Banned Book Week

Today marks the beginning of Banned Book Week.  It’s put on by the American Library Association in honor of some of the most infuential books for our time.  Here’s what the ALA says about it:

Banned Books Week (BBW) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment.  Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States.

Intellectual freedom—the freedom to access information and express ideas, even if the information and ideas might be considered unorthodox or unpopular—provides the foundation for Banned Books Week.  BBW stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints for all who wish to read and access them.

Books that make the Banned Book List aren’t necessarily actually banned, they are the ones targeted most to be banned. Most of them aren’t actually banned, but from 2001 through 2010 there were 4,660 books challenged. Here’s the crazy thing, its not like most of them are that bad. Some of them are the most popular/relevant books of their time.

Check out these popular books from just the last 4 years that ended up on each year’s top ten books that drew the most criticism:


  • Brave New World
  • The Hunger Games
  • Twilight


  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Catcher in the Rye


  • His Dark Materials
  • Kite Runner


  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

A ton of the classics have also made the list, like this short sampling:

  • The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
  • The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
  • The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
  • 1984, by George Orwell
  • Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
  • Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
  • Animal Farm, by George Orwell
  • Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
  • Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway
  • The Call of the Wild, by Jack London <——Um, what??? It’s about freaking dogs!
  • The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien

Banned Books Week isn’t about people not being able to have their opinions on whether or not they like something.  Its more about taking the time to be thankful for the books that stretch you and challenge your thoughts and beliefs. We here at iUMBC are all for mindless, entertaining books, but we also believe that books can inform us and teach us things that we haven’t been exposed to. Only then can we make decisions for ourselves, instead of just following along with what the crowd says.

After all: Ultra Manly Men don’t shadow, we create shadows.

So tell us: What’s your favorite banned book?  Why do you like it so much? How did it impact you?

About zach

Staring out across the hazy mountain range on his latest summitting of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Zach saw with a clearness he had not yet seen. "People should tremble at the very sound of my name", he thought. And it was so. "I should master the manly arts of the world, such as barehanded hunting and blacksmithing". And it was so. "People should call me Z$". And it was so.

Currently Reading

-The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
-The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
-Twitter for Good by Claire Diaz Ortiz


  1. Real great visual appeal on this site, I’d value it 10 10.

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