Commonly Banned Books

To Kill a Mockingbird 1984

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Lolita

The Catcher in the Rye Brave New World

Breakfast of Champions Lord of the Flies

Ulysses

“The books that the world calls immoral are the books that show the world its own shame.”

Oscar Wilde

Of this list of books, I’ve read To Kill a Mockingbird, The Catcher in the Rye, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and 1984. Which have you read?

What do you think of these books and what do you think of their being commonly banned?

Do you find it peculiar that these commonly banned books are also commonly listed as required reading for high school students?

What do these books say about the world? And what does their being banned say?

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10 thoughts on “Commonly Banned Books

  1. From your list I’ve also read To Kill a Mockingbird, The Catcher in the Rye, and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I’ve read these three when I was in 6th grade, and I didn’t even know these books were banned until I came upon this post. I’m starting my fourth year in high school in a week, dreading college next year, and all I can say is that reading these books have opened my eyes to the actual reality of life, debunking the notion that “Books aren’t about life; books are about other books.”

    • Wow, impressive that you read To Kill a Mockingbird and The Catcher in the Rye when you were only in sixth grade. And you’re so right: the books that spark such controversy are the ones that depict life at its most raw, the ones that open our eyes and shock us a little.

  2. Hi Dandy Lion – I grew up in South Africa during the days of hard apartheid – many books. records (music), newspaper articles, films were banned .and back in those dark days SA had no TV.
    I remember going to the cinema, aged 17, to
    see a new movie starring Dustin Hoffman, ‘The Graduate’, which had not been banned but the censors had cut it so heavy-handedly that there were sections which didn’t make sense!

    That was what decided me that banning anything, be it books, films or whatever was a waste of space. It never stops people finding what they want to find, and it just makes people more curious about what they are missing.

    The Roman poet Juvenal said: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
    which, crudely translated means ‘who will guard the guardians?’ In other words, if the ‘officials’ are not corrupted by the stuff they are censoring, why should the rest of us be?

    We can all decide NOT to read something, NOT to listen to something – we don’t need the State to tell us what to do.

    • Thank you for your insightful comment! I can understand what it must have been like growing up in SA. I was born in Zimbabwe and the stark contrast between my years there and my years in Australia is quite astounding.
      I agree with everything you said and I am now in love with your quote, ‘who will guard the guardians.’ Very true.

  3. I’ve read the same as you plus Lord of the Flies. lord of the flies is really good, you must read it some time- the heavy symbolism is powerful!

    The more banned they are, the more I wana read em (as long as they sound interesting.)
    Banning Harry Potter is just plain cruel.

    • Same here! More than most other books, I have a fascination with those that have been banned at some point or another. They tend to be the ones that confront us, reflect us at our most raw and deal with real issues. Isn’t that the point of literature?
      And I completely agree with banning Harry Potter being cruel 😉

  4. I’ve read most of the books on your list. I don’t think banning does any good. It just makes people more curious to find out what’s being banned. And I feel that when someone’s been raised by good parents and is a good person, reading that banned book won’t change that person’s character for the worse.

  5. I’ve read 1984, Harry Potter, Catcher, Brave New World, Lord of the Flies, and Breakfast of Champions. I can’t see why either of these should be banned! I find it very peculiar why that would happen.
    I think the only book banned here in Holland is Mein Kampf which Hitler wrote, which makes more sense, but I still think censorship is wrong. Literature teaches us sympathy, different viewpoints, and it can actually teach us all about the wrong sides of ideologies etc. without us having to go through it physically ourselves. If anything, these books should be encouraged rather than banned!

  6. Pingback: Reading a Book is MY Decision! « Dispensable Thoughts

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