Want to read something for Banned Books Week but just don’t have the time? You’re in luck! Below, you’ll find ten of the most challenged books in the United States condensed (by me) into one sentence.
Irony isn’t lost on me; it wasn’t too long ago in writing about Fahrenheit 451 that I included the line:
Classics cut to fit fifteen-minute radio shows, then cut again to fill a two-minute book column, winding up at last as a ten- or twelve-line dictionary resume.
However, my goal is not to tell the story; rather, to whet your appetite for more.
Enjoy, fearless reader!
Ulysses (James Joyce; “explicit nature” and “promoting lust”): As an omniscient observer, spend 16 June 1904 with Leopold Bloom in Dublin.
To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee; “racial slurs, profanity, and blunt dialogue about rape”): Scout, a young girl in Maycomb, Alamaba, learns from her father why racism is wrong.
The Sun Also Rises (Ernest Hemingway; profanity and sex): A group of young people attempt to forget the horrors of WWI with sex, parties, and alcohol.
Slaughterhouse-Five (Kurt Vonnegut; “depraved, immoral, psychotic, vulgar, and anti-Christian”): A soldier in WWII, Billy Pilgrim suffers from shell-shock.
1984 (George Orwell; sexual content and violence): A totalitarian government breaks Winston Smith.
The Jungle (Upton Sinclair; socialist philosophies): Discover the horror of meatpacking in the early 1900s (and socialism, too).
James and the Giant Peach (Roald Dahl; “inappropriate language, encourages disobedience to parents, references to drugs and alcohol, and ‘magical elements’): A young boy flees his abusive aunts in a magical fruit with talking insects.
The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald; “language and sexual references”): Jay Gatsby throws extravagant parties in an attempt to win the love of Daisy Buchanan.
Catch-22 (Joseph Heller; “offensive language”): John Yossarian deals imaginatively with Air Force bureaucracy in WWII.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Mark Twain; race and social issues): Huck Finn runs away from home and rafts down the Mississippi River with escaped slave Jim.