Banned Books Week 2013: Top Ten Tuesday Goes Rogue!

September 24, 2013 Banned Books, Classics, Coming of Age, Dystopian, Memoirs, Top Ten Tuesday, Young Adult Fiction 49

Howdy Bookworms!

Today is Tuesday and you know how much I love lists. I normally link up with the fantastic ladies at The Broke and the Bookish and participate in their weekly topics, but this week I’m going rogue. In honor of Banned Books Week, I’ve decided to forgo The Broke and Bookish topic this week (although they’re talking about sequels, so I encourage you to take a trip over there and check it out!) Instead, I’m going to continue my celebration of Banned Books Week and list some of my favorite banned books! Ready?!


1. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. This book has been challenged for its realistic depictions of slavery and the South during the Civil War. There are absolutely elements in this book I can see making people uncomfortable- the attitudes of the characters toward black people are ugly to say the least. HOWEVER, I think it’s important to preserve that history. Understanding how such a hideous institution could have ever been considered acceptable is critical to keeping it from happening again. Sweeping an embarrassing past under the rug doesn’t do anything for anyone. PLUS, this book tells an amazing story. It would be tragic to lose that!

2. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Ironic much? The book about the dangers of burning books is banned? Apparently at some point a school in California took offense with the language and issued a version to their students with all the “hells” and “damns” blocked out. Because, really?

3. The Color Purple by Alice Walker. This book is often challenged for a myriad of reasons. Profanity, race depiction, and homosexuality only scratch the surface. Whatever, Book Banners. The Color Purple is all kinds of awesome whether you like it or not!

The color purple is totally a metaphor. It's not like they talk about purple stuff all the time. So, if you're just like a purple enthusiast? This might disappoint you.

The color purple is totally a metaphor. It’s not like they talk about purple stuff all the time. So, if you’re just like a purple enthusiast? This might disappoint you.

4. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. The objections to Brave New World are fairly predictable. I mean, okay, so there might be rampant drug usage, casual sex, and the occasional orgy. The thing is, none of those activities are made to sound appealing in the slightest. It’s the ultimate cautionary tale. It’s the stuff dystopian nightmares are made of.

5. Forever by Judy Blume. Oh Judy Blume. How do I love thee? I’ve written before about my unabashed adoration for Are You There God? It’s Me Margaretbut Forever has had it’s share of challenges, too. It’s not surprising, really, this book is about teenagers who have S-E-X. Facts are facts, though. The average person loses his or her virginity at 17. It’s not realistic to pretend that teens in all their hormone riddled glory are all going to remain abstinent. It’s also silly to assume that every kid who reads this sort of book is going to go out and find someone to get naked with. What I love about Forever is that it’s a very realistic story of first love. They talk about the scary stuff- STDs, birth control, emotional investment. It also depicts heartbreak. Honestly, I think this book is more likely to talk teens OUT of having sex than it is to talk them INTO it. 


6. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. On the off chance you didn’t read my rant on the subject yesterday, please go have a look. Click here!

7. The Giver by Lois Lowry. Seriously, what is there to object to in this one? For heaven’s sake, they all take pills so there’s no sex, no sexual desires, no random make-out sessions- nada. It’s set in a dystopian society in which things are so tightly controlled that even color is forbidden. It’s like Pleasantville. It’s a fabulous book (better than all its sequels) and its a great challenging read for the middle school set.

8. The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls. Yes, yes. Sexual assault, casual profanity, alcoholism. I know. But really, it’s all about overcoming adversity. It has the added benefit of convincing teenagers that they don’t have it so bad. This realization may be fleeting and replaced quickly by more pressing teenage concerns, but learning to think about things from someone else’s perspective is a part of growing up. If a book can help with that? Heck yes, kids should be reading it!

glass castle

9. 1984 by George Orwell. Whaaat? A totalitarian dystopian society raising a ruckus? Why that’s unheard of! Kidding, of course. This book touches on issues of privacy, censorship, sexual repression… It’s sort of the opposite of Brave New World, but terrifying in its own way. I can see why it might freak people out, but censoring a book about censorship? Bad form!

10. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. Huck and Jim’s trick down the mighty Mississippi has landed on the banned books list a time or three. Critics cite racist overtones and language as their major objections. Language complaints cause would-be readers to miss out on one of the greatest classics in American literature, and that would be a travesty. Long live Huck Finn!

Have any of your favorites ended up on a banned list? Any of your beloved tomes being challenged? Tell me about it, Bookworms. Let’s get our rebellion on!

49 Responses to “Banned Books Week 2013: Top Ten Tuesday Goes Rogue!”

  1. Nish

    Huck Finn is one of my all-time favorites and in honor of banned book week, I added it to my top ten sequels post today. Honestly, it would have made the list anyway – banned or not banned. It’s a great book.

  2. Liesel Hill

    Great list! I’m ashamed to admit I haven’t read most of these, though I know the story of many of them (not really planning to read Gone With the Wind anytime soon) and the rest are on my TBR list, so hopefully I’ll get to them sooner or later. 😀 Happy Tuesday!

    My TTT

  3. Megan M.

    To Kill A Mockingbird. It’s amazeballs and the idea that anyone would challenge, let alone that it is one of the most-challenged books of all time, astounds me.

    • Words for Worms

      Good call! To Kill A Mockingbird has never been one of my favorites, but that might be the assigned reading talking. I didn’t dislike it, it’s just not as powerful for me as some others. Then again, Boo Radley and civil rights!

    • Words for Worms

      Ha! You know, I ADORE HP. I toyed with the idea of it making the list, but I feel like I talk about it ALL THE TIME and I wanted to brag about having read some classics. Katie is a braggart.

  4. kristinshafel

    This is awesome, I hope you wouldn’t mind if I used your idea for my Top Ten Tuesday as well? Credit to you, of course! I am STUMPED on their sequels topic—I don’t really read series books enough to come up with a list of more than, like, 2 :-/

  5. Cindy W

    I’ve read about half of your list. I need to make a list of books to read somewhere for the rest of your list. But I would probably just lose it. 🙂

    On my list would the Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series. I just googled him to be sure I had the series name right and he’s writing a fourth book! Squee!

    • Words for Worms

      A fourth in the Dark Materials series?! That’s fantastic. I have to admit, I found the ending of those books rather depressing. (I’m not exceptionally religious, but I do like to daydream of a heavenly afterlife… Particles recycling into the atmosphere didn’t really do it for me.) I’d totally read another one though.

      • Cindy W

        My only problem with it had to to do with what happened to God. That made me pause. Then I reminded myself that it was a book, and that it wasn’t real even if it seemed that way in my head and that it didn’t change my beliefs. And that’s my hesitation with recommending it to friends – in case that will upset them too much.

        • Words for Worms

          Great point! It certainly didn’t change my own beliefs when it came down to it, but it is one that I can see thinking twice over recommending to a religious person. Tough call!

  6. Monika

    When I saw The Glass Castle on this list I thought about how many teens might be dealing with some of the same issues in the book. How empowering and encouraging this book could be for them.

  7. Wayne

    *Huckleberry Finn* is one of the most powerful condemnations of slavery and it’s consequences that has ever been written. Probably does a much better job that *Uncle Tom’s Cabin* which is primarily of historical interest. Considering the current political climate, I can see why *Fahrenheit 451* and *1984* might be banned by some school districts.

  8. Samantha

    I’ve read six of these, and what frustrates me the most about this “book-banning” is that they have good, important messages that make them classics, yet people take the language/content out of context. Like kids are stupid. (Which they are not.) On the other hand, it makes me wonder if they really think some kids are going to understand all of the nuances. I read The Color Purple a long time ago, and some of the undertones I didn’t understand at the time. It’s just…I don’t know. But having read it that first time and then reading it again makes it more special because you can discover even more the second time around.

    • Words for Worms

      I am terrible about re-reads, but on the occasions I do tackle a classic again, I’m always STUNNED by how much I get out of it as an adult especially if I read it as a teen. All the lessons to be learned!

  9. Kayla Sanchez

    *does a double take* Eleanor & Park was banned? Waaat? *goes to read the post*

    Okay, and Judy Blume was banned for teen sex? Have they read The DUFF by Kody Keplinger? Any Sarah Dessen book? The entire freaking New Adult genre for crying out loud! Good Lord…

    I’ve always laughed at the irony of Fahrenheit 451 being banned 😀

  10. Leah

    Yay for going rogue! This is a much better topic. I love so many of these books — all four dystopias, Eleanor & Park, and The Glass Castle. (I’ve somehow never read Judy Bloom?)

    • Natalie Marrujo

      Me Too! But I never read anything banned before, although the list is like real-world as a walkthrough – yeah… kidding. This is going to be super intense if I read a banned book.

  11. Tiger Eyes (@TigerEyesMovie)

    As you’ve mentioned being a big Judy Blume fan, you may have questions for her. She will be participating in a Twitter discussion this Sunday 9/29 8pmET/5pmPT to talk about adapting her novel Tiger Eyes for the screen. Anyone may participate by following the hashtag #scriptchat

  12. Sarah Says Read

    I’m… a little bit ashamed at how many of these I haven’t read! I really need to step up my classics game. I can’t believe someone would try to ban Fahrenheit 451 or The Giver. WTF is wrong with people…

  13. Lillian Connelly

    I love to read all of the banned books and so I will pin this list for sure since I haven’t read them all! I love Judy Blume so much…SO MUCH!

  14. Don Royster

    To your list I would add one more. The Nazis banned “All Quiet on the Western Front”. Course they took their book burning seriously. They didn’t try to hide it the way some in this country would like to. And don’t forget that perennial favorite of the book banners “Catcher in the Rye”.

  15. Natalie Marrujo

    I got it. How about knowing what could happen if I read banned books before I graduate high school? That would be more helpful to see that the world is 100% mine. It should be cool enough to hate censorship. For now, I made a seperate list of banned books walkthrough with nine books (soon to be ten or eleven if I found at the garage). I never read anything Judy Blume before, at first it’s just for tweens – but now it should be read by the ages of 10 and up in which I didn’t know that by the way. I wonder what comes next… note to self: look in, look up and look ahead on what you’ve discovered outside of the pure imaginative planet. That’s the goal and thanks for your list of ten popular hits on the Banned Books Awareness special TTT list.

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