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Thread: S/O banned books - what's the most controversial book you've read?

  1. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
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    #1

    S/O banned books - what's the most controversial book you've read?

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    After banned books week and hearing how a lot of people (including myself) look to the lists for reading material, it got me thinking - what's the most controversial book you've ever read? Are you glad you read it?

    For me I think it'd be Mein Kampf. It was on a recommended reading list given to me by my AP Lang teacher, he told me I ought to read everything on the list but specifically cautioned about Mein Kampf because he said I might have trouble obtaining it. That was pretty much a guarantee I was going to buy it.

    I tried to start it senior year but I was just too busy (it's quite a difficult read), picked it up again in grad school and read it over the space of two years in two large chunks. Terribly written but I'm glad I read it, it was fascinating in its own right and I learned a lot about history just by looking up events/people I wasn't familiar with.

    The only other time I've felt uncomfortable reading a book in public was when as an undergrad, in 2001, I took a course on bioterrorism. Our text was a small book (smaller than Mein Kampf actually) and I took it with me on the subway when I was traveling into the city. Got quite a few glares and one person accosted me about it.
  2. MilitarySOS Jewel
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    #2
    Hm...maybe Go Ask Alice or Crank? For drug-related stuff. Then either To Kill a Mockingbird, 1984, or Fahrenheit 451 for the classics.
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    #3
    Oooh, you know, I've never even thought about reading Mein Kampf... but they say knowledge is power... is it officially banned though?

    Would be fun to see a list of the Top 100 books banned for political reasons so I could see how many I've actually read.
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    #4
    To Kill a Mockingbird is my favorite book of all time-- and it's a banned one. I teach Fahrenheit 451 and 1984 to my AP Lang students... teaching almost any book ends up being controversial to someone... :-)
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  5. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
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    #5
    Quote Originally Posted by HisNormalLife View Post
    Oooh, you know, I've never even thought about reading Mein Kampf... but they say knowledge is power... is it officially banned though?
    Not in the US, although I had a tad bit of trouble buying it. Basically the first time I went and they asked if it was for class and I said no, they were reluctant to sell it to me and told me to come back when the manager was there ... second time I went and showed them the reading list and said it was for class and they sold it to me.

    Would be fun to see a list of the Top 100 books banned for political reasons so I could see how many I've actually read.
    This would probably be a good place to start!
    List of books banned by governments - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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    #6
    The DeVinci Code I went to Catholic school, so they weren't thrilled with that one.

    ETA: I'm glad I read it...it was an interesting read, but it didn't change my thoughts about the Catholic Church. I already knew not to take everything in the bible literally. I knew it was impossible for people to know exactly what happened thousands of years ago.

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    #7
    hummm... I don't know, I've read all the classic ones like Brave New World, 1984, whatever... but I really just don't see those as controversial. I'm not shocked by them.


  8. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
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    #8
    Quote Originally Posted by briannanoel View Post
    hummm... I don't know, I've read all the classic ones like Brave New World, 1984, whatever... but I really just don't see those as controversial. I'm not shocked by them.
    I know what you mean. Kind of makes you wonder what the big deal is.

    By far the book that scandalized me the most when I was in school was Candide. I actually asked my teacher why it wasn't banned, or at least challenged. Then he asked me when the last time I remember anyone talking about Candide was, I guess that answered my question.
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    #9
    Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) Lewis Carroll Children's Novel/Adventure

    Used to be banned in the province of Hunan, China, beginning in 1931 for its portrayal of anthropomorphized animals acting on the same level of complexity as human beings. The censor General Ho Chien believed that attributing human language to animals was an insult to humans. He feared that the book would teach children to regard humans and animals on the same level, which would be "disastrous."[5]
  10. In vino veritas
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    #10
    Of the top 100 that you posted I have read:

    Alice in Wonderland
    All Quiet on the Western Front
    Animal Farm
    Black Beauty (seriously? How is this on here )
    The Canterbury Tales (again, seriously?)
    Catch 22
    The Diary of Anne Frank
    Dr. Zhivago
    The Grapes of Wrath
    Green Eggs and Ham ()
    1984
    Uncle Toms Cabin

    I read almost all of them for school. My school actually promoted reading controversial and promoted discussion about change in all aspects of life, even questioning if democracy was best for this country or even if we are a democracy anymore. I loved my school. I think it taught me how to critically think and got me out of my upper class white suburban bubble.
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