Forum Friday: What Banned Books Have You Read?

This Friday, my fellow readers, writers, and bloggers, let’s get our hands dirty.

Let’s talk contraband.

This week (September 30 to October 6) is Banned Books Week in the United States. For those of you unfamiliar with it, this is an annual event among the national book community that celebrates the ability to read freely and aims to fight censorship by drawing attention to banned and challenged titles.

My Forum Friday question for you, then, is this: what controversial titles have you read? (And which did you like best? Which are you hoping to read next?)

If you need some ideas check out the following resources:

  1. The ten most challenged titles of 2011, according to bannedbooksweek.org
  2. The 100 most frequently challenged books (1990-1999), as listed by the American Library Association
  3. The 100 most banned and challenged books (2000-2009), again by the American Library Association

Your favorite contraband might be popular titles– children’s, young adult, or adult fiction, anything is game!– like these, which are banned novels I have read:

  • The Hunger Games
  • To Kill a Mocking Bird
  • Brave New World
  • Harry Potter (series)
  • Catcher in the Rye
  • Killing Mr. Griffin
  • Bless Me, Ultima
  • Slaughterhouse-Five
  • The Kite Runner
  • Speak
  • Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes
  • The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Julie of the Wolves
  • Goosebumps (series)
  • The Outsiders
  • Flowers for Algernon
  • Lord of the Flies

And finally, the one that made me say “WHAT?”, #87:

  • Where’s Waldo?

(I kid you not.)

Of those– oh, how could I choose a favorite?– I grew up on Julie of the Wolves, and then the entire Harry Potter series; but Lord of the Flies, Brave New World, Flowers for Algernon and Catcher in the Rye are all literary gems and have haunted and stayed with me for many years (except in the case of Brave New World, which I am actually reading for the first time right now). I love them all.

One banned title that I really want to read (but I don’t even think has been released in the US– I read about it in The Guardian) is Julian Assange’s unauthorized autobiography.

How about you?