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Complete List of Banned Books That I Have Read So Far

banned booksBanned Books Week has come and gone again. By Banned Books I’m actually referring to books that frequently get challenged. This means that someone has walked into a library, seen something that offended them, and they file a petition to get that item removed from the shelves.

I have written a lot of individual reviews of banned books that I have read, but I would like to give you lengthier list of that are frequently challenged in the good old United States of America, but also in other countries and across all eras. I am limiting this list to books I have read. I will update this list as I read more.

Keep in mind that if some people had their way, these books would vanish from shelves and nobody would be allowed to read them. Makes me shiver.

So here’s the list.  I am determined to read everything I can find that someone would like to take away from me. Is this a quest on par with William Wallace and his revenge on Scotland? Nah. But it’s what I can do.

  • A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  • To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • The Wish Giver by Bill Brittain
  • The Pillars of The Earth by Ken Follett
  • Rabbit, Run by John Updike
  • The Pigman by Paul Zendel
  • Halloween ABC by Eve Marriam
  • The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
  • How To Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
  • Where The Wild Things are by Maurice Sendak
  • Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry
  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by mark Twain
  • All The King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren
  • An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
  • American Psycho by Brett Easton Ellis
  • The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
  • Anastasia Again by Lois Lowry
  • The Witches by Roald Dahl
  • Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret? by Judy Blume
  • As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
  • Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  • Black Boy by Richard Wright
  • Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolf Anaya
  • The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  • The Call of The Wild by Jack London
  • Carrie by Stephen King
  • The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger
  • Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
  • Bridge of Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
  • Christine by Stephen King
  • Cujo by Stephen King
  • The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty
  • The Face On The Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney
  • Women on Top by Nancy Friday
  • The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
  • One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  • My Brother Sam Is Dead by James Collier
  • Lord of The Flies by William Golding
  • Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  • Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman
  • The Bible by ?
  • A Light In The Attic by Shel Silverstein
  • In The Night Room by Maurice Sendak
  • Jay’s Journal by anonymous
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  • A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Peck
  • The Dead Zone by Stephen King
  • A Farewell To Arms by Ernest Hemingway
  • For Whom The Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
  • Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
  • Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
  • Go Tell It On The Mountain by James Baldwin
  • The Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by Anne Rice
  • Goosebumps series by R.L. Stein
  • I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  • Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  • Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
  • James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
  • The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
  • Native Son by Richard Wright
  • Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  • Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
  • Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
  • The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell
  • Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
  • Candide by Voltaire
  • The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  • Howl by Allen Ginsberg
  • The Lottery by Shirley Jackson
  • The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
  • Rights of Man by Thomas Paine
  • Ulysses by James Joyce

This list will grow as long as I am alive, unless of course, the censors finally win and we’re all just sitting around reading Winnie The Pooh all day because it is safe.

Censorship is poison.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • ami October 11, 2010, 10:42 am

    What a great list of books Josh. As I read the titles, I kept wondering, “Why on earth would they ban THIS book?” (e.g., James and the Giant Peach) and some I think I know why they banned (Lolita) – but all of the books on the list challenge status quo, make you think, and leave you changed. (which seems like a good reason to READ them).

    • Josh Hanagarne October 11, 2010, 10:49 am

      Absolutely. And while there are lots of harmless books here, there are plenty that are full of stuff that repulses me, but I can’t let go of the fact that someone would take them away.

      This conversation gets really interesting when you start looking at challenged books in other countries. We actually have it pretty good in America. The books get challenged, but it’s nearly impossible to actually ban something.

  • Keith Lau October 11, 2010, 10:57 am

    I would go further and say that ALL the books on this list are harmless.

    • Andrew Frenette October 11, 2010, 2:16 pm

      I would venture the opinion that most books are NEVER harmless. Books can have a profound affect on the reader and spur them to new and previously unimagined places in their minds and the world in which they live. Once they’ve read it, they can’t unread it.

      Most of us who treasure great books, like those on Josh’s list, in fact welcome the “harm” done to us. The harm they’re doing is dislodging our complacency, causing us to pause and think, allowing us to view the world through the eyes of creation, reposition ourselves in life.

      That’s why many of these books wind up on someone’s banned list – those who read them are likely to get uppity and start thinking for themselves which goes against the doctrine of most religions, governments, organizations, cults, and other large, disembodied institutions seeking to control us.

  • Dave Currie October 11, 2010, 11:02 am

    The thing that most banners, and by that I mean people who wish to ban things, completely fail to understand is that their activities usually do nothing more than guide more and more people towards the item they wish to prohibit. I mean, most people reading this blog post will probably regard the above list as a “to-be-read” list, or at the very least a check-list.

    As a Scot though I’m mildly perturbed to wonder why you think William Wallace would want to wreak revenge on anyone other than the Sassenachs (the English) :^)

    • Josh Hanagarne October 11, 2010, 11:20 am

      HAHAHAHAHA. Oh wow, that’s easily the stupidest thing I’ve ever said here. That’s what happens when you write at typing speed in the order you think the words. It’s so dumb I’m not even going to edit it. I don’t have enough monuments to my incompetence. Let it ride!

      • Dave Currie October 11, 2010, 1:04 pm

        OK, I cannot resist this sidetrack, but your use of the word “monuments” just made it too much of a coincidence. Both my sisters went to The University of Stirling which is very, very close to the Wallace Monument – see here http://www.nationalwallacemonument.com/ – and I remember climbing the monument with at least one of them many (about 30, I guess) years ago. This has nothing to do with banned books though, so I’ll STFU now. Ha!

  • Leni October 11, 2010, 11:30 am

    Hmmmm… why is The Lottery by Shirley J. a banned book? It’s a classic, one of my favorite…and of course To Kill a Mocking Bird. I am wondering how anyone can find these books offensive. But I like the list, copied it…:)

  • Daisy October 11, 2010, 1:41 pm

    Now I feel the urge to pull out the original Pooh and find out if there’s anything objectionable in it. The heffalumps and woozles, maybe?

    • cinderkeys October 12, 2010, 12:47 am

      It shamelessly promotes binge eating and starvation diets. And possibly honeybee abuse.

      • kosmo @ The Soap Boxers October 12, 2010, 9:03 pm

        They do kidnap Roo at some point, using Piglet as a fake Roo to fool Kanga. I’m forgetting the rest of that part of the story.

  • ami October 11, 2010, 3:33 pm

    Another thought occurred to me. One of the ways that ruling powers or classes or countries attempt to subdue those that they rule is to prohibit them from learning to read. (Consider prohibitions on teaching slaves to read or girls in some societies). Is banning books just another version of the same thing?

  • kosmo @ The Soap Boxers October 11, 2010, 8:42 pm

    “unless of course, the censors finally win and we’re all just sitting around reading Winnie The Pooh all day because it is safe.”

    Oh, I doubt they’d allow Pooh to survive. After all, the subject matter deal with topics like chronic depression (Eeyore) and fraud/abuse of authority (Owl). Heck, even Pooh misrepresents himself, living “under the name of Sanders”.

    To say nothing of the nudity. It’s great that Pooh has a red shirt, but WHERE ARE HIS PANTS?!?


    (I’m actually a big fan of Pooh)

    The mention of Follet’s Pillars of the Earth gave me pause, as I was sure I had read that book and couldn’t imagine what could have raised anyone’s ire. It seems that I was confusing PILLARS with PILASTERS – I was thinking of A Dangerous Fortune, the Follet novel centering around the wealthy Pilaster family. Guess I need to grab a copy of Pillars of the Earth.

  • Heather October 12, 2010, 6:22 am

    Thanks for the list, Dudebro! I’ve got some catching up to do! Someone banned Anne Rice’s Sleeping Beauty Trilogy? A travesty, I say (and yes I”m laughing uproariously–and must now dash to the girls’ room). Sendak’s In the Night Kitchen is because you can–see something. . . .there’s an Eric Carle book you missed, though. It’s a picture book. It depicts Adam and Eve. Yes they’re naked, no it’s not a dirty book. Just you watch—Girl with the Dragon Tattoo will be on there. . . . Lolita? Someone wanted to ban LOLITA?!?!? A trave–ok, ok, I’ll stop, I’m having too much fun being mean. LOVED the graphic on this one, btw! Well done you! 😀

    Heather the Ornery Librarian

  • Tomas October 12, 2010, 6:33 am

    Libtards think they can prevent people from reading something by bannings. Too bad file sharing exist, hah!

    • cinderkeys October 12, 2010, 11:09 am

      You think all the bannings come from liberals?

      • Josh Hanagarne October 12, 2010, 11:14 am

        I have no idea what that earlier comment means. Most challenges come on conservative grounds.

        • cinderkeys October 12, 2010, 11:19 am

          That’s what I would have thought. I can see some misguided liberals banning Huckleberry Finn because it contains racist language — I’m not going to claim this stupidity doesn’t happen on my side of the political fence. But I doubt that liberals are doing most of the censorship.

  • John Sifferman October 12, 2010, 6:54 am

    Lot’s of good books in there. Have you read Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury?

    • Josh Hanagarne October 12, 2010, 10:26 am

      Yes! I knew I’d forget something. I’ll add it now.

  • Blaine Moore October 14, 2010, 11:19 am

    Actually, you’re too late.

    Winnie the Pooh should already be on this list…it is (or at least was) on a list of banned extremist material in Russia.

  • Concerned Students October 24, 2010, 4:56 pm

    “…we’re all just sitting around reading Winnie The Pooh all day because it is safe.”

    Aah, but you’re wrong.

    See Book 22.


  • MizLoo March 28, 2011, 2:45 pm

    Love the list, delighted that I’ve read about half of them.
    BTW- I think the second Sendak book is “…In the Night Kitchen” not the night room, but I’m remembering reading it to my son who is now almost 40. Maybe Peter in the Night Kitchen – and Peter had a penis, which was just not OK then, and the reason folks wanted to bann it..

  • Jess March 13, 2012, 10:07 pm

    you know… I’m surprised that caps for sale isnt on the banned book list seeing as the moral of the story is to be smarter then a monkey