Robyn’s Top 3 Classic “Banned Books”

This week – in honor of Banned Books Week – Robyn from our Darrington Library has a list of her top 3 classic books that have at one point or another inspired outrage and demands for censorship throughout the United States.
Take it away, Robyn!

Robyn the Rebel is definitely not “chicken” when it comes to reading materials!

“I am something of a rebel in disguise. Although this simple lady-like exterior looks like it follows all the rules, and smiles with genuine adherence to all authority, something in me whispers, “Not this time”. Recently on vacation in Spokane, just because it was the biggest blue metal rooster I had ever seen, I bolted atop it for a quick photo; oh rebel me! And perhaps, that is why I like to read books that tether on the edge of rebellious. My favorites though, are those books that no matter the opposition, seem to have remained classics in literature.

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Reading J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye has practically become a rite of passage for teenagers, but back when it was published in 1951, it wasn’t always easy for a kid to get his or her hands on it. According to Time magazine, “Within two weeks of its 1951 release, J.D. Salinger’s novel rocketed to No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list.’ Ever since, the book—which explores three days in the life of a troubled 16-year-old boy—has been a ‘favorite of censors since its publication,’ according to the American Library Association.” I love this novel because it sends out a message that we should all remain hopeful and true to ourselves.

Lolita by Vladimir Nobokov

Sure, it’s well known that Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita is about a middle-aged literature professor who is obsessed with a 12-year-old girl who eventually becomes his stepdaughter. It’s the kind of storyline that would raise eyebrows today, so imagine what the response was when the book was released in 1955. A number of countries—including France, England, Argentina, New Zealand, and South Africa—banned the book for being obscene. Canada did the same in 1958, though it later lifted the ban on what is now considered a classic piece of literature—unreliable narrator and all. Definitely a weird love story worthy of a rebel.

Animal Farm by George Orwell

The original publication of George Orwell’s 1945 allegorical short novel was delayed in the UK because of its anti-Stalin themes. It was confiscated in Germany by Allied troops, banned in Yugoslavia in 1946, banned in Kenya in 1991, and banned in the United Arab Emirates in 2002. I have read this book at least 4 times over the years, and each time I gain something different from this story. A must read satire!”

Excellent suggestions, Robyn – thanks! Readers, have you read any of these books? What do you think about people who think no one should be able to read them?

Also, in case you’re curious which books were the most challenged by censors last year, we have a hand infographic for you!

Check out these titles – have you read any of them?


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