Top 10 Banned Books of the 20th Century
#10 - The Grapes of Wrath
The Grapes of Wrath Image

"Before I knowed it, I was sayin' out loud, 'The hell with it! There ain't no sin and there ain't no virtue. There's just stuff people do. It's all part of the same thing.'"
The Grapes of Wrath [1939] John Steinbeck

#09 - Lady Chatterley's Lover
Lady Chatterley's Lover Image

"Ravished! How ravished one could be without ever being touched. Ravished by dead words become obscene, and dead ideas become obsessions."
Lady Chatterley's Lover [1928] D. H. Lawrence

#08 - Slaughterhouse-Five
Slaughterhouse-Five Image

"All this happened, more or less. The war parts, anyway, are pretty much true. One guy I knew really was shot in Dresden for taking a teapot that wasn't his. Another guy I knew really did threaten to have his personal enemies killed by hired gunmen after the war. And so on. I've changed all the names."
Slaughterhouse-Five [1969] Kurt Vonnegut

#07 - To Kill a Mockingbird
To Kill a Mockingbird Image

"The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience."
To Kill a Mockingbird [1960] Harper Lee

#06 - Fahrenheit 451
Fahrenheit 451 Image

"The sun burnt every day. It burnt Time. The world rushed in a circle and turned on its axis and time was busy burning the years and the people anyway, without any help from him. So if he burnt things with the firemen and the sun burnt Time, that meant that everything burnt!"
Fahrenheit 451 [1953] Ray Bradbury

#05 - The Catcher in the Rye
The Catcher in the Rye Image

"It was that kind of a crazy afternoon, terrifically cold, and no sun out or anything, and you felt like you were disappearing every time you crossed a road."
The Catcher in the Rye [1951] J.D. Salinger

#04 - Tropic of Cancer
Tropic of Cancer Image

"I believe that today more than ever a book should be sought after even if it has only one great page in it. We must search for fragments, splinters, toenails, anything that has ore in it, anything that is capable of resuscitating the body and the soul."
Tropic of Cancer [1934] Henry Miller

#03 - Naked Lunch
Naked Lunch Image

"The Planet drifts to random insect doom..."
Naked Lunch [1959] William S. Burroughs

#02 - Ulysses
Ulysses Image

" a nightmare from which I am trying to awake."
Ulysses [1922] James Joyce

#01 - 1984
1984 Image

"Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. In this way every prediction made by the Party could be shown by documentary evidence to have been correct; nor was any item of news, or any expression of opinion, which conflicted with the needs of the moment, ever allowed to remain on record. All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary."
1984 [1949] George Orwell

User Comments - Add a Comment
Bahri - 2007-10-12 12:48:14
It is fantastic which books were banned in the past. I saw a similar list before, but I still wonder something: Why on earth? I'd really like to know what was the reason for these novels to be banned. The reasons must be very entertaining. I can understand Catcher In The Rye, the reason must be the dirty language. But the others, I simply can not understand. And Lolita? Was it banned also?
Milander - 2007-10-12 15:39:57
The reason many of these books were banned was for political reasons. The books described a state which promoted an alternative way of life or disparaged the state then extant. Either way the books were viewed as subversive and for that reason were banned. America and many western countries still have/maintain a list of banned books, perhaps the most prominent being "The anarchist's handbook". Possession of this book can get you 10 years in a federal penitentiary in the USA. It's available for free download if you know where to look.
Chris - 2007-10-12 16:17:13
I agree: It's astonishing which books were banned, I could imagine Lady Chatterly to be banned for "sexual contents" and even in "Ulysses" and Miller's "Tropic of Cancer" there are some sections with explicit sexual descriptions, but as for Vonnegut's "Slaugherhouse 5" and "1984" I'm somewhat baffled. It's especially juicy for Fahrenheit 451, as this book has book banning as its content. As far as I remember the title indicates the temperature at which paper starts to burn. - Anyway this list clearly shows the taboos of former times, the prudery, the intolerance and the naivety to think that banning a book is banning the ideas given in that book. It might have just the contrary effect: Something that's banned is more interesting because taboos deal with the things that are smouldering below the official society's surface of everyday life.
Jay V - 2007-10-12 16:31:07
It is my understanding that no book has been banned in schools more in the last 25 years than Huckleberry Finn.
emily - 2007-10-12 19:56:37
1984 has some lewd behavior in it too. & it's obvious about to kill a mockingbird & yes to huckleberry finn! good thing we can get over ourselves enough to un-ban classic literature. i need to read some of these.
Brian Nation - 2007-10-12 20:16:16
I've seen many list of banned books. Our library here in Vancouver has had displays of once-banned books. I've seen many references to certain books having been banned at some time. But I've never seen the verifiable information as to exactly where, when, and by whom these books were banned. I'm not disputing that all these books have been banned at one time but it would be helpful to know the facts.
Roger - 2007-10-12 21:53:07
Certainly the one of these books most appropriate for today is 1984. It came a little late, perhaps, but Orwell was right on target for life in an industrialized and dehumanized society, with an interminable war with enemies and alliances shifting like sand, where paranoia permeates the very air we breathe.
Randolph - 2007-10-13 19:33:54
I would like to know what the punishment was for having possession of one of these books. It would be a darn shame to do prison time for reading one. And with some of the books on this list, real ironic too.
Karen - 2007-10-14 20:18:51
I don't get it, some of those books sound like great reads. why are they banned? I've heard of some of them but, i didn't know that they were on this list ?!?
jkillah1 - 2007-10-15 00:23:49
1984 is screws with your head lol. If you've never read it, it's really freeky and makes you question reality, your government, and everything the media tells you. It makes the holocaust look desirable by comparison. 1984 is pretty much exactly what our governments are pushing for, but never quite get.
Adam Walford - 2007-10-15 01:50:02
Banned where? Germany, Russia, Vietnam, Cuba - oh I presume you mean The States in the way you expect everyone to know...
Mahdiyeh - 2007-10-15 21:37:15
Unbelievable.......... such master pieces and being forbidden!!!!!!111
Col Finlay - 2007-10-17 21:11:43
I read that the grapes of wrath was banned because it showed how in the depression some small Californian townspeople attacked the other poor US born family's at their campsites to drive them away. people from the midwest I think. Greed is the true racial line. and the aftermath of betrayal and actions unrepented.
Rollin - 2007-10-17 22:32:11
Who banned it, ive read alot of them in school, had to for summer book reports? I call bs on them being banned cause just a few years ago i read half of them only through school.
anon - 2007-10-17 22:47:23
You forgot "The Committee of 300"
Nate - 2007-10-18 00:10:24
No I have owned many of these books in the US and I have never been told that I was going to go to jail, or I had to get rid of them. I even had to read "To Kill a Mockingbird", "The Grapes of Wrath" as school projects. I also know people that have copies of "The anarchist's handbook". There is no 10 years in a federal penitentiary. That is a load of crap. I don't understand the lies that you people spit out.
Read further ... - 2007-10-18 04:46:43
Those of you calling BS 'cause you've read them in school/in the past few years that's because these books were ONCE banned in the United States - not that they currently are.
Eddie - 2007-10-18 09:13:23
Yes, I think it's important to realize these books were (and some of them still are!) among the most frequently banned during the 20th century - either by certain school districts, municipalities and in some cases countries). For instance, the publication of Tropic of Cancer in 1961 led to an obscenity trial here in the United States - that's why you can go down to Borders today and pick up this Henry Miller classic, which I encourage you to go out and do today!
One time at Banned Camp - 2007-10-18 11:39:14
All of these books are available at my local online bookseller. I am fairly sure I could also buy most of them at my local Mall Bookshop. It's a sign of progress that they are now available where at one time they might have been banned by Schools, States, Libraries, etc. I already own several of them, I just finished the Catcher in the Rye again last week (I read it on my cellphone!) I want my kids to read them too (When the time is right) since ideas are stimulating and mind-expanding. I remember reading Fahrenheit 451 in my early twenties and the feeling of liberation at that stage. Books should not be banned. Ignorance should be banned! ;)
Chris C, London - 2007-10-19 18:11:04
Perhaps it's a little simplistic to state that these books were "banned" without clarifying where and when they were banned. Certain of the books here cited were simply rejected by a few US school boards for a few weeks, but were always available in the local book store and were certainly not the subject of a federal ban in the USA. And most of these books were never 'banned' elsewhere - in Europe, for example. Sorry to come over all European here, but since the strapline of this web site is "Quietly Redefining the Internet" I feel compelled to point out that the Internet is still visible from Europe, however silently one may wish to redefine it. Finally I think it's worth pointing out that for some of the books cited - certainly for Lady Chatterley's Lover, which was indeed banned in the UK - the interdiction itself provided the publicity which propelled the book to general popularity.
spectator - 2007-10-19 22:23:08
i read most of these in high school.
dewey - 2007-10-20 00:42:08
plenty of books have been banned in europe . . . ever heard of hitler, stalin and francisco franco - plenty of book burnings to go around, as well as the occasional banishment to the gulag? how about the Catholic Church's Index Librorum Prohibitorum?
poprox101 - 2007-10-21 14:52:26
I was slightly surprised to find that Communist Mannifesto wasn't here. I'm sure it was banned in the U.S. sometime around the Red Scare.
Blake - 2007-10-21 18:01:17
These books are really banned? I've read of few of those books in English class such as Fahrenheit 451 and we are planning to read To Kill a Mockingbird next year. (8th grade when reading Fahreheit 451)
TheMadMage - 2007-10-21 19:16:41
The reasons they were banned all stem from one major idea; a rather simple one at that. Fear. Those who are in power and in control fear losing it. These are the books that can change society. These are the books that can make people rise up and fight against oppression. Leaders are afraid that if someone reads 1984, they'll look around and say "hey, wait a minute. this is exactly what's going on here." They cannot risk losing power, for fear of what that might mean. So long as there is freedom of speech and expression, then a country will remain free, because it has to. It knows that the people could get their hands on something like these and then call for a reform. Ideas are the only things that have ever changed the world.
sdfg - 2007-10-21 20:49:29
ok. why in the world would they ban to kill a mockingbird. we just did a huge project on it in Ap english, and i saw nothing worth banning. im not saying it was a good book ( i found it rather boring) but i saw nothing that people shouldent be reading.
kiah - 2007-10-21 21:57:30
the book 1984 was banned b/c of the refering to the communist party and hitler as trying to control every aspect of every human beings life. this book is one of my favorites
Ervoldt - 2007-10-21 23:11:58
rather amusing to find Fahrenheit 451 on the list. it's almost ironic.
Kat - 2007-10-22 00:31:06
I liked Ulysses we read it and watched a movie on it.It does have some stuff like where he takes some girls *to bed* but otherwise it was a great book
Robert - 2007-10-22 01:48:56
The anarchist's handbook". Its banned because its a How to book on making explosives and posession isnt a crime, but selling it is.
xxy - 2007-10-22 11:29:08
salman rushdie!?!
Tack - 2007-10-22 12:03:12
yes, you people out there who are saying this is bs and all that crap... you are effing idiotic... of course its the states because i believe if i'm not mistaken... they are american books... to whoever said something about "the anarchists handbook" its the Anarchist's COOKBOOK... and it's illegal because it tells you how to make bombs... if they came into your house searching because you were a suspected terrorist, do you you think they would take that book lightly? no... now shut up and go sit in your god-forsaken corner with the dunce hat on.
Courtney - 2007-10-22 14:12:29
Everyone needs to stop asking the same questions that everyone answered. They are not banned now for fucks sake.
godcixelsyd - 2007-10-22 15:48:14
Whoever is reading this list would probably also enjoy "Johnny Got His Gun" by Dalton Trambo... I may have spelled the last name incorrectly but it was also banned for being antiwar durring a war. Good ol' US gov.
Paul A. - 2007-10-23 01:50:26
I have read several of these books in my English class, and according to them, they are required reading to. They include: To Kill A Mockingbird, The Catcher in the Rye and The Grapes of Wrath. I live up in New York. Most of these books are wither 11th or 12th Grade required reading.
Yail Bloor - 2007-10-23 18:59:43
This is in response to a previous comment about books still being banned in the USA. The comment states that the Anarchist Cookbook (alas, tis not called handbook) can get you 10 years in jail if you possess it. Unfortunately you can buy copies from Barnes and Noble within the USA and you will not get carted off to prison. The internet version is more up to date I imagine, but possession still will not get you jail time. For better or worse, censorship is much more subtle than that in the USA.
Kikkoman - 2007-10-24 18:30:01
1984 but no Brave New World? My English teacher is going to be pissed about this...
Jase - 2007-10-25 20:53:51
When it says they were banned, it means that individual libraries, schools, and such have banned the books. It doesn't mean that the United States or any country in particular has banned them. There has never been a ban by the federal government on any book in the US, including the Anarchist Cookbook. If more people took advantage of their freedoms and actually read, they might know this.
E - 2007-10-26 00:44:06
i have read a couple of these books back in high school. very good reads.
RobbieAZ - 2007-10-26 00:46:22
Another note to the people that state they have the above books. The books mentioned were written a long time ago and were banned when they were first printed. So please do a little research before making a foolish comment.
Justin - 2007-10-26 03:04:43
Banning a book at an elementary school is quite different than a government trying to ban a book from its citizens.
Diane - 2007-10-26 05:12:15
Celebrate Freedom! Read a Banned Book!
D. - 2007-10-26 19:21:35
banned books? the anachists cookbook ..get caught reading that! 1984 = britain 2007 I.D cards biometric passports, cameras everywhere oh and spin to create paranoia
Jessica - 2007-10-27 01:03:01
I've had to read two of these books for school assignments. I don't believe they are truly banned.
catuswren - 2007-10-27 07:17:13
I'm probably old enough to be the mother of most of you. These books were all banned somewhere, sometime in the United States. I am certain they are banned by certain school districts today. They are or were, for their time, revolutionary. They challenged authority, and government "doublespeak" a word added to the language by "1984" ,they questioned immoral social behavior (such as racism in "To Kill a Mockingbird", class hatred and unjust economics in "The Grapes of Wrath", sexual mores- "Tropic of Cancer" "Lady Chatterly's Lover", and adolescent rebellion-"Catcher in the Rye"- wouldn't want any of you kids to get any ideas, now, would we? All of these books are essential reading for you to be aware of the way our governments can and do manipulate us, of how our culture views certain behaviors, and how our societies make it impossible for some people, whether the Okies of the Grapes of Wrath or the illegal immigrants in the U.S.(or depised minorities of whatever country)of today, to live with dignity and hope. After you read these, you'll really be qualified to participate in the electoral process. And you'll be alerted to the danger of book banning anywhere, anytime.
alicia.. - 2007-10-28 00:50:14
is it possible to find them now..?
Stephanie - 2007-10-29 02:20:49
I can't believe Invisible Man wasn't on this list. It's still not allowed to be read in many of the school districts around me, and the predecessor of my AP Literature teacher had to fight to get it into the curriculum of the class (consisting mostly of 12th graders) about 10 years ago, I believe. And it's definitely more important than a select few books on this list.
woody guthrie - 2007-10-29 10:12:57
Theres an amazing place on this new fangled thingy called the internet, if you type in the book title in the little box lots of places called online shops appear. Or just go to the library
Gill - 2007-10-29 20:24:59
The only one of these books banned in Britain was 'Lady Chatterley's Lover'. All the others were okay. America banned many more books than any other country...perhaps thats where the term 'Nanny State' comes from! Today, anything goes in books and films...much of which is too explicit.
anonymous - 2007-10-30 16:46:53
So much for banned books, I read five of those books as required reading for my public high school education in the often backwards state of Georgia. - 2007-10-30 20:53:53
what? harper lee's to kill a mocking bird is a banned book? wow... Wasn't it a classic?
John - 2007-10-30 21:53:48
In response to Tack who previously states all the books are American, I think you are very much mistaken, Lawrence and Orwell were British and Joyce was Irish.
Caitlin - 2007-10-31 12:55:08
Just for everyones information: most books are banned by school boards, though some were, in the short term, banned by state departments of education or even on the federal level. Most of these, as stated before, were ostensibly banned for lewd or violent content, though most scholars theorize it was more for political reasons than anything else. 1984 was actually supposed to be titled 1948: Orwell was trying to address what he saw as the dictatorship forming in modern, post-war Britain and the rest of Europe. His editors made him change it. Books are, unfortunately, still being banned, mostly by school boards at this point. Many of them are children's books, though some are not, and there are still places where Huck Finn is not acceptable reading, even for high school students, because it is seen as "racist" for using the n-word. Many say it is actually trying to cover up latent racism in communities by refusing to let people address the issue. Asking local high school English teachers about book banning, or even librarians, usually starts a great conversation.
Curious Coincidence - 2007-11-01 01:34:25
Many of the dates are near the end or beginning of a decade. Curious
Jackie - 2007-11-02 20:53:05
I think it's hilarious that people are asking if they can buy these books now. OF COURSE you can buy these books now. Do you ever go to a bookstore? A book that is banned just means that a library or school district refused to carry it at one time. It's not like the U.S. Government outlawed the book.
Colin - 2007-11-02 20:55:25
I've read most of these. If you haven't yet you should. They are all wonderful pieces of literature.
desertdweller - 2007-11-03 01:11:51
Books are still being banned today. The current targets of the censors have titles like "Heather has Two Mommies"
sh00ter8 - 2007-11-03 02:31:41
I have seen a similar list in my University English classes. It was our required reading list. Except for the Burroughs and Miller. Those were just for fun. To Milander: it's the Anarchist's Cookbook and they sell it in stores so the myth of a prison term is just that, a myth.
Les Herasymchuk - 2007-11-04 04:01:50
Globalization or no globalization but you cannot zero in on books in English only.
TD - 2007-11-04 04:16:00
Wow....I read To Kill a Mockingbird my ninth grade year, it being on the list of novels we were to read that year. And...just wow, my term paper was over 1984.
Banned? My ass - 2007-11-04 21:00:39
so i read slaughter house five in eight grade,to kill a mockingbird in ninth grade, and we are going to read ulysses, the grapes of wrath, an 1984. there is reasons for the books to be banned, racism, sex, politial and cultural offence, but they are still sold,and read. so I personally see no reason for these or any books being banned. what happenend to freedom of speech? i just thing this whole censorship thing is lame. yes people are offended, but its life. there are some individuals in this world who just want their word out, and if you dont like it, ignore it deal with it
Chicken Bunny - 2007-11-05 19:37:41
Brilliant list. Although I'm fairly disappointed A Clockwork Orange wasn't on there. I've only just finished reading Slaughterhouse 5 too, I ordered it from America. (you can't get it over here in the uk, now isn't that stupid?...)
TomKat - 2007-11-06 18:58:41
Actually this list might be for fictional works only since according to the OCLC the #1 BANNED BOOK is the Bible followed by Huckleberry Finn...
Evan - 2007-11-11 12:56:27
I just finished reading Fahrenheit 451 2 days ago, and I think it's especially ironic given that the book was about the unending nature of censorship. Some of the letters the author got about it were hilarious; it's like the people read into the meaning of the book just enough to find something to complain about and ask him to censor them out, defeating the purpose.
Isabella - 2007-11-15 21:29:11
Hey, people, just letting you know that books cannot be banned in the United States. It is considered unconstitutional, and I agree. These are books that were banned from schools, libraries, etc, or challenged by the public because of certain content! My favorites are Farenheit 451 and To Kill a Mocking Bird! They are amazing books, and also required to read for my eight grade class. I hope you enjoy them!
MA Needs Help - 2007-11-16 14:59:36
Fahrenheit 451 is MUCH BETTER we think it should be # 1 WE HATE BOOKS!! BURN THE BOOKS AWAY TODAY!!!HAHAHAHAHA
Barbara Snow - 2007-11-26 14:09:47
My teenage grandaughters need to read 23 books this year. I am thinking of a few banned book, could be read at home. When I was young these books meant a great deal to me. Any thoughts out there?
peerpressure - 2007-12-09 19:38:44
Books carry ideas (or at least good books do), the purpose of banning books at any level (national government down to headmaster) is to prevent the ideas taking hold. To continue to promote - through absence of knowledge - ignorance. This is ably demonstrated by the large number of people who have clearly posted their ill-informed view/s, without reading the other posts. I.E. they surfed the net through something like 'stumbleupon' primarily because they were bored with their trashy music and just couldn't find enough trashy TV to fill their evening. Then having found this page, flicked down it, forming an 'opinion' on the way. which they posted without thought and then moved on! It is amazing that we in the West have had a hundred years of compulsory education and yet produced whole legions, whole trailer parks, whole brownstone/council estates/projects full of dunderheads who if/when push comes-to-shove will be found to have such a lack of independent thought they will - with ease - fail the 'Standford Experiment' and become book burners/camp guards in an instant. You only have to look at the behaviour exibited accross the Balkans in the 90's and at Abu Grabe prison more resently. Our Governments have quite happily eschewed 'Education' in favour of 'Teaching' - by wrote, or 'Coaching' to pass set standards. Education is the "Promotion and maintainance of the desire to learn", something you will only find among the top scientists and philosophers from the top University's along with - ironically - the sort of mavericks who drop out in disgust and become writers or comedians, often of import! Often banned! And tragically often ending their time on earth early. Briefly - The reason they tried to ban Lady Chatterly and I think did - while the case was going through court - was not for the foul language, nor the sexual practices, but rather that a 'chap' from the lower classes would be able to shake the bones of a 'proper' girl. Even worse that the gardener had not been to the 'Great war, while the 'Lady's' husband had suffered his affliction there. It was about 'class-war' and the end of the Victorian epoch, not naughty words.
boahalaaku - 2007-12-24 20:10:32
varah cool ingey!
jason - 2007-12-28 03:55:22
Abbie Hoffman's 'Steal This Book" was a classic too bad that was banned. would love to get another copy someone stole mine.
Kylee - 2008-01-06 23:32:15
I have read almost all of these books! Many of them are among my favorite. I cannot believe that great literature like this is being banned!
Karel - 2008-01-09 03:52:45
why isnt mein Kampf on the list? to my knowledge isnt it still banned?
Ferinheit 451 - 2008-01-09 18:59:19
Does anyone else see the irony in a book being banned that is about how horrible it is to live in a world where books are banned?
Thomas - 2008-01-22 23:17:42
Selling "The Anarchist's Cookbook" is not a crime!! I own a bookstore in Indiana & purchased it through my distributor Baker & Taylor w/in the last 10 months (do the research). I even have the invoice if you want to see copies. Did I get put on a list? Who cares. Will I order another one? If someone asks for it, absolutely. I'd even do a discount if every one of you that posts a comment wants to get a copy....& I'll mail it to you anonymously & shred your address afterwords! It's like my "intelligent" friends who went to four years of college & then were dumbfounded when I came home from the bookstore with a copy of "Mein Kampf". Fear is a contagious disease & the masses are infected. If they throw you in a cell for the books you read, congratulations, you've started along the right path! Read more books & less lists. (This site does kind of kick ass though).
Soren - 2008-01-24 00:12:36
Huckleberry Fin, definitely. And A Clockwork Orange...?
Jake The Snake - 2008-01-25 16:51:49
Thats all bullshit! I think naked lunch should not be banned. It is a very good book and we all want to read it. Because of this book i have naked lunch all the time! It is amazing! It trully is.
Phred - 2008-01-26 23:19:06
Many of these books were banned back in the eighties when I was in school, but the teachers just ignored that. We were still able (and encouraged) to read these books for reports or for fun. Thank God for open minded and level headed people.
Fritz - 2008-01-27 00:56:58
I realize this is banned literature but reading the comments I came to wonder if it isn't fascist mentality to ban Anarchist cookbook? So what if it tells how to make a bomb, is there not a difference between knowing how to make a bomb and actually making a bomb? I own it and I haven't, nor LSD or electronic jamming device. Thought police anyone?
Ed - 2008-02-07 20:20:24
Wow, some people here are just... wow. It's been posted already a few times but here it goes again. Yes we know that you currently or at some point in the past years were required to read some of these books as part of a class project, but what you fail to understand is that these books are not banned at this point in time. They were banned years ago because for some reason or the other they were controversial at that time and even then, it wasn't a nation wide ban it was school districts, libraries, etc and it didn't mean that you would go to jail for reading the book. It just meant that certain schools or libraries decided not to carry it and again this happened years ago, for the most part most libraries, school districts carry them now and in fact are required reading for some classes now.
Eye - 2008-02-19 04:45:54
I must say any man who has not read at least a few of these needs to they are baned for being different and having opinions. Its a travesty to not do so.
Huntly - 2008-02-29 17:27:11
You guys are troubled. Books are books. Get over it
Love To Read06 - 2008-03-04 00:37:35
To kill a mockingbird is like my favorite book EVER!!! Even tho I am an african american woman, the book really touched me... And I will make sure my little girl reads it!!!
Vin Lunney Jr, - 2008-03-09 17:23:10
I read most of these in high school and college as part of the cirriculum!!! this list is a goddamned DISGRACE and INSULT to common sense, free speech and integrity. if I am ever president I promise to do the following: 1) take my oath by raising my right hand and NOT swearing on the bible or any religious text since I am about to swear to uphold the first amendment righ to freedom of religion which includes seperation of church and state. 2) get rid of this list and make it a crime to ban ANY book. when kids watch rap videos and prime time tv should we be worried about them reading catcher in the rye, my brother sam is dead, the grapes of wrath the lorax and uncle tom's cabin?? Why isn't the bible banned?? Dr. Suess is apparently subversive but it's ok for the bible to have nudity ( adam and eve) incest, murder ( god orders death of men, women and children in violation of his own commandment during the jews conquest of cannan) ( lot) bigamy ( abraham, jacob and moses all were allowed more than one wife) and that charming story of sodom and gomorrah that says a good father throws his daughters at a crowd of bisexual rapists over the lord's angels who have divine powers. I would have my kid read ANY of the banned books before I let them near the bible. they might get ideas...
Alex - 2008-03-22 16:36:19
I have read most of these and a few were required reading in High School and beyond. Catcher in the Rye was the controversial one when I was in High School and was used to start a discussion on book banning, censorship, etc. The most recent book I have heard in association with "book banning" is The Kite Runner. It has been challenged and considered for banning in a couple of local US public school systems (NC and Indiana) recently. (excellent book by the way) Any predictions on the top 10 list for the 21st Century..not too far into it yet but....
Holly - 2008-03-31 21:21:18
What about Amy Tan's "Joy Luck Club" and I second anything by Rushdie
Mary - 2008-04-02 22:59:47
My mother is a librarian and she pretty much says screw the banned book list. She carries books whether they are on the list or not. If someone doesn't want to read it they can make that choice, and if they don't want their kids to read it, it's their responsibility to make sure they don't.
Riko - 2008-05-01 14:27:00
It's Funny that only two people mention this, which makes it even more Ironic, But "Fahrenheit 451" By Ray Bradbury is probably the most Ironic book on the list already. For those who haven't read it(and really should...It's excellent!)The entire book is about a futuristic world that bans most literature basically because it could possibly cause emotion, and that could possibly make a person unhappy. Ha! More like the government wanted more control! Almost The entire society is dumbed down and brainwashed. Actually, the book may be a little far fetched, but it is a very possible scenerio-we try to make ourselves more lazy everyday-try to boost efficiency and make everything faster. I've read 6 out of these 10 books. I would say that out of those 6, this book especially should not be banned, more people should read it and learn from these mistakes. I actually just wrote an essay dealing with that...
chiari brown - 2008-05-05 16:54:34
cacther in the rye is a great book espeically wen holden findes out that he is in a mental hospital
Riko - 2008-05-12 13:34:13
_Vin Lunney Jr._ said this: "Why isn't the bible banned?? Dr. Suess is apparently subversive but it's ok for the bible to have nudity ( adam and eve) incest, murder ( god orders death of men, women and children in violation of his own commandment during the jews conquest of cannan) ( lot) bigamy ( abraham, jacob and moses all were allowed more than one wife) and that charming story of sodom and gomorrah that says a good father throws his daughters at a crowd of bisexual rapists over the lord's angels who have divine powers. I would have my kid read ANY of the banned books before I let them near the bible. they might get ideas..." Don't take this the wrong way, but isn't this-too- Ironic that, on this site, we are all trying to state that it is wrong for books to be banned, that it is a violation of people's rights, but here you sit knocking down the bible...I am a christian, and even I have problems with the bible, many actually, but have you ever gone through the bible or have you-like most people-nitpicked through it and only found the parts that you don't like While we're at it why don't we ban the koran,The book of mormon, books on witchcraft,the book of stanism...ect. Oh wait...that's right...That would be religious discrimination and also a banning of books
Not sure - 2008-05-18 21:37:34
Where's Archipelago of Gulag ?
BigRedTarget - 2008-05-20 02:33:10
Of course the crucial piece of information missing from this list is where these books were banned from.
Maplewing - 2008-05-20 22:44:07
Um, what's a banned book?
alyssa - 2008-05-27 13:53:01
omg u dont know what banned books is???? look it up. personly i think banning books or anything else is stupid and u should be able to choose what u do. mabey some things should have an age requirement but with books reading cant hurt anyone let us read wat ever we want. if the language is bad oh well its not like we dont hear that all the time in school anyway...
kiptheenglish - 2008-05-27 18:41:25
Satanic Verses, anyone? As far as I know, none of these authors have been threatened with death by an entire religion like Salman Rushdie has been.
Toni - 2008-06-08 04:44:42
here's a link to a site with banned / challenged books why they were banned, if they were challenged and if it was overturned: it also has different lists like most commonly challenged.
daddy - 2008-07-27 01:31:20
fun list! "How much do I know To talk out of turn You might say that I'm young You might say I'm unlearned But there's one thing I know Though I'm younger than you Even Jesus would never Forgive what you do" -Bob Dylan
K.W. - 2008-09-27 00:13:52

Prior to 1933, the U.S. Post Office and U.S. Customs could arbitrarily declare a book "obscene." These agencies had the right to seize and destroy copies of the work, and publishers found distributing the books were actually prosecuted and could face jail time. Ulysses was banned as obscene in the U.S. for 15 years. One of the founders of Random House had to sue to get the ban lifted. It was that decision that helped changed the attitudes of the court system towards controversial books.

kev - 2008-12-01 01:38:25

1984 was banned? wow. irony. big brother is watchign you.

Samantha - 2008-12-01 15:26:27

it is horrible that books CAN be banned!

Writing Girl 28 - 2008-12-03 15:08:55

hello.... i am writing a paper about banned books... i need some help to get started. I was wondering if i could use some of these comments for my paper! Could anyone help me? Thank you

[Editor's Note: Yes, you are welcome to use some of the comments for your paper. However, we request that you add Alternative Reel as one of your sources in both your footnotes and endnotes, as well as email us a copy of your finished paper so we can post it online at our discretion. Thanks and good luck!]

Kaileigh - 2008-12-10 08:38:00

I really wish people weren't such idiots. When they say 'banned books' they don't mean the GOVERNMENT BANNED THE BOOKS, they mean SCHOOL DISTRICTS have banned the books. And they do NOT mean the books are CURRENTLY banned, simply that they HAVE BEEN PREVIOUSLY banned more than other books. And I understand all you kids who are just now reading these books because they are required reading, but really you should be reading them anyway! And add Brave New World, A Clockwork Orange, Animal Farm, and Lord of the Flies to the mix also. A good book will stimulate the mind, will make you think. Maybe if people read more of these books, such igorance wouldn't exist.

ali - 2008-12-17 19:14:28

i had to read 6 out of 10 of these books for high school english classes. funny world.

A - 2009-01-27 18:58:36

I'm surprised that you didn't put "The Satanic Verses" as number one, I can't think of a more high-profile case of a book being banned in recent years. I'd recommend anyone pick up a copy of most of these books, they're all good reads, except "Catcher in the Rye", I'd ban it for being the most boring and pretentious book ever personally :)lol

Molly Grubel - 2009-02-08 00:07:56

How strange. I have been required to read 7 out of the 10 for my 5 years in Honor classes. I don't seem to be effected at all. And to the parents trying to get books banned for foul language, go walk to halls of your cities high school. .. you will hear worse

Sierra Ewing - 2009-02-12 13:35:01

I've read all of these books, and they are all fine pieces of literature. There is no reason they should be banned, if you don't want to read it then don't. Don't ruin it for everyone else.

Christopher Robin - 2009-02-19 17:03:19

I think you weirdys should get laid.

Writing Girl28 - 2009-02-25 15:22:24

here is my paper.... Banned Books! Good or Bad? By: Anastasha Bryant Why are so many good books being banned from schools libraries? Many people have let their own opinion be heard about banning books. Are parents and teachers really just that blind at the fact they are depriving the students of classics? One of the most frequently challenged books in the U.S. is Harry Potter by J.K Rowling. Harry Potter is one of the most popular book series among children. I don’t know what goes on in the challengers’ brains, but I do know what some of their issues are. I am going to be voicing my own experiences as a reader. Another recent study shows that many parents feel their child is to0 innocent to read some of the scenes in the classic books. Why do parents feel their children are too delicate to read the romance, adventure, or any other classics they read as a child? I have read many classics, including To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I have also read many other books on the banned books list. I personally do not see why they would be banned! They are great books with nothing but good writing in them. For example, many of the books I read take you into the book. What I mean by that is you don’t get to just read the story. The stories are so detailed that you feel as if you are there in the book watching the story unfold. Many people say that no one should have the authority to take away any books from a child. I completely agree with this statement. If adults take away our books then we will feel pressured into reading books we do not like. If we read books we don’t like then we will stop reading. I know that sounds like an overstatement, but this is true. One of the currently challenged books is the popular novel series by J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter. According to recent studies, the main reasons parents have to ban Harry Potter are they say it teaches witchcraft. Many parents say their child should not be allowed to read these books because it teaches the wrong morals. They say it teaches the young readers that you can do pretty much anything and then magic can get you out of consequences. Is this true? No it is not. I can say as a reader that this is completely false. Harry Potter teaches good morals and true friendship. It teaches that if you want something bad enough you will act regardless of the consequences. That is what the children of today need to be learning. J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter putting these intentions into a fun creative way. Before making false accusations maybe the challengers should read these books first. There may be hope of silencing them if they would just read each word of each book they challenge. I have heard many statements on the issues of banning books. One of the many that stuck with me the past year is, “If Harry Potter is being banned because it teaches wrong morals, then shouldn’t the Twilight series be banned to?” That is something to think on. Twilight is a very popular series among teens. It is about an average girl who falls in love with a very strange vampire. She enters the world of magic and mystery as she pulls together the pieces of her love’s strange life. This book does not have the same morals as Harry Potter. It has a very different set of morals. One of the best morals is that love conquers all. Yet Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn all have some scenes that are probably more inappropriate than Harry Potter. So ask yourselves if banning harry Potter has anything to do with morals. I have many friends that feel strongly about this. One of them talks about what I just wrote, proving my point. “Riko - 2008-05-12 09:34:13 _Vin Lunney Jr._ said this: "Why isn't the bible banned?? Dr. Sues’ is apparently subversive but it's ok for the bible to have nudity (Adam and eve) incest, murder (god orders death of men, women and children in violation of his own commandment during the Jews conquest of cannon) (lot) bigamy (Abraham, Jacob and Moses all were allowed more than one wife) and that charming story of Sodom and Gomorrah that says a good father throws his daughters at a crowd of bisexual rapists over the lord's angels who have divine powers. I would have my kid read ANY of the banned books before I let them near the bible. They might get ideas..." Don't take this the wrong way, but isn't this-too- Ironic that, on this site, we are all trying to state that it is wrong for books to be banned, that it is a violation of people's rights, but here you sit knocking down the bible...I am a Christian, and even I have problems with the bible, many actually, but have you ever gone through the bible or have you-like most people-nitpicked through it and only found the parts that you don't like While we're at it why don't we ban the Koran, The book of Mormon, books on witchcraft, The book of Satanism...etc. Oh wait...that's right...That would be religious discrimination and also a banning of books” This is a quote of what they said. This particular comment caught my attention quickly. [] This is a very good point to consider. No one should have to go through life being deprived of great books. We as students feel picking out what books we read is one of the only choices we have left to make. If you take this choice away from us we feel others are controlling our lives and we will respond angrily. Many people only read the books that they feel comfortable reading. We all read at different levels. When you push students to read certain books we don’t enjoy them as much as if we picked them ourselves. I would finally like to ask you to stand with me and the thousands of people fighting to preserve all the wonderful books. We should stand together and fight for our children’s, grandchildren’s, and even our great grandchildren’s right to read. Think about what has been said in this essay before choosing your side. And by the way, WE know the government can't ban books you neurotic freaks! It is sad that people can be as stupid as to think the government can ban books. Everyone is totally pissed about SCHOOLS banned the books!

Samantha - 2009-02-26 12:55:14

Writing Girl is right, people who assume we are stupid enough to believe the government put these bans on books are indeed neurotic freaks. Everyone knows the First Amendment prevents them from doing so. The schools and public librarys can ban books, also book stores can ban them from their stores, but the government wouldn't dare mess with them. Please just shut up if you don't know what neither you nor what we are talking about. We feel very strongly about this and will set you straight when messing with our beliefs.

deco - 2009-03-07 13:42:53

To the loser who recons the bible should be banned it was try reading history maybe they should ban more anti religus freaks who think you know everything but crupt the morals of genarations and think nothing of the price they dont and wont pay themselves

gavin A.K.A. risk taker - 2009-03-11 12:02:37

i agree with writing girl those books are great to read

Erin - 2009-04-13 20:44:19

I must be pretty lucky because my school doesn't ban most of these books. I have actually read several of them as school assignments.

♠Grayson ♠ - 2009-04-20 12:28:18

I belive that books shouldn't be banned from schools just because of there authers or some words books are books thats all there is to it.

Writing Girl28 - 2009-06-17 16:40:15

thank you for the positive feed for my paper.... I got a 100 on it and I am so happy..... To: Erin..... MOST of these books are no longer banned in schools, but at one point in time they were ban! To: deco..... I do agree that the bible should not be involved in schools, unless there are indeed classes on religions around the worlds...

Samantha - 2009-06-24 13:33:57

Writing girl28- I'm happy for your A !!!!!

Matt - 2009-06-28 11:26:15

When or where were these books banned, and for what reasons?

Mr Dead - 2009-08-16 08:22:44

books are banned,or kept out of libraries,or not taught in schools to control the way people think.if everbody is taught to think the same way,then the likelihood of dissension or people questioning what is being done is greatly reduced. two good books to read are: catch 22 by joseph heller one flew over the cuckoo's nest by ken kesey

Writing Girl 28 - 2009-09-16 18:26:49

Tis I again! I need help on writing and have a few questions: My questions on writing are {or is since I only have one} Can you be over descriptive? And my other question is: I am writing another paper and I need new comments and such! I was wondering if I could possibly interview someone who is here regularly? And then use them and this site in my paper!

aishablue - 2009-10-12 10:19:39

Wow some people who've posted in the past were idiots. About Salman Rushdie, I know The Satanic Verses (and possibly all of his works) is/are banned in Iran, but never in the U.S. Another great read by him is Shalimar The Clown. And it seems pretty obvious that 1984 was banned by Western governments at some point or other...(I've yet to read Fahrenheit 451 and a couple others on the list), but never has a book rung more true in today's society than 1984. Orwell was a genius.

Sarah - 2009-10-12 19:01:55

Banned book drive me crazy sometimes. Some of these book are amazing to read. I dont understand why parents go crazy about profanity, racial slurs, depression, violence, sexuality, and more in books when their kids are exposed to it everyday in movies, tv, heck even in life. I would understand if it was, for example: "To Kill a Mocking Bird" to kids in 5th or 6th grade. But teachers typically have better common sence. I dont know, maybe its just me but, i see no need for parents to have books banned.

Sciuro - 2009-12-09 20:11:23

A good list with some of my favourite books in it... if your definition of "book" is "a novel written in English".

Julian - 2010-01-19 17:05:58

I personaly can see the reason for 1984's ban the sexual content in it is one reason, but there is another the revolt against a larger power can be taken in a perspective of the people going against the government. So obviously they wouldn't want people to read it. It is a great book and im glad that we can get past the ideas that got it banned in the first place and have the people of the world enjoy it.

jim - 2010-02-23 15:12:12

these books are gay

anarchy for dinner - 2010-03-25 23:04:51

bullshit. the Anarchist's Cookbook will not get you 10 years in jail.

Tindrum - 2010-04-19 03:39:45

much sillyness in the comments here, a quick google of the various title will reveal all these books were banned somewhere, at some point. Mostly from US schools and public libraries..for example Fahrenheit 451 was only banned by the school board of Mississippi as far as I can tell. A few were banned from sale entirely, Lady Chatterley for example was banned in UK Canada and Australia, (but only censored in the US). 1984 seems to have been banned in the USSR. As for the "Anarchists Cookbook" which I think is what is meant by "the Anarchists Handbook". Not only is it not illegal to own, or sell, its readily available on - Though that's not to say it would be "evidence" if "Big Brother" took an interest in you...

Tuonela - 2010-07-13 13:05:09

Top 10 Banned Books of the 20th Century ? You mean Top 10 english written banned books, right ? Do you know Vassili Grossman ? Wikipedia is your friend !!!!

Samantha 10 - 2010-11-18 18:30:41

I read and watched Fahrenheit 451 for the first time this year and it really is the most Ironic Banned book I have ever read why exactly was it banned?

jordan - 2010-12-08 17:27:59

the funny part is that u have to read to kill a mockingbird for english and same with fahrenheit 451

Resurrected - 2010-12-13 22:40:56

Why they kept banning books! This is the Secret! Ten Commandments for Borrowers of Books “Who goeth a-borrowing goeth a-sorrowing” 1. Thou shalt not buy what thou canst borrow. 2. Thou shalt take care of thine own books, for thy babies and thy puppies will find as much delight in borrowed books as playthings. 3. Thou shalt not cut the leaves of a book with a butter-knife, nor decorate the margins with jam in imitation of the old illuminated manuscripts. 4. Remember that the most artistic form of appreciation is to repair the torn leaves of a book with postage-stamp edging, and to arrange the red and green lines alternately. 5. Honor the opinions of an author as expressed in his book, but shouldst thou disagree with his views, pencil thine own notes in the margins. By so doing thou wilt not only give evidence of thy vast learning, but will irritate subsequent readers who will, unmindful of thy superior knowledge, regard thee as a conceited ass. 6. Thou shalt choose thy books from amongst those most worn. Shouldst of knowing that many of thy neighbors have been “had” likewise. 7. Thou shalt consult the librarian when thou knowest not what thou requirest. Should he be unable to assist thee,, substitute “in” for “con”. 8. Thou shalt no pay fines on principle (current cash is much to be preferred). 9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against the library assistant, saying: “He taketh the best books and reserved them for his friends” 10. Thou shalt not covet the books that thy neighbor hath appropriated.

mike - 2011-01-10 14:07:15

i love how books with a deeper meaning than what it says in the text are being banned, yet through our radio waves on hip hop stations we hear songs constantly about woman, getting money and clubbing. Yet no one is opposing that? All hypocrites if you ask me

Free Thinker - 2011-01-31 07:56:15

The anarchist's handbook". Its banned because its a How to book on making explosives and posession isnt a crime, but selling it is........ NOT!!! You can own this book and buy this book, but if you get caught making any of the items in the book, then you're screwed

cookiemonsta lopez - 2011-10-12 16:46:06
i really like the naked lunch it was a really good book and i think it was a touching story and my daughter like it to and she only 12
venprometheus - 2012-04-08 06:57:53

banning books is like prohibiting living things to breath,or to admire the trees growing around is all nonsense really,a book no matter how obscene or immoral is something a creative mind produced and has merits and beauty all on it's own and they should be appreciated or at least not abhorred by narrow minded people phony and stupid enough to see it'w worth.