The 100 Most Controversial Books of the Century

I have been in a major book rut lately. Ever since The Help, anything new I pick up doesn’t seem nearly as exciting, even though people have given me some seriously awesome suggestions! I have read a few “self-help” type selections, like the Intuitive Eating text I have written about in the last few weeks, but as far as personal enjoyment, or a light-hearted choice, none have measured up.

Today, while I was at the library checking out materials for the kids, I picked up The Book of Air and Shadows, by Michael Gruber. One of the perks of my job is dibs at any book within our secondary card catalogues, so if something looks remotely interesting; it seems silly to not take advantage of the privilege. Surprisingly, the school has some better choices than our community library, so I always look forward to the academic year when I am conveniently located a short walk from multiple stacks of literature. Hopefully I will start reading this tonight, and be able to give you a positive report in the next few days, to provide you with something new to curl up with as the weather turns to fall.

But aside from finding a new piece of fiction, I also stumbled upon something else on my book hunt; The Top 100 Blacklisted Books of the Last Century.

Just take a peak at some of these titles…
*Harry Potter
*Captain Underpants
*Judy Blue books (um, hello, Are You There God, its Me Margaret?! Totally got me through some awkward adolescent years!)
*The Giver
*Junie B. Jones Novels

There are obviously a ton more listed, but these were just a few that totally shocked me! Some titles I can understand; I remember reading The Chocolate War in 6th grade and having to get a permission slip signed because it discusses masturbation, which honestly at that age I don’t even know if I knew what that was. But seriously, Harry Potter being controversial because it promotes witchcraft? Come on!

In fact, I’m not sure if I like this list. To Kill a Mocking Bird and Huckleberry Finn are classics that teach lessons I feel are necessary for kids to develop into tolerant, better-rounded human-beings, and I fear that having a directory like this, might discourage politicians, educators and parents, from exposing our youth to these essential writings.

Perhaps I am looking too much into this, but it just irritates me how politically correct our society has become, and how we have to tip-toe around certain subjects as to not offend anyone. I am obviously not in favor of hurting feelings, or making people ultra-uncomfortable, but do we need a label that provides a negative stigma before an individual even makes a choice, or determines what he or she thinks on their own? By having a list like this, it makes me think people will start reading with a pre-conceived notion that will clouds any open-mindedness they may have once had, and diminishes the opportunity to analyze the metaphors and messages the author intended.

I realize this is a random morning post, but I am wondering what you all think? Have we, as a country, gotten too critical of “less censored” materials? Is this a good or bad thing?

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12 thoughts on “The 100 Most Controversial Books of the Century

  1. Thank you so much for posting this! I am a homeschooling mother so I get the opportunity to choose what my kids read. I want them to experience so many books on this list! In fact some of my favorites are listed! I think it is a shame that amazing books like this have been “banned”.

    • thats how i feel!!! some of the ones they listed were the most influential in my life! id love to hear some of your favorite books. i feel like reading has taken the back burner to so many other forms of technology and it makes me so sad.

      • I just love the Harry Potter series. I am reading the Anne of Green Gables series with my kids and they are loving it. Even my 10 year old son! We have also read The Chronicles of Narnia, more favorites! Our whole family just gets lost in books, never a dull moment when a book is around!

  2. truly amazing…many books that my kids and i have read and loved. now my rebellious nature makes me want to read more of them…just because i can! 😉 Bridge to Terabithia? really…that was one of the few books that i was able to get my son to read early on.
    i looked back thinking this must refer to elementary school libraries, but NOPE…American Library Association!!!!

    • I know! when I saw this list I was absolutely shocked! Disney made a movie out of Bridge to Terabithia for goodness sakes! it cant be that bad!!! and yes, you are right…the American Library Association should be ashamed. Oh well, I checked out the GIver today at the library for one of my students! TAKE THAT ALA!

  3. I can’t express how much I LOVE The Giver! It was an awakening for me that a book could touch me so deeply.

    At my school, we do almost entirely independent reading as opposed to whole class novels. One of the many benefits is that everyone reads what they want. No censorship.*

  4. Instead of flat-out blacklisting books like this, why can’t publishers add a page to the front of books that indicates any potentially inappropriate material? One of my favorite authors through middle and high school was Lois Duncan who has several books on that list. I hate to think I might not have discovered her because someone else thinks I shouldn’t have read them.

    Love reading your blog btw =)

    • thank you for the compliment and thank you for reading!!!
      I agree with you about adding a page! if that is even necessary! I did not think many of these books should have been on the list at all…Are you there god its me margaret talks about periods! big deal haha if thats why the book is blacklisted perhaps they should turn on the Jersey shore!!!

      • Haha, really! Several of the books marked sexually explicit are supposed to be because they are teaching necessary information to young ones…

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