On Banned Books

No doubt you’ll be hearing a lot about banned books this week as this is (officially) the week for it. When I saw that banned books were the theme for this week’s Book Chat, I didn’t think I’d have anything to say as I’ve never read any… but then I found out that, actually, I have. Surprisingly enough, some of my favourite books were banned at one time:

Gone With the Wind – Margaret Mitchell – For blatant racism and the immoral behaviour of the heroine

James and the Giant Peach – Roald Dahl – For containing magical elements and references to drugs and alcohol

The Witches – Roald Dahl – For stating ‘witches can only be women’

The Harry Potter Series – JK Rowling – For promoting witchcraft [let’s face it, this is probably accurate… who didn’t pray for a letter from Hogwarts?!]

Jane Eyre  – Charlotte Bronte – Because the lead characters ‘live in sin’ 

Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald – For repeated references to sex

As well as Candide, Macbeth, The Awakening, Heart of Darkness, Madame Bovary, The Diary of Anne Frank, Dubliners, Dracula, Germinal and Wuthering Heights – all books I’ve had to study at some point!

I also found a few banned books on my ‘to be read’ shelf:

The Color Purple – Alice Walker – For (and I quote) ‘troubling ideas of race relations’

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain – For being right wing, for being left wing and for using the ‘N’ word (despite the anti-racist stance of the author…)

Dr Zhivago – Boris Pasternak – For the underlying criticism of the Bolsheviks

The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood – For being anti-Christian and pornographic

Carrie – Stephen King – Where do I start? Underage sex, violence, anti-religious and… swearing

Twelfth Night – William Shakespeare – For showing a representation of an ‘alternative’ lifestyle

Lady Chatterley’s Lover – DH Lawrence – Not sure if it’s for all the sex, or all the cross-class sex…

Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell – those damned communists…

I can’t help but laugh at some of the reasons for banning! Thank God censorship is so much more relaxed in the UK nowadays, I’d have nothing to read!

So how about you? Have you read any banned books you didn’t know about?

D x

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7 thoughts on “On Banned Books

  1. Great post, loved this, I bet there’s loads more, it just shows, we do ‘grow’…. and see things in a different light. I wonder how many books of the past were burnt before anyone got to read them! I also think that’s probably why Philip Pullman’s, The Golden Compass film from ‘his Dark Materials’ were diluted of the anti-religious elements from the novels and maybe why there was never a second or third film… but maybe there will be, later.

  2. I’ve read quite a few – cannot believe Captain Underpants topped the ALA 2012 list of most challenged books though! It’s just getting a bit ridiculous. If you don’t like the idea of something – don’t read it or don’t let your children read it surely?
    The alternative is a bit reminiscent of Berlin in 1933.
    Great post though – I still haven’t read Gone with the Wind!

  3. I’ve read quite a few of the banned books on the list and some of the reasons for banning some of them are incredible. I had to write an essay all about censorship last year for my librarianship degree and Banned Books Week featured quite a lot in it! 🙂 x

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