How many of these banned or challenged classic books have you read? The list might surprise you

‘Readers, particularly students, are losing access to critical information’

(Matt Williams for NBC News)

There have been many classic books that people have attempted to remove from libraries, schools or universities.

Banned Books Week runs from Sept. 18 through Sept. 24. The event has been going on for 40 years. The books the American Library Association features that week have been targeted for removal or restriction in libraries and schools.

In just 2021, the ALA tracked 729 challenges to library, school and university books. There were more than 1,597 individual book challenges or removals. Most of the targeted books in 2021 were about Black or LGBTQIA+ persons, according to the ALA. The theme for 2022 banned books week is: “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.”

“This is a dangerous time for readers and the public servants who provide access to reading materials. Readers, particularly students, are losing access to critical information, and librarians and teachers are under attack for doing their jobs,” Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom said.

The list below is not of the books banned in 2021, instead, it focuses on classic books that have faced scrutiny. The books on their “Banned and Challenged Classics” list are also listed on the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century.

Below is the ALA list of classical books that have been banned or challenged:

  • The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Catcher in the Rye, by JD Salinger
  • The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
  • The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
  • Ulysses, by James Joyce
  • Beloved, by Toni Morrison
  • The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
  • 1984, by George Orwell
  • Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov
  • Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
  • Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
  • Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
  • Animal Farm, by George Orwell
  • The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
  • As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
  • A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston
  • Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
  • Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
  • Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
  • Native Son, by Richard Wright
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
  • Slaughterhouse Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway
  • The Call of the Wild, by Jack London
  • Go Tell It on the Mountain, by James Baldwin
  • All the King’s Men, by Robert Penn Warren
  • The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
  • Lady Chatterley’s Lover, by D.H. Lawrence
  • A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
  • The Awakening, by Kate Chopin
  • In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
  • Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie
  • Sophie’s Choice, by William Styron
  • Sons and Lovers, by D.H. Lawrence
  • Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
  • A Separate Peace, by John Knowles
  • Naked Lunch, by William S. Burroughs
  • Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
  • Women in Love, by DH Lawrence
  • The Naked and the Dead, by Norman Mailer
  • Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller
  • An American Tragedy, by Theodore Dreiser
  • Rabbit, Run, by John Updike

You can click here to see the dates, reasons and places these books were banned or challenged.

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About the Author:

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.