50 Banned Books That Everyone Should ReadPosted: May 21, 2009
I came across an email late at night or early in the morning which ever it was, sometime after 2am on an article written over at Online College Degree. Not knowing much about the site/blog and what it was about I went ahead and spent some time checking it out. Besides finding that Liberty University was ranked 3rd in online education on their site (side-note, do NOT attend their seminary please), I also found an article on their blog titled, the top 50 Banned Books that everyone should read. They have made a list of some of the excellent literature that has become banned or that some see inappropriate for the public eye. I found this pretty interesting to take a look at.
The reason the article caught my eye is because some of my gal’s favorite titles like, #36 To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and #6 The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling were on the list. Now I do not read much at this point being in seminary, reading theology, history of the church and many textbooks for class, however I saw that two of my own favorite non-christian books were on the list and even my all-time fav, Animal Farm by George Orwell. In any view christian or non the post deals with the top 10 or so books in dealing with children, religion and politics, sex, race and gender, and multiple reasons. Below are the top banned books in each of their categories.
#1 Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger. Frequently a target of censorship, this classic coming-of-age story of a teenage boy in New York is often banned due to the language and sexuality–particularly a scene with a prostitute.
Religion and Politics
The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie. This book of magical realism describes a battle between God and the devil through the depiction of two men who go through fantastical journeys. This book was so reviled by several governments and religious leaders in Asia and the Middle East that a fatwa was issued against Rushdie, who had to live in hiding for many years in order to avoid being killed.
Lady Chatterley’s Lover by DH Lawrence. Lawrence’s book tells the story of an adulterous love affair and includes explicit sexual language. It was banned in the UK and Lawrence eventually published in Italy, where the first edition sold out immediately.
Race and Gender
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Racism, language, and a rape scene are the usual culprits when banning this book. In reality, Lee was highlighting the rampant racism of her time in this much beloved book in an attempt to change the wrongs she saw in society.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Perhaps the most ironic banned book situation, Fahrenheit 451 deals with the issue of censorship in a dystopian society that sends firefighters out to burn down houses discovered to have books inside. Those opposed to this book claim various reasons for banning it including profanity, portrayal of smoking and drinking, and anti-religious and anti-establishment sentiments.