Sept Book 3 – Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury

Welcome to Banned Books Month! The votes are counted and this month we are attempting to do all three of the books that got the most votes. It should be doable as the books are not large volumes.

The third book we will be reading with the group is Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.   Your host for this discussion is Janien.

fahrenheit 451

Here’s some info about the book:

Product Description
The hauntingly prophetic classic novel set in a not-too-distant future where books are burned by a special task force of firemen. Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to burn books, which are forbidden, being the source of all discord and unhappiness. Even so, Montag is unhappy; there is discord in his marriage. Are books hidden in his house? The Mechanical Hound of the Fire Department, armed with a lethal hypodermic, escorted by helicopters, is ready to track down those dissidents who defy society to preserve and read books. The classic novel of a post-literate future, ‘Fahrenheit 451’ stands alongside Orwell’s ‘1984’ and Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’ as a prophetic account of Western civilization’s enslavement by the media, drugs and conformity. Bradbury’s powerful and poetic prose combines with uncanny insight into the potential of technology to create a novel which over fifty years from first publication, still has the power to dazzle and shock.

About the Author
Ray Bradbury has published some 500 short stories, novels, plays and poems since his first story appeared in Weird Tales when he was twenty years old. Among his many famous works are ‘Fahrenheit 451’, ‘The Illustrated Man’ and ‘The Martian Chronicles’.

There is a 1966 adaptation of the book starring Oskar Werner and Julie Christie that is worth checking out – especially for the Sixties idea of the future!  It was directed by François Truffaut.

The group discussion will start on September 1st and run all month. Please join us if you can!  Discussion takes place in the Book Group section of the forum.

Sept Book 2 – Jean Rhys – The Wide Sargasso Sea

Welcome to Banned Books Month! The votes are counted and this month we are attempting to do all three of the books that got the most votes. It should be doable as the books are not large volumes.

The second book we will be reading with the group is The Wide Sargasso Seas by Jean Rhys.   Your host for this discussion is Janien.

wide sargasso sea

 

Here’s some info about the book:

Product Description
Jean Rhys’s late, literary masterpiece Wide Sargasso Sea was inspired by Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, and is set in the lush, beguiling landscape of Jamaica in the 1830s. Born into an oppressive, colonialist society, Creole heiress Antoinette Cosway meets a young Englishman who is drawn to her innocent sensuality and beauty. After their marriage the rumours begin, poisoning her husband against her. Caught between his demands and her own precarious sense of belonging, Antoinette is driven towards madness.


About the Author
Jean Rhys was born in Dominica in 1894. Coming to England aged 16, she drifted into various jobs before starting to write in Paris in the late ’20s. After Leaving Mr. Mackenzie was written in 1930. Her early novels, often portraying women as underdogs out to exploit their sexualities, were ahead of their time and only modestly successful. From 1939 onwards she lived reclusively, and was largely forgotten when she made a sensational comeback with Wide Sargasso Sea in 1966. She died in 1979.

There is a very good BBC TV adaptation of this book from 2006 that I recommend.  It stars Rafe Spall as Rochester and Rebecca Hall as Antoinette.

The group discussion will start on September 1st and run all month. Please join us if you can!  Discussion takes place in the Book Group section of the forum.

Sept Book 1 – Vladimir Nabokov – Lolita

Welcome to Banned Books Month! The votes are counted and this month we are attempting to do all three of the books that got the most votes. It should be doable as the books are not large volumes.

The first book we will be reading with the group is Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov.   Your host for this discussion is Janien.

lolita

Here’s some info about the book:

Product Description
Humbert Humbert is a middle-aged, fastidious college professor. He also likes little girls. And none more so than Lolita, who he’ll do anything to possess. Is he in love or insane? A silver-tongued poet or a pervert? A tortured soul or a monster? …Or is he all of these?


About the Author
Vladimir Nabokov was born in St Petersburg in 1899, but he left Russia when the Bolsheviks seized power. His family moved to England for a brief spell and finally settled in Berlin. His first novel in English was The Real Life of Sebastian Knight, published in 1941. His other books include Ada, Laughter in the Dark, Details of a Sunset and Lolita, his best-known novel. Nabokov died in Montreux, Switzerland in 1977.

There are two film versions of this book that are worth checking out; one is the 1962 version starring James Mason as Humbert Humbert and the second is the 1997 version starring Jeremy Irons in the same role.  There is also an audio version of the book which is narrated by Jeremy Irons¬

The group discussion will start on September 1st and run all month. Please join us if you can!  Discussion takes place in the Book Group section of the forum.

GBH Book Group September *Banned Books Month* – voting

The suggestions are in, the poll is open for voting, and you have seven whole days to decide what two books you want to read and discuss with the group next month.

What all of these books have in common of course is that they have all been banned and/or challenged at some point, somewhere.  September is Banned Books Month so we asked our members to suggest some banned or challenged books for this month.   What are banned books?  Here’s the short answer from wikipedia:

Banned books are books to which free access is not permitted. The practice of banning books is a form of censorship, and often has political, religious or moral motivations.

Bans on books can be enacted at the national or subnational level, and can carry legal penalties for their infraction. Books may also be challenged at a local, community level. As a result, books can be removed from schools or libraries, although these bans do not extend outside of that area. Similarly, religions may issue lists of banned books – a historical example being the Roman Catholic Church‘s Index Librorum Prohibitorum– which do not always carry legal force.

Here are the choices on offer for September book group:

Jean Rhys – The Wide Sargasso Sea
Lolita, by Vladmir Nabokov
Orlando, by Virginia Woolf
A Good Man Is Hard to Find, by Flannery O’Connor
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred Taylor
Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
Night Chills By Dean Koontz
Lady Chatterley’s Lover – DH Lawrence
Bridge to Teribithia – Katherine Paterson
The Giver – Lois Lowry
The Noodle Maker by Ma Jian
Dream of Ding Village – Yan Lianke

How to vote:  Please log into the forum and visit this thread to cast your vote.

Audio Book of the Month – September 2010

Banned Classic
Read this for book group this month since we were supporting Banned Books Week, but I was late getting started since I couldn’t find my actual book – and still can’t!  Luckily I had the audio book narrated by Ethan Hawke to fall back on so I listened to that.  I was sure I read this book before but since virtually none of it was familiar to me either I didn’t read it before or I was on drugs.  Basically I liked it and I enjoyed listening to it.  It’s a strange one definitely and probably not to everyone’s taste but I found it very interesting.  Apparently “and so it goes” appears in the book 106 times but actually I liked that too as it did make me pay more attention to the fact that every time he said that, someone or something died more or less.  I think without that I wouldn’t have noticed as much and that’s kinda like life.

School ban on gay anthology challenged by US free speech organisations

New Jersey school’s decision to remove critically acclaimed collection from library shelves sparks major backlash

American free speech organisations are fighting a decision by a New Jersey school to remove a critically acclaimed anthology of writing about teenage homosexuality from library shelves after parents described it as vulgar and obscene.

Revolutionary Voices, a collection of stories, poems and artwork by young homosexuals, was banned at Rancocas Valley Regional High School last week following a campaign by the local chapter of Glenn Beck’s conservative 9.12 project. Local grandmother and 9.12 member Beverly Marinelli told the Philadelphia Inquirer that the book was “pervasively vulgar, obscene, and inappropriate”, while insisting that she is “not a homophobe”.

But a coalition of free speech groups has jumped to the book’s defence, saying that residents “have no right to impose their views on others or to demand that the contents of the library reflect their personal, religious, or moral values”.

“There are undoubtedly GLBTQ [gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, and questioning] students at Rancocas Valley High School, regardless of whether they are openly recognised. Removing any of these titles would send a clear message to those students that they are the objects of social disapproval – different, vulnerable, and marginal – whose needs for information of particular relevance to their lives are not respected,” wrote the directors of a collection of organisations to the school’s board. The letter, the signatories to which include the National Coalition Against Censorship, the National Council of Teachers of English, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the Association of American Publishers and PEN America, added that there was “no question that these books are not obscene”.

“No one has to read something just because it’s on the library shelf,” the letter continued. “No book is right for everyone, and the role of the library is to allow students to make choices according to their own interests, experiences, and family values … Even if the books are too mature for some students, they will be meaningful to others.”

Lambda Legal, a US civil rights group representing gays, lesbians, and people with HIV/Aids, has also written to the school board saying that removing the book “undermines the school’s obligation and ability to protect students regardless of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity”.

The book’s editor, Amy Sonnie, pointed to a letter from a 15-year-old boy, who said that on reading the volume he was relieved to discover “that there were other people out there who shared elements of my identity”.

“Queer students may not feel safe speaking up when LGBTQ books are challenged,” said Sonnie. “But, they certainly deserve a chance to discover the ‘diversity of voices’ that make balanced library collections so crucial for the health of our communities and democracy.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the local 9.12 group is now looking to get the same book removed from the Lenape regional high school district, the county’s largest school district. But the paper said that students were “shrugging off” the controversy. “Just because these books are in the library isn’t going to cause us to be gay,” they said. “We have so much access to information, if we want to read something we’ll read it.”

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Masturbation: literature’s last taboo

Granta’s new issue dedicated to sex reminds us that only the sin of Onan really retains the power to shock readers

It had to happen eventually. Britain’s most distinguished literary quarterly has knocked off work early, picked up some wine on the way home and taken the phone off the hook. That’s right: Granta has just published its sex issue.

The issue covers all kinds of couplings – mainly the dysfunctional and alienated, rather than the loving and rewarding kind – but one story stands out. Emmanuel Carrère’s This Is For You, originally published in Le Monde in 2002, takes the form of a letter addressed to his girlfriend, whom he knew would be reading the paper that day as she travelled across France. Arch, poised and perfectly paced, Carrère’s letter instructs her to gradually lose herself in a masturbatory fantasy, to the point where she has no option but to take matters into her own hands in the train toilet. Hilariously, Carrère then imagines that other women reading the paper on the same train might also be compelled, by the sheer impact of his erotic instruction, to excuse themselves on similarly pressing business. (In the end, he gives the final climactic scene to one of these anonymous women: “She goes for it, fingers in, too late for dainty refinements, she wants it too much and has been ready for at least an hour now.”)

It’s a heroic piece of writing, and trumps everything else in the issue, for this simple reason: it makes the lonely journey to the last frontier of literary sex. You see, we’ve read about every kind of sex imaginable. Nothing shocks us anymore. Few will bat an eyelid that Granta has published a sex issue; some are even mourning the golden age of literary sex, when there were still taboos left to smash. When, they ask, are things going to get dirty again? If you want an answer to that question, ladies and gentlemen, let me propose one. In 2010, the only sex that’s truly dangerous and unbounded is solitary.

Masturbation has always been literary. “Traffic with thyself”, as Shakespeare tuttingly referred to it, is the only sex that takes place purely in the imagination – fictional characters are its livelihood. Better still, there are no rules, all bets are off, and you can get away with whatever you like. But despite being truly democratic – if not downright anarchic – in its availability, masturbation is the one form of sex that writers have yet to truly get to grips with.

Perhaps this is because we’re still hungover from the time when self-love was seen as the cause of everything from insanity to infirmity to an early death. According to one prominent historian, we have yet to resolve our anxiety over this activity, which represents not a social engagement with another, but a retreat into the unbounded world of our imaginations. We still feel deep ambivalence about such unpoliced pleasure, even while most of us are paid-up subscribers. The horror of masturbation – which has no rules and can’t be brought to heel by society – has been handed down to us largely intact. Ninety years after Ulysses was banned for not-very-subtly describing Bloom’s “long Roman candle” joyously exploding in the air, the act of onanism retains a power to shock that no other kind of sex in literature can.

What else could explain the uproar which greeted Charlotte Roche’s Wetlands? Yes, it explored the female body with incredible candour; but equally its power came from the narrator’s unabashed confessions of where her sexual instincts goes when no one is watching. Or how about the high priest of self-pleasure, Philip Roth? His seminal (forgive me) Portnoy’s Complaint was said to have shattered the taboo of masturbation, but I wonder if that’s the case. For my money, the scene in Sabbath’s Theatre where the protagonist discovers a love-rival masturbating over the grave of his late mistress (something he himself has been doing) represents something darker and more shocking than many routine Rothian sex scenes – the primary sexual impulse, careening off the rails and unchecked by interaction with anyone else.

So let’s hear it for literary masturbation, and its power to still make us blush. And in the spirit of all things user-generated, how about sharing your own favourite moments from the literary history of self-love? The more imaginative, the better.

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Stephenie Meyer joins ranks of ‘most challenged’ authors

The Twilight books are among the books that have received most calls to be banned from from US libraries

Queen of teen vampire romance Stephenie Meyer has topped every bestseller chart going but she has now made it onto a less coveted chart, after her Twilight books joined the ranks of those most frequently requested to be banned from US libraries.

Meyer’s novels, about the romance between a human teenage girl and a vampire, came fifth on the American Library Association’s list of books which people tried hardest to ban in the last year. This is the first time the Mormon author’s novels have appeared in the line-up – JK Rowling and Philip Pullman are both veterans of the list – with complaints about both their level of sexual explicitness and their “religious viewpoint”.

“It is the books which are read frequently which are frequently challenged – with all the hype around Twilight and the movies and the celebrities I was actually surprised Meyer’s books weren’t higher,” said Angela Maycock at the ALA’s office for intellectual freedom. Vampire books in general accumulated a host of complaints last year, Maycock said, with “the idea of vampires and other supernatural entities in opposition to certain religious viewpoints”. JK Rowling doesn’t make it into this year’s list but her Harry Potter books were the most challenged of the last decade, the ALA said today, with complaints over their “satanism” and “anti-family themes”.

The most challenged books of 2009 were Lauren Myracle’s young adult series of books TTYL, written entirely in the style of instant messaging. A host of objections were made to Myracle’s books – over their language, coverage of drugs and sexual explicitness. “These books deal realistically with young adult lives – the ickyness, the weirdness of adolescence and the difficult situations lots of teens face,” said Maycock. “Twilight of course deals with adolescence too, but is very much about the supernatural. It’s interesting that both realism and fantasy are causing high levels of concern.”

Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell’s And Tango Makes Three, a children’s book about two male penguins bringing up an orphaned chick which has topped the list for the last three years, slipped into second place, while Philip Pullman fell out of the list altogether.

Instead, the late JD Salinger’s iconic novel of teenage rebellion The Catcher in the Rye, which has provoked a storm of complaints – from being “anti-white” and “obscene” to being “centred around negative activity” and “a filthy, filthy book” – ever since it was published more than 50 years ago, returned to the list of most challenged books after a four-year absence. “It’s really a very cherished favourite for many readers so seeing it there can be shocking. People might ask ‘are we still having problems with Catcher in the Rye?’ The truth is, yes we are. It’s a classic because of many of the things which make it potentially objectionable, including the language used and the fact that Holden Caulfield is really a classic non-conformist. That can be scary,” said Maycock.

Another classic title, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, was the fourth most challenged book in 2009, for “racism” and “offensive language”. “Similar to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Lee uses the language of a certain time but the use is to put forward a very strongly anti-racist message, so it is really a shame that one particular word makes a book objectionable when the message of the book is exactly the opposite,” said Maycock.

Last year, the ALA received 460 reports about efforts to remove books from the shelves of schools or libraries for being inappropriate, down from 513 challenges last year. But the association estimates that its statistics only represent 20-25% of the complaints that actually occur. The ALA said it was aware of 81 instances in which materials were actually removed from schools and libraries last year, including copies of Brave New World, The Kite Runner, Black Hawk Down and To Kill a Mockingbird.

“Even though not every book will be right for every reader, the ability to read, speak, think and express ourselves freely are core American values,” said Barbara Jones, director of the ALA’s office for intellectual freedom. “Protecting one of our most fundamental rights – the freedom to read – means respecting each other’s differences and the right of all people to choose for themselves what they and their families read.”

The top 10 titles most challenged titles of 2009 were:

1. TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R (series) by Lauren Myracle

Reasons: Nudity, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs

2. And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson

Reasons: Homosexuality

3. The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Anti-Family, Offensive Language, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs, Suicide

4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Reasons: Racism, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

5. Twilight (series) by Stephenie Meyer

Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group

6. The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger

Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

7. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

Reasons: Sexism, Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs, Suicide, Violence

8. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler

Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

9. The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

10. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

Reasons: Nudity, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

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‘You are free to write, others have not been so lucky’

For 50 years PEN’s Writers in Prison Committee has been campaigning on behalf of writers who have been imprisoned for speaking their minds

“You’re free to write,” read the email that stood out from the others in my inbox. I clicked on the message. Its words struck home: “Others have not been so lucky”.

The email was an invitation to participate in a project to mark 50 years of the International PEN Writers in Prison Committee.

Choosing to participate caused me to stop and think, properly for the first time, about the writing freedom I take for granted every single day.

Since 1960, the PEN Writers in Prison Committee has been campaigning for writers who have been threatened, suppressed or imprisoned for their work. The most famous include Wole Soyinka, Vaclav Havel and Salman Rushdie, who have all had to weigh their words in fear.

The committee was formed at a PEN meeting in Rio De Janeiro, after researchers passed round a list of 56 writers imprisoned in Albania, Czechoslavakia, Hungary and Romania.

PEN centres began to spring up in countries where writers had been imprisoned because they spoke or wrote their minds. Fifty years on, there are more than 70 centres worldwide and together they support around 900 persecuted writers, editors and journalists each year.

To mark 50 years of defending freedom of expression, PEN’s Writers in Prison Committee is running a year-long campaign – Because Writers Speak Their Minds.

One strand of this campaign highlights the cases of 50 writers PEN has campaigned on behalf of in the 50 years that the committee has operated. Each of the oppressed writers, who include Mamadali Makhmudov from Uzbekistan, poet Angel Cuadra from Cuba and Bangladeshi novelist, poet and journalist Taslima Nasrin, has been paired with a writer from writing group 26, of which I am a member.

The task? Write 50 words, no more, no less, inspired by the life and work of the writer.

These pieces are being posted each day online in the run up to, and during, the Free the Word! Festival, held 14-18 April.

Not all of the campaigned-for writers are still alive. The writer I wrote about was Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink. Dink was shot dead in January 2007 outside his newspaper Agos, a bilingual Armenian-Turkish newspaper.

He was among a number of high profile writers charged under Article 301 of the Penal Code, accused of “insulting Turkishness” in his writings. He had received numerous death threats.

What can you say in 50 words? Not much. But hopefully 50 words a day for 50 days, will highlight freedom taken for granted, and freedom lost.

• Some of the writers that the committee has supported over the years will be celebrated at the 50th anniversary of PEN’s Writers in Prison Committee at the London School of Economics on Friday, 16 April

• Follow 26:50 at 26-50.tumblr.com

• Free The Word festival blog: freetheblog.typepad.com

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Are we done with censorship yet?

With Banned Books week fast approaching I have already read enough about people who continually try to ban books, but yet here we are again…

The press has been buzzing in recent weeks over the withdrawal from the GCSE syllabus of Carol Ann Duffy’s poem about disaffected youth, “Education for Leisure”, and the advice to schools from the examining board, AQA, to pulp the anthology in which the offending poem appears. They said that they had received a handful of complaints, and had concluded that knife crime is too sensitive a topic for kids today.

Last month Asda withdrew a book by Jacqueline Wilson because it contained the word “twat” and had aroused a customer complaint. I was reminded of a letter Puffin once received about Roald Dahl from a head teacher. He said that Dahl’s work was totally unsuitable for primary schoolchildren, and he was now going to ban his books entirely from the school. When challenged, he said he hadn’t actually read any himself but one of his parents had complained about a word in one of them, and that was enough to damn the entire oeuvre.

There is something very disturbing going on here. Stories and poems aren’t just to entertain; they provide a hugely important way for children to explore the experiences and concerns of growing up. Books are where they find out about the world and learn to deal with their fears and anxieties as well as escaping into a world of fantasy and humour.

For toddlers, this might be a way to talk about their feelings about a new baby sibling or their first school, and for older kids to stimulate thinking about social issues such as drugs or violence, but at either end of the spectrum books offer help in understanding the world better.

The Duffy ban sparked a round of family emails, with my children (both English teachers) agreeing that neither teachers nor students see this kind of material as a glorification of violence. My eldest summed up the debate by saying, “If they don’t get to discuss these issues in school, where do they discuss them?” And that is the crucial point: censorship tries to sweep things under the carpet but they don’t go away.

The Children’s Laureate and many others have voiced their support for Duffy’s poem. At a time when reading and writing attainment are as low as they have ever been among children entering secondary school, such that the government last week pledged to provide one-to-one reading support for every primary child, we must go on making sure children can continue to think and talk about issues which trouble and interest them.

Sally Floyer is about to retire as m.d. of Penguin’s brands and licensing division (Ladybird, Warne and BBC Children’s Books) after 40 years in publishing.

So knife crime is too sensitive a topic yet it happens every day?

Asda supermarket withdrew a book because it contained ‘twat’?

If you ban it, they will read!

“It’s not just the books under fire now that worry me. It is the books that will never be written. The books that will never be read. And all due to the fear of censorship. As always, young readers will be the real losers.” — Judy Blume

I read this recently and I find it really hard to believe that someone is hoping the desire to censor books is going to make her popular. I don’t like anyone trying to tell me what to think and I especially don’t like people who try to ban books. The phrase “book burning nazi” springs to mind. Many of these books are classics, many are classic children’s books/stories that generations of children have grown up reading and others are autobiographies. How can you ban the story of someone’s life? Just because you didn’t like it didn’t mean it didn’t happen, you can try to ban it but it still happened and people want to read about it. Some of these books below are on the list because of sexual content or personal views of the person who is trying to ban the book, so now we get back to someone trying to make everyone else think like them! Sorry dear, not going to happen. Have you not learned anything? If you ban it, they will read. They will read books they never thought of reading before just because they are now somehow “illicit”. So what you do by banning books is actually encourage more people to want to read them! I have to wonder also looking at this list if the person trying to ban them has actually read them all? I have my doubts. Most of these are already on many of the “most banned and challenged books” lists so it looks like a quick copy/paste job to me and no more thought went into it than that!

Anyway, here is a list of books to ban recommended reading list for you:

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

Blubber by Judy Blume

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

Canterbury Tales by Chaucer

Carrie by Stephen King

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

Christine by Stephen King

Confessions by Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Cujo by Stephen King

Curses, Hexes, and Spells by Daniel Cohen

Daddy’s Roommate by Michael Willhoite

Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Peck

Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

Decameron by Boccaccio

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

Fallen Angels by Walter Myers
Fanny Hill (Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure) by John Cleland

Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes

Forever by Judy Blume

Grendel by John Champlin Gardner

Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

Have to Go by Robert Munsch

Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman

How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell

Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Impressions edited by Jack Booth

In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak

It’s Okay if You Don’t Love Me by Norma Klein

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence

Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

Little Red Riding Hood by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Love is one of the Choices by Norma Klein

Lysistrata by Aristophanes

More Scary Stories in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz

My Brother Sam Is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

My House by Nikki Giovanni

My Friend Flicka by Mary O’Hara

Night Chills by Dean Koontz

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer

One Day in The Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Ordinary People by Judith Guest

Our Bodies, Ourselves by Boston Women’s Health Collective

Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy

Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl

Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones
by Alvin Schwartz
Scary Stories in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz

Separate Peace by John Knowles

Silas Marner by George Eliot

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

The Bastard by John Jakes

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

So there we have it, not a bad list of books really. I’ve read a lot of them but there are some on there that i will have to track down – thanks Sarah! Good luck banning the classics that people have been reading for 100+ years, yup most of those you can find free on the net, so good luck with that. Ditto Harry Potter. Way to jump on the “ban Harry Potter” bandwagon too. What people seem to be having a problem with here is separating fact from fiction. Harry Potter is FICTION, there really isn’t a wizarding school where they all zoom around playing quidditch on broomsticks (cool though that may sound).

Anyway, don’t forget to read some of these excellent titles in fact you can find quite a few of them in our Banned Books shop by clicking on the Buy Stuff link at the top of the site. While you’re at it, why not pick yourself up some cool “got banned books” merchandise from our Cafepress shop to show your support and celebrate these great books.