There is a theory that if someone puts a big red button in front of you and tells you not to press it… You instantly desire nothing more than to thump it?
Yep, we experience an instinctual phenomena where in many cases something that is forbidden or banned is instantly that bit more appealing to us. While there are many occasions where things are banned for our heath and safety there are also plenty of instances where they are banned with ludicrous justifications. Take for example this list of books that have been banned for bizarre reasons!
It should be acknowledged that many of these books do address strong subject matters. However, we must also recognize that the same can often be said of life in general.
So if you fancy a slightly more challenging read then why not try one of these frequently challenged novels!
The Outsiders is a slightly ironic one because in some schools this novel is awarded a place on the English curriculum but in others it is explicitly banned from the library shelves! Violence, alcohol and smoking were among the reasons that this book landed itself a spot on the American Library Association’s Top 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books 1990-1999.
Looking for Alaska
John Green has received many awards for his literary work but in 2015 his novel Looking For Alaska was awarded the title of most complained about book in America. The reasoning behind this bizarre acclaim included “offensive language” and “sexually explicit descriptions”.
The Hunger Games
Many young adults have The Hunger Games to thank for helping them to reignite an interest in reading. Not everyone was quite so grateful to author Suzanne Collins, however, and the series has in fact been banned many times. The grounds for this varied depending on who was challenging the novel at each point, but they ranged from complaints on religious grounds to claims relating to occult and satanic arguments.
Unlike many of the candidates on this list the Harry Potter series have not been challenged for their sexual content, profanity, homosexuality, etc. Instead in an equally ludicrous vein these books have been previously burnt at the stake (yes really!) due to their links to eh.. witchcraft?
You can imagine that Roald Dahls aptly titled novel The Witches also faced this criticism.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
This coming-of-age story is a hugely popular one in both its original novel form and its film adaptation. Not everyone is quite so enamored by it though and multiple attempts have been made to ban it. These challenges have included references to homosexuality, suicide, drug abuse and sexually explicit conduct. In fact Stephen Chbosky’s novel is one of the most regular entries to the American Library Association’s annual publication of the top 10 most frequently challenged books in schools and libraries.
Thankfully this one has not actually been banned but the furor that enveloped it justifies a spot on this list as a more recent contender. After all, if the callers into Liveline with Joe Duffy had anything to say about it this book would never be circulated!
Luckily for us in 2020 it made a leap onto our bookshelves and TV screens. The best part of course was that it offered us a refreshing and realistic insight into the relationships of young people in Ireland.
Will you be adding any of these frequently banned books to your reading list?