Reading those censored books

Every year, the American Library Association puts out a list of the most challenged books of the previous year, plus a distressingly thick catalog of banned and challenged books. This article at The Onion made me think about all the various banned books that most of us really never read (or read for the wrong reasons), and so I resolve I’m going to pick up a few and add them to my To-Read list on GoodReads.

The Awakening by Kate Chopin
I read this in college and enjoyed it, but frankly don’t recall why it was so controversial that it was banned for decades in this country. Maybe a re-reading will shed some light on this.


The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
Banned for its “offense to Islam,” this book didn’t interest me at the time of its publication, but recent events, including more trouble with a work of fiction about the Prophet Muhammad, have reminded me that it might be good to pick this up now, long after its own controversy has died away.

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
When Solzhenitsyn died recently, I was reminded that here was an author who was banned in Soviet Russia because he spoke truth to power, and in America, because he spoke a little too clearly – I mean, swear words or totalitarianism?  This was his first novel, and it was strangely approved of by Nikita Kruschev.

Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
Now regarded as an American classic, this long poem praising our country and our people makes you wonder why booksellers of the 1870s and 1880s in New York, Philadelphia, and Boston refused to carry it.

So these are my choices, and I admit a certain love of the classics, and something less for say, The Da Vinci Code. What banned books would you seek?

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