Here at For Reading Addicts we never hesitate to ask the impossible of our followers; no matter how controversial, no matter how difficult, if there’s an answer to be had then we’ll ask the question. As lifelong lovers of all things book we are always promoting freedom of speech and the importance of all literature being allowed no matter how difficult or controversial the subject matter may be and we have all read books that have left us feeling uncomfortable or emotionally bruised in some way.
But what we wondered, would people ban if they could? It was over to you, our social media followers for the answers and answer you did, with over 650 comments and dozens of books mentioned with some of the most unusual reasonings given for banning them, here we have the top 20 books you’d ban if you could.
We weren’t completely horrible and we did give you None as an option which 259 of you leaped at, making us very happy here at For Reading Addicts. The banning of books is, in our view a reprehensible act and while there are some awful books out there, we’d hope that readers are intelligent enough to either self censor or be able to distinguish that which is fantasy and that which is fact.
Fifty Shades of Grey – E.L James
It seems that poor prose, an unpleasant plot line and a weak protagonist is enough to turn you into a character from Fahrenheit 451. With comments such as:
‘it teaches women that someone stalking them is ok’ , ‘promoting abusive relationships’ and ‘possibly the worst book in modern history!!!’ 143 of you felt the world would be a better place without Christian and Anastasia in it.
Mein Kampf – Adolf Hitler
In third place and cited as propaganda for modern day Nazi sympathisers Mein Kampf comprises a melange of Hitler’s political and racial ideas over two volumes, “A Reckoning” and “The Nazi Movement” and is described as both mind numbingly boring and unbelievably poorly written. Sadly the fact that this book still causes so much upset says more about humanity’s inability to learn from the past than either the book or the author.
Twilight – Stephenie Meyer
Fifty four votes places Twilight in 4th place: With comments such as ‘I tried to read it and was horrified. Girl needs guy to help her overcome herself’ and ‘Atrocious writing with atrocious characters’. The main gripe about this vampire saga was the neediness of its protagonist who felt she was nothing without a man by her side.
Crippled America – Donald Trump
Re-released as Great Again: How to Fix Our Crippled America Donald Trump’s blueprint for fixing all of America’s problems had 13 of you calling for it to be removed from our shelves. With one comment saying ‘ I really don’t think he knows how to fix America or think his ideas should be shared‘ the hugely divisive businessman and sometime politician is in 5th place.
Gerald’s Game – Stephen King
Stephen King was mentioned a lot in this poll, and I mean a lot but it is his tale of a game between a husband and wife that goes wrong, leaving him dead and her in a hell of a pickle that topped the King books that you would have banned if you could. King’s subject matter and writing style was the reason for you wanting his books taken out of circulation, paving the way for you you all to have a restful night’s sleep.
A Paedophile’s guide to love and pleasure – Philip Greaves
Very little needs to be said about this one and to be honest I can only hope that it is a lack of awareness of this book’s existence that put it behind Fifty Shades and Twilight in your books you’d love to ban. It seems that Amazon is way ahead of you all on this one having removed the book from its sites in 2010.
As an advocate for never banning a book no matter what its content, even I struggle to find a reason for this ever being re-released.
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
Now before you all start jumping up and down and exclaiming in horror, this is the first of many satirical suggestions for banning a book. ‘I would ban To Kill a Mockingbird because banning it would make it relevant, more people would want to read and discuss it, and the public outrage would be fun to watch.’ being one of many similar comments from people who just want to watch the world burn.
Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
This was a suggestion made by many of you that came with a codicil; you didn’t particularly want it banned completely, just banned in all schools forever with one voter saying ‘Every other chapter of Grapes of Wrath, which was torturous to read (to me, at least) and could have been half as long without the “and now here’s how it looked for everyone” chapters between the Joads’ story.’ How many classics have been ruined for us due to required reading in schools and the inevitable, interminable tearing apart of a perfectly good story that comes afterwards.
The Turner Diaries – Andrew MacDonald
Written by one of America’s most prominent white nationalist leaders The Turner Diaries deals with a military white uprising and revolution against the establishment, first in America and then spreading around the globe. Cited as being the inspiration for at least two violent militant white groups, “The Order” in America and the “Order Boervolk” in South Africa the Turner Diaries is also the novel that inspired American terrorist Timothy McVeigh .
To complete our list, here are the next ten books you would ban if you could in order of selection.
The Dictionary – ‘Perhaps, were it banned, some people who desperately need to read it would do so simply out of rebellion.’
Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
Jaws – Peter Benchley
The Anarchist Cookbook – William Powell
Everyday – David Levithan
By The Time You Read This I’ll Be Dead – Julie Ann Peters
Outlander – Diana Gabaldon
Lord of the Flies – William Golding
Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
I have never advocated the banning of books, no matter what the subject matter may be but quite honestly, after researching that little list I am extremely uncomfortable having some of those titles and especially in such close proximity to one another on my computer’s history files.
Let us hope they die from natural causes and disappear into the annals of obscurity.