to it. I am planning on reading it again since it’s been more than 15 years since I read it first. Banned for a variety of things but mainly for “excessive violence and bad language”.
3. 1984 — George Orwell
Orwell’s books seem almost like predictions of a totalitarian future. I read this book a long time ago but its content is an incredible lens for current events. Must-read for anyone who considers themselves a free thinker. Banned because it was seen as pro-Communism and included sexual content.
4. Lolita — Vladimir Nabokov
One of my favorite books. — Actually, most of the books on this list are among my favorites, but “Lolita” is in a class of its own. Banned because it addresses sensitive themes such as pedophilia and incest. Amazing book-to-screen adaptation with Jeremy Irons and Dominique Swain in leading roles.
5. Brave New World — Aldous Huxley
Another book that seems to be a glimpse into our future as a society. Scary and worrying in many respects. Banned for several things but mainly because of the way it treated sex — it made it “look like fun” was Ireland’s justification.
6. Animal Farm — George Orwell
George Orwell strikes again. His books ruffled many feathers. Animal Farm was seen as a “problem book” because it addressed the theme of masses who can rise against authority. I loved it for doing just that in an incredibly witty way. Orwell was seen as pro-Communist in the United States, yet “Animal Farm” was also banned in Russia.
7. The Awakening — Kate Chopin
Beautifully written. You’re completely detached from everyday life and immersed in the world of the story. It wasn’t really banned, but censored. The criticism centered on the fact that this was a story of self-discovery and it challenged the Victorian era’s views on gender roles. “Morbid,” “feeble,” and “vulgar”, I understand they’ve said.
How many of the books on this list have you read?
Which ones would you add?
My Banned Books TBR needs new bold items.
Thank you for reading.
Banned & Challenged Classics”, American Library Association, March 26, 2013. http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/classics (Accessed May 18, 2022)
Puchko, K. (2018, February 9). 15 facts about Kate Chopin’s the awakening. Mental Floss. Retrieved May 18, 2022, from https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/527341/15-facts-about-kate-chopins-awakening
This article was originally published on Medium on May 18, 2022.