This week is Banned Books Week. Here are some of our favorites. 

4:43 p.m Friday, Sept. 29, 2017 Books

What do “Frankenstein,” “The Grapes of Wrath,” “Looking for Alaska,” “Little Bill” and “”Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread” have in common?

They were all either challenged or banned books at some point in their published history.

This week marks the 35 annual Banned Books Week, which was launched in 1982 by the Banned Books Week Coalition “in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries,” according to its website. The Coalition aims to educate the public about the dangers of censorship. 

The books mentioned above were banned at one point for a variety of reasons. ”Frankenstein” was banned in apartheid South Africa for being “objectionable and obscene”; “’Grapes of Wrath” was banned in its real-life setting of Kern County, Calif. for “libel and lie” because some in the county felt the book incorrectly portrayed how town officials helped immigrants; “Looking For Alaska” was challenged in America last year for “a sexually explicit scene that may lead a student to ‘sexual experimentation’”; “Little Bill” was challenged in America simply because of its author, accused rapist Bill Cosby; and frequent banned books author Chuck Palahniuk’s latest adult short story collection got challenged, among other things, for “being disgusting and all around offensive.”

There isn’t much in American literature that has’t been banned at one point. "The materials that are challenged and banned say something about the human condition,” Judith Krug of the American Library Association told NPR in 2008. "They're not afraid of the book; they're afraid of the ideas.”

With that in mind, we thought we’d write about some of our favorite banned books. Let us know your favorite in the comments!

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