25 classic books that were banned

National Library Week is an opportunity to celebrate the most influential books in literary history. But not all of the novels considered classics today received instant praise. Many beloved titles have had to overcome years of censorship before securing places on mandatory reading lists and library shelves.

the American Library Association shared a list of books from the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century that have been challenged or banned. Of the 100 books, almost half have been rejected by institutions in the past. Some have been criticized for presenting violence (Beloved), blasphemy (Kill a mockingbird), or controversial political messages (Farm animal). Even seemingly harmless novels have been targeted by censors. (The Lord of the Rings was burnt in front of a church in New Mexico in 2001 for being “satanic.”)

Below are 25 of the most popular literary works of the last century that have been banned in schools, libraries and, in some cases, in entire countries. For even more great books that have been banned, including picture books like Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax, check out this list.

  1. The color purple by Alice Walker

  1. Beloved by Toni Morrison

  1. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

  1. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

  1. Farm animal by George Orwell

  1. The sun is also rising by Ernest Hemingway

  1. Native son by Richard Wright

  1. Flight over a cuckoo’s nest by Ken Kesey

  1. For whom the bell rings by Ernest Hemingway

  1. Lady Chatterley’s Lover by DH Lawrence

  1. A clockwork orange by Anthony Burgess

  1. In cold blood by Truman Capote

About Marcia G. Hussain

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