Recommended Reads - Banned Books

“The American Library Association condemns censorship and works to ensure free access to information. Every year, the Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) compiles a list of the Top 10 Most Challenged Books in order to inform the public about censorship in libraries and schools. The lists are based on information from media stories and voluntary reports sent to OIF from communities across the U.S.” --American Library Association

The below list is a selection of frequently challenged books. Try one… if you dare.

Reasons for being banned/challenged are included and are taken from the American Library Association website.

The Handmaid’s Tale

by Margaret Atwood

In Margaret Atwood's dystopian future, environmental disasters and declining birthrates have led to a Second American Civil War. The result is the rise of the Republic of Gilead, a totalitarian regime that enforces rigid social roles and enslaves the few remaining fertile women. Offred is one of these, a Handmaid bound to produce children for one of Gilead's commanders. Deprived of her husband, her child, her freedom, and even her own name, Offred clings to her memories and her will to survive.

Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity and for “vulgarity and sexual overtones”

Available in digital and physical formats. Check availability in our online catalog!

Fifty Shades of Grey

by E.L. James

When Anastasia Steele, a young literature student, interviews wealthy young entrepreneur Christian Grey for her campus magazine, their initial meeting introduces Anastasia to an exciting new world that will change them both forever.

Reasons: nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

Available in digital and physical formats. Check availability in our online catalog!

The Kite Runner

by Khaled Hosseini

The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father's servant, caught in the tragic sweep of history, The Kite Runner transports readers to Afghanistan at a tense and crucial moment of change and destruction. A powerful story of friendship, it is also about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons--their love, their sacrifices, their lies.

Reasons: This critically acclaimed, multigenerational novel was challenged and banned because it includes sexual violence and was thought to “lead to terrorism” and “promote Islam.”

Available in digital and physical formats. Check availability in our online catalog!

To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

A young girl growing up in an Alabama town in the 1930s learns of injustice and violence when her father, a widowed lawyer, defends a black man falsely accused of rape.

Reasons: This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, considered an American classic, was challenged and banned because of violence and its use of the N-word.

Available in digital and physical formats. Check availability in our online catalog!

Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread

by Chuck Palahniuk

Representing work that spans several years, Make Something Up is a compilation of 21 stories and one novella (some previously published, some not) that will disturb and delight. The absurdity of both life and death are on full display. Funny, caustic, bizarre, poignant; these stories represent everything readers have come to love and expect from Chuck Palahniuk

Reasons: challenged for profanity, sexual explicitness, and being “disgusting and all around offensive”

Available in digital and physical formats. Check availability in our online catalog!

Beloved

by Toni Morrison

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Toni Morrison's Beloved is a spellbinding and dazzlingly innovative portrait of a woman haunted by the past.

Sethe works at beating back the past, but it makes itself heard and felt incessantly in her memory and in the lives of those around her. When a mysterious teenage girl arrives, calling herself Beloved, Sethe's terrible secret explodes into the present.

Combining the visionary power of legend with the unassailable truth of history, Morrison's unforgettable novel is one of the great and enduring works of American literature.

Reasons: sexually explicit, religious viewpoint, violence

Available in digital and physical formats. Check availability in our online catalog!

The Glass Castle

by Jeanette Walls

The child of an alcoholic father and an eccentric artist mother discusses her family's nomadic upbringing, during which she and her siblings fended for themselves while their parents outmaneuvered bill collectors and the authorities.

Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit

Available in digital and physical formats. Check availability in our online catalog!

Brave New World

by Aldous Huxley

Huxley's story shows a futuristic World State where all emotion, love, art, and human individuality have been replaced by social stability. An ominous warning to the world's population, this literary classic is a must-read.

Reasons: insensitivity, nudity, racism, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit

Available in digital and physical formats. Check availability in our online catalog!

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

by Stephen Chbosky

The critically acclaimed debut novel from Stephen Chbosky, Perks follows observant "wallflower" Charlie as he charts a course through the strange world between adolescence and adulthood. First dates, family drama, and new friends. Sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show . Devastating loss, young love, and life on the fringes. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it, Charlie must learn to navigate those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.

Reasons: homosexuality, offensive language, sexually explicit

Available in digital and physical formats. Check availability in our online catalog!

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