Explore Banned Books


For more information about Banned Books Week (last September of each year), visit http://www.ala.org/bbooks.

Is a book being challenged or banned in your community? The ALA can help you
do something about it.

Catch-22. A Farewell to Arms. Of Mice and Men. Hailed as literary classics, it's hard to believe that there are hundreds of attempts each year to remove these and other great books from schools and libraries. In fact, according to the American Library Association, 42 of 100 books recognized by the Radcliffe Publishing Course as the best novels of the 20th century have been challenged or banned.

Google Books is our effort to expand the universe of books you can discover, and we're proud to join libraries and bookstores across the country in celebrating Banned Books Week – a nationwide initiative to help people learn about and explore banned books. You can start by browsing the 42 classics below.

Celebrate Your Freedom to Read

Challenged this year:
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Stephen Chbosky
"First-novelist Chbosky captures adolescent angst, confusion, and joy as Charlie reveals his innermost thoughts while trying to discover who he is and whom he is to become." - Booklist

Olive's Ocean
Kevin Henkes
"With his usual sensitivity and insight, Henkes explores key issues of adolescence." - Publishers Weekly
Challenged throughout the years:
The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald
"It is humor, irony, ribaldry, pathos and loveliness...A curious book, a mystical, glamorous story of today." - The New York Times
Books about The Great Gatsby
George Orwell
"[T]he most contemporary novel of the year and who knows of how many past and to come." - The New York Times
Books about 1984
Catcher in the Rye
J.D. Salinger
"[A]n unusually brilliant novel...the unconscious humor, the repetitions, the slang and profanity, the emphasis, all are just right." - The New York Times
Books about Catcher in the Rye

The Lord of the Flies
William Golding
"This brilliant work is a frightening parody on man's return ... to that state of darkness from which it took him thousands of years to emerge....Superbly written." - The New York Times

Books about The Lord of the Flies

The Grapes of Wrath
John Steinbeck
"Steinbeck has written a novel from the depths of his heart with a sincerity seldom equaled." - The New York Times
Books about The Grapes of Wrath
Toni Morrison
"A masterwork... Wonderful... I can't imagine American literature without it." - Los Angeles Times

Books about Beloved
The Color Purple
Alice Walker
"[A] work to stand beside literature of any time and place." - The San Francisco Chronicle
Books about The Color Purple
James Joyce
"[O]ne of the most significant and beautiful books of our time." - The Nation
Books about Ulysses
Of Mice and Men
John Steinbeck
"[A] thriller, a gripping tale running to novelette length that you will not set down until it is finished. It is more than that; but it is that... .Steinbeck has touched the quick in his little story." - The New York Times
Books about Of Mice and Men
Joseph Heller
"A monumental artifact of contemporary American literature, almost as assured of longevity as the statues on Easter Island." - The New York Times
Books about Catch-22
Brave New World
Aldous Huxley
"Mr. Huxley is eloquent in his declaration of an artist's faith in man, and it is his eloquence, bitter in attack, noble in defense, that, when one has closed the book, one remembers." - Saturday Review
Books about Brave New World
The Sun Also Rises
Ernest Hemingway
"No amount of analysis can convey the quality of The Sun Also Rises. It is a truly gripping story, told in a lean, hard, athletic narrative prose that puts more literary English to shame." - The New York Times
Books about The Sun Also Rises
As I Lay Dying
William Faulkner
"For range of effect, philosophical weight, originality of style, variety of characterization, humor, and tragic intensity, [Faulkner's works] are without equal in our time and country." - Robert Penn Warren
Books about As I Lay Dying
Song of Solomon
Toni Morrison
"It places Toni Morrison in the front rank of contemporary American writers. She has written a novel that will endure." - The Washington Post
Books about Song of Solomon
Heart of Darkness
Joseph Conrad
"Heart of Darkness has had an influence that goes beyond the specifically literary... one of the great, if troubling, visionary works of western civilization." - Joyce Carol Oates
Books about Heart of Darkness
Their Eyes were Watching God
Zora Neale Hurston
"Their Eyes belongs in the same categorywith that of William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Ernest Hemingwayof enduring American literature." - Saturday Review
Books about Their Eyes were Watching God
A Clockwork Orange
Anthony Burgess
"I do not know of any other writer who has done as much with language as Mr. Burgess has done here." - William S. Burroughs
Books about A Clockwork Orange
A Farewell to Arms
Ernest Hemingway
"[S]eldom has a literary style so precisely jumped with the time... a moving and beautiful book." - The New York Times
Books about A Farewell to Arms
Gone with the Wind
Margaret Mitchell
"This is beyond a doubt one of the most remarkable first novels produced by an American writer. It is also one of the best." - The New York Times
Books about Gone with the Wind
Go Tell it on the Mountain
James Baldwin
"Baldwin... has really unusual substantive powers but conventional ingenuity in form...[a] beautiful, furious first novel." - The New York Times
Books about Go Tell it on the Mountain
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Ken Kesey
"A work of genuine literary merit. What Mr. Kesey has done in his unusual novel is to transform the plight of a ward of inmates in a mental institution into a glittering parable of good and evil." - The New York Times
Books about One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Slaughterhouse Five
Kurt Vonnegut
"Highly imaginative, nearly psychedelic...It is very tough and very funny; it is sad and delightful; it is very Vonnegut; and it works." - The New York Times
Books about Slaughterhouse Five
For Whom the Bell Tolls
Ernest Hemingway
"This is the best book Ernest Hemingway has written, the fullest, the deepest, the truest. It will, I think, be one of the major novels in American literature." - The New York Times
Books about For Whom the Bell Tolls
The Call of the Wild
Jack London
"No other popular writer of his time did any better writing than you will find in The Call of the Wild...Here, indeed, are all the elements of sound fiction." - H. L. Mencken
Books about The Call of the Wild
All the King's Men
Robert Penn Warren
"Mr. Warren has employed vivid characterization and strong language combined with subtle overtones to write a vital, compelling narrative." - Booklist
Books about All the King's Men
The Jungle
Upton Sinclair
“When people ask me what has happened in my long lifetime I do not refer them to the newspaper files and to the authorities, but to [Sinclair's] novels.” - George Bernard Shaw
Books about The Jungle
Lady Chatterley's Lover
DH Lawrence
"Nobody concerned with the novel in our century can afford not to read it." - Lawrence Durrell
Books about Lady Chatterley's Lover

Invisible Man
Ralph Ellison
"It is a resolutely honest, tormented, profoundly American book." - The New York Times
Books about Invisible Man

In Cold Blood
Truman Capote
"The best documentary account of an American crime ever written... The book chills the blood and exercises the intelligence... harrowing." - The New York Review of Books
Books about In Cold Blood
Satanic Verses
Salman Rushdie
"Swift's Gulliver's Travels, Voltaire's Candide, Sterne's Tristram Shandy... Salman Rushdie, it seems to me, is very much a latter-day member of their company." - The New York Times
Books about Satanic Verses
Sons and Lovers
DH Lawrence
"There is probably no phrase much more hackneyed than that of 'human document,' yet it is the only one which at all describes this very unusual book." - The New York Times
Books about Sons and Lovers

Naked Lunch
William S. Burroughs
"A masterpiece. A cry from hell, a brutal, terrifying, and savagely funny book that swings between uncontrolled hallucination and fierce, exact satire." - Newsweek
Books about Naked Lunch

A Separate Peace
John Knowles
"[An] engrossing tale of love, hate, war, and peace...Intense, mesmerizing, and complelling." - School Library Journal
Books about A Separate Peace
Cat's Cradle
Kurt Vonnegut
"A free-wheeling vehicle...An unforgettable ride!" - The New York Times
Books about Cat's Cradle
Women in Love
DH Lawrence
"No other writer of [Lawrence's] imaginative standing has in our time written books that are so open to life." - Alfred Kazin
Books about Women in Love
The Naked and the Dead
Norman Mailer
"The best novel to come out of the... war, perhaps the best book to come out of any war." - San Francisco Chronicle
Books about The Naked and the Dead
An American Tragedy
Theodore Dreiser
"Mr. Dreiser is not imitative and belongs to no school. He is at heart a mysticist and a fatalist, though using the realistic method. He is, on the evidence of this novel alone, a power." - The New York Times
Books about An American Tragedy
Rabbit, Run
John Updike
"Brilliant and poignant....By his compassion, clarity of insight and crystal-bright prose, [Updike] makes Rabbit's sorrow his and our own." - The Washington Post
Books about Rabbit, Run
Tropic of Cancer
Henry Miller
"One of the most remarkable, most truly original authors of this or any age." - Saturday Review
Books about Tropic of Cancer
Native Son
Richard Wright
"Certainly, Native Son declares Richard Wright's importance... as an American author as distinctive as any of those now writing." - The New York Times
Books about Native Son

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