Top Ten Tuesday #384

Hi all! I hope you’ve had a good week since I last did one of these. I’ve had a pretty fun one, my mum and I went to a wine tasting at this local bar near us on Wednesday night which was a lot of fun, and then on Friday we went to see Jack Absolute Flies Again at the National Theatre, which was absolutely brilliant. I don’t tend to go see plays as much as musicals, but this one was really great, so funny that we were basically non-stop laughing for two hours!

Anyway, it’s Tuesday, so that means another Top Ten Tuesday courtesy of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic was supposed to be Books I Loved So Much I Had To Buy A Copy For My Personal Library, but honestly, I have relatively few of these: I have such limited shelf space that if I read a book in audio or e-book format, I’m unlikely to buy a physical copy as well, unless I need it to complete a series. So instead, I’m doing one of the topics suggested for the Back To School freebie last week, and talking about my Favourite Banned Books. Personally, I think the whole idea of banning books is ludicrous, and I actually did a whole discussion post on a similar topic a few years back, which you can read here, if you want to. But alas, it seems that some people don’t agree, and so I’ve had a look at some lists of frequently challenged books, and picked out some of my favourites to share today:

  1. My Sister’s Keeper-Jodi Picoult

My Sister’s Keeper has apparently been banned in schools numerous times, for including drugs, violence, suicide, offensive language, sexually explicit behaviours and homosexuality. To all of which I say huh? By the time kids are teenagers, they have been, or will be familiar with all of the things mentioned as reasons for the book being banned, and will quite possibly have experienced a lot of those things themselves. I was 12/13 when I read this one, and had no issues understanding, nor was I disturbed by the content, and I reckon this book would actually be a really interesting one for class discussion as it covers so many interesting moral and ethical issues. Plus it’s just a really great story!

2. The Hunger Games-Suzanne Collins

All three of the books in the Hunger Games trilogy have been on the ALA banned books list (and I think more than once). Apparently some of the reasons for challenges include it being anti-family (did these people read the book? LITERALLY THE WHOLE REASON THAT KATNISS VOLUNTEERS FOR THE GAMES IN THE FIRST PLACE IS FOR HER SISTER.), insensitivity, offensive language, occult/satanic themes and violence. I have to admit, I don’t really get the satanic complaint. Of course, the books are violent, violence and war are main themes in the books, but I wouldn’t say it’s anything that the teenage audience the books are aimed at couldn’t handle. I think I was 15/16 when I read this one and I absolutely flew through it because it was so absorbing, and again, there’s a lot to unpack that would be really interesting for class discussion particularly when it comes to topics like revolution and overthrowing the government.

3. 13 Reasons Why-Jay Asher

This one came into the top ten challenged books after the Netflix series first came out, so I do wonder if there was a little bit of a crossover with that, as the Netflix series was much more graphic than the book when it came to some of the issues portrayed like Hannah’s sexual assault, and her eventual suicide. The book has mainly been challenged over its depiction of suicide, and whilst I do understand some of the issues with the way suicide is discussed in 13 Reasons Why more now than I when I read it as a teenager, that’s not a reason to ban it, it would be far more helpful to discuss the issues presented by the book than it is to outright ban it.

4. Black Beauty-Anna Sewell

This one is probably one of the most ridiculous ones on the list, in terms of the reasoning for banning it. Black Beauty was banned in South Africa in the Apartheid era because the title included the word “Black”. I truly have no words.

5. Charlotte’s Web-EB White

One of my favourite books as a child, Charlotte’s Web was apparently banned by a school in Kansas in 2006 because “talking animals are blasphemous and unnatural”. REALLY? REALLY?

6. Nineteen Minutes-Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult’s books are apparently quite frequent targets for bans in schools in the US! This one has been targeted due to the subject matter of school shootings, offensive language, for containing a date rape scene amongst other complaints. Considering the prevalence of school shootings in the US, it seems like that’s actually quite a relevant topic for teenagers and again it seems ridiculous that books are challenged for swearing and sexual content, like many teenagers haven’t experienced either of those things in their own lives! I can’t remember how old I was when I read this one, but I know I read it before I turned 18 as I took it to my first Jodi Picoult book event back in 2014.

7. Unwind-Neal Shusterman

Unwind has been challenged for various reasons, including the fact that it contains offensive language and includes topics such as sex, child abuse, suicide and drug abuse and is not intellectually challenging enough. I’ve already covered a lot of the topics raised as issues for this book for many of the other books in this post but I also have to thoroughly disagree on the last point as I thought Unwind was a really thought-provoking book. It covers a lot of really interesting topics about life and death and the right to life, organ donation, abortion, bodily autonomy etc, so in terms of the topics raised, I definitely found it an intellectually challenging book and think it would raise a lot of interesting discussions in a classroom setting.

8. A Court of Mist and Fury-Sarah J Maas

This was on a list of books banned by Walton County Public School Libraries in Florida earlier in the year, and apparently a Virginia legislator tried to ban Barnes and Noble stores from selling it without parental consent. I’m assuming this one came under fire due to sexual content, and whilst yes, I would agree that it should be shelved as an Adult book rather than YA, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with teens consuming sexual content if they choose to and sexual content is no reason for censoring a book. The whole idea of children and teens needing parental permission to buy books is something that makes me very uncomfortable, seems like a very slippery slope to not allowing kids to read any content that their parents may disapprove of: eg banning books with any LGBTQ+ content due to homophobia.

So there we go, those are some of my favourite books that have been banned or challenged (largely in the US, I did look to see if I could find any UK banned books lists but it seems to be less of a thing here, which I’m very glad about!) and what I thought about them. Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? Let me know in the comments!

I will have another TTT for you all next week, but once again, I’m going rogue as I wasn’t feeling the Books With Geographical Terms In The Title, it turns out I’ve not read many of those! I’m still sticking along the title theme, and choose Something of Something And Something Book Titles as that still seems to be an incredibly popular title scheme for fantasy books!

76 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday #384

  1. BonnieReadsAndWrites 06/09/2022 / 1:12 pm

    I loved My Sister’s Keeper the book, but I was furious that they changed the ending of the movie. The book ending was the best part

    • iloveheartlandx 14/09/2022 / 10:06 am

      I felt the exact same way! The movie ending completely missed the point of the book.

    • iloveheartlandx 14/09/2022 / 10:08 am

      Thank you! I know right, I was shocked when I saw that one. I completely agree, it just seems like a way to completely cut off conversation about a book, and everyone is definitely more likely to read something if they’re told they can’t, especially teenagers!

  2. Emma Gryspeerdt 06/09/2022 / 3:22 pm

    I can’t believe Charlotte’s Web has been banned somewhere! 🤯 Hunger Games too, wow. Enjoyed your post – really interesting!

    • iloveheartlandx 14/09/2022 / 10:09 am

      Thank you! Yeah that one really shocked me too, it’s such a lovely story, I couldn’t possibly think why it had been banned!

    • iloveheartlandx 14/09/2022 / 10:10 am

      I was quite shocked but I really shouldn’t have been, given how barbaric the Apartheid era government in South Africa was, banning a book with the word Black in the title is probably one of the more benign things they did.

  3. Terrie Purkey 06/09/2022 / 4:45 pm

    So many books seem to be banned for language – what world are people living in? Do they not hear how kids and EVERYone speaks these days? Everything is so profanity laced, it’s hard to think a few books are going to influence how kids speak. The only one on this list I haven’t read/heard of is Unwind so I’m definitely going to read that soon. Thanks for the visit Jo.
    Terrie @ Bookshelf Journeys

    • iloveheartlandx 14/09/2022 / 10:13 am

      They’re clearly living in a different world to the rest of us if they think kids haven’t been exposed to at least a little swearing before! Ah I hope you enjoy Unwind, it’s a really great book 🙂

  4. Mareli Thalwitzer 06/09/2022 / 5:42 pm

    The only book I didn’t read on your list is Unwind! Ha, guess I have a thing for banned books….

    Hope you are having a wonderful Tuesday!

    Elza Reads

  5. lindseyhabets 06/09/2022 / 6:23 pm

    I agree that banning books is quite ludicrous overall, but whoa, those reasons for banning Black Beauty and Charlotte’s Web are completely ridiculous. Also, I love The Hunger Games and the ACOTAR series.

  6. Greg 06/09/2022 / 6:36 pm

    Some of these reasons are just crazy. Black beauty lol. But it is such a problem, yes. I don’t get the Hunger Games either. I remember reading it and thinking this isn’t bad considering SOME books I’ve read! But I guess if you HAVEN’T read them and you hear about them someone might think oh no the children can’t be exposed to THAT. But that’s the danger too- making a decision like that when you HAVEN’T read the books! Oh well- we’ll probably always have this problem but yes, I HATE banning books.

    • iloveheartlandx 14/09/2022 / 10:19 am

      The Black Beauty one was definitely the most mad one I found. There’s no denying that The Hunger Games is violent, and yes, I can definitely understand if you haven’t read it and hear about it, you might think that’s way too violent for my kid to read. But kids should be able to make their own decisions about what they feel comfortable reading and banning books is definitely not a solution!

  7. Louise 06/09/2022 / 6:44 pm

    OMG some of these! I don’t approve of banning books anyway, but some of these reasons are beyond ridiculous!

  8. Rissi 06/09/2022 / 6:58 pm

    Never been a fan of The Hunger Games (I do like the film a bit more just because I think I get to know Katniss more than I do in the book). Over all I think the story has some good things to say and I think part of why I don’t care for the book is because of the idea that there is a “game” these kids to participate in for entertainment. I used to watch the Charlotte’s Web movie ALL THE TIME. Not sure I ever read the book though! 🙂

    • iloveheartlandx 14/09/2022 / 10:22 am

      The fact that the kids are made to participate in what is essentially a death game is definitely meant to be unsettling and not something readers approve of though, it would be concerning if anyone thought The Hunger Games was a good thing. I think I saw the most recent Charlotte’s Web movie a few years back? I’ve always been more of a fan of the book though!

  9. Anne Bennett 06/09/2022 / 7:44 pm

    I am a Neil Shusterman fan, also. Plus I considered the Hunger Games series, too. But I was so turned off by Mockingjay it almost wrecked the series for me. I actually disliked the last book, The Ballad of Snakes and Songbirds. Thanks for visiting my blog.

    • iloveheartlandx 14/09/2022 / 10:23 am

      He writes such great books, love his stuff! Mockingjay was definitely my least favourite in the series, but I really loved the first book and Catching Fire. I didn’t hate Ballad as much as others did but I didn’t like it as much as the original trilogy for sure.

  10. Rae | 06/09/2022 / 9:08 pm

    Great list and picks. I liked your take on the School freebie prompt. I hope these books were read even more after they were banned! And I’m glad you had a good weekend and fun with your mum. These moments with loving family are precious.
    Here is my TTT:
    Have a great week 🙂

    • iloveheartlandx 14/09/2022 / 10:26 am

      Thank you! I hope so too, to show how ridiculous banning books is.

  11. Emily Jane 06/09/2022 / 9:09 pm

    Crazy! We are lucky to live in the UK! I didn’t know A Court of Mist and Fury was on there. That was my favourite one!

    Have a great week.

    Emily @ Budget Tales Book Blog

    • iloveheartlandx 14/09/2022 / 10:27 am

      We definitely are, I’m glad this kind of thing seems to be much less prevalent here! Yeah, I wasn’t expecting that either, it’s quite a recent one, I think, from earlier this year.

      • Emily Jane 14/09/2022 / 2:36 pm

        I’ve tried looking for banned books currently in the UK and just can’t find any – that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any though!

      • iloveheartlandx 20/09/2022 / 9:58 am

        I’m sure there probably are some somewhere!

      • Emily Jane 20/09/2022 / 9:31 pm

        There must be 😂 whilst I haven’t found any yet, I did find a list with books that had been banned but weren’t any longer.

  12. I'm All Booked Up YA 06/09/2022 / 9:30 pm

    Unwind is such a great book! We have a signed copy that we got while meeting Neal Shusterman at a book festival.

    • iloveheartlandx 14/09/2022 / 10:30 am

      It is a really great book! I had my copy (along with the rest of the series) signed when I went to an event with him, VE Schwab and Samantha Shannon a few years ago.

  13. agreatreviewer 06/09/2022 / 9:52 pm

    Ooh nice topic twist! A few years back I helped my sister create a Banned Books Classroom Library for her 5th graders. Trying to find books within that age level was a touch difficult, but I managed! I also included reasons why the books were banned so my sister could have little notecards attached so they knew that. My favorite was the whole “talking animals are blasphemous!” That reason got used a lot! I think I put it on Alice in Wonderland as well…which if I recall, another reason for its banishment might have been because a girl was the hero. I did come across that one for one of the books I selected for her and that one just blew me away.

    Thanks for visiting my TTT!

    • iloveheartlandx 14/09/2022 / 10:34 am

      Thank you! Oh yeah, that must have been tricky, most of the books I’ve found were generally aimed at teenagers, though I’m glad that’s there’s not a huge number of books banned for 10/11 year olds! Woah, I had no idea the whole talking animals are blasphemous was a widely used excuse for banning books. Banned because the girl was the hero? I wish I was surprised by that but sadly I can definitely see that being used as a reason for banning a lot of books. That’s so cool that you did that for your sister, must have been a fun thing to put together!

  14. Rebecca Trotter 06/09/2022 / 9:59 pm

    Banned Books are so ridiculous, especially when it is for heavy real-life subjects.

    Let the children read!

  15. Hamlette (Rachel) 06/09/2022 / 10:08 pm

    I think that a government official banning a book is as dangerous as a government official mandating that people must read a book. So I oppose book banning on the government or even school level.

    However, I think that parents absolutely have the right to decide whether or not their own children, including teens under 18, are ready to read a specific book. Once a person is no longer a child, they have the freedom to make their own choices about reading material (and other media they consume). But while they are a child, their parents should take the responsibility for ensuring their children are not reading or watching material they are not yet mature enough to handle.

    In other words, the government should not be parenting children, but parents must.

    • iloveheartlandx 14/09/2022 / 10:45 am

      I think the problem is a lot of these book challenges or bans come because parents raise objections to the content of particular books, and whilst you may have the right to decide whether your own child reads a specific book, raising a complaint to their school about it, means that you are then at least partly responsible for restricting other people’s children from reading that book just because you have an objection to it, which I don’t think is fair. I also think deciding that what your kids read based on what you feel is “age appropriate” could lead to kids and teenagers being prevented from reading books that for example have LGBT content if they have homophobic parents who believe that’s “inappropriate”. By all means discuss with your kid what they are reading, but I feel it should be your choice whether you’re ready to read a certain book, whether you’re a child or an adult.

      • Hamlette (Rachel) 15/09/2022 / 3:32 am

        When I was in college, a friend of mine was in a lit class that assigned a book some students were not comfortable reading. The professor simply assigned them a different (longer) book by the same author, and they discussed both in class. I liked that approach, because it affirmed their right to be uncomfortable with a book’s contents, showed that he respected them, but also didn’t reward objections by letting them get out of an assignment. I realize that’s not always feasible for a teacher/professor, but I thought that was a wise solution.

      • iloveheartlandx 20/09/2022 / 9:43 am

        That does seem like a sensible solution to get around the issue!

  16. Cindy Davis 07/09/2022 / 12:02 am

    I don’t get banned books either. There are certain books I refuse to read for some of the content in them, but I don’t think I have a right to say whether or not someone else should/or can read them. And, I agree that some reasons for banning books are completely ridiculous!

    • iloveheartlandx 14/09/2022 / 10:50 am

      It’s just so odd that people think they have the right to decide what other people can read? Like fair enough, you don’t want to read something yourself, but that’s no reason to say that others can’t!

  17. jennielyse 07/09/2022 / 12:57 am

    This is such a great topic. The midwest in the US is cray cray when it comes to doing many things (including reading) against what they interpret the Bible meant. Although, I can’t talk because a lot of people who belong to my religion do the same thing. It just floors me, though, what some people think is offensive to God. Anyway, off my soapbox, lol.

    My TTT

    • iloveheartlandx 14/09/2022 / 10:53 am

      Thank you! It’s a bit wild to me, because the UK is not really like that when it comes to religion (on the whole anyway!). Oh absolutely same here.

  18. Alicia @ A Kernel of Nonsense 07/09/2022 / 1:06 am

    Anti-family? This just made me snicker a little. I don’t even know what this means and frankly, so what? If these people had their choice, we’d all be reading the same ten books over and over again. Interesting look at these banned books!

    • iloveheartlandx 14/09/2022 / 10:56 am

      It’s one of those phrases that right-wing parties seem to use a lot that basically just seems to mean anything that they don’t consider their ideal of a family, but is really just nonsense. Absolutely, and how boring would that be? Thank you!

  19. WendyW 07/09/2022 / 2:29 am

    Book banning is just wrong. I read most of these books, and there is no reason to ban any of them. What a great topic!

    • iloveheartlandx 14/09/2022 / 10:56 am

      Thank you! Yes, I completely agree, book banning in any form is wrong.

  20. dinipandareads 07/09/2022 / 8:13 am

    WOW. It’s absolutely wild to me that Black Beauty was banned because it contained the word ‘Black’ in the title. That’s just… wow, no… 😕 I had no idea Picoult’s books were banned so much either! I discovered them when I was in high school, granted I went to an international school but I absolutely loved her stuff and nothing that I read in those books wasn’t anything I had already been exposed to in different contexts before! Great choice of topic 🙂

    • iloveheartlandx 14/09/2022 / 10:58 am

      Racism truly knows no bounds…. Yeah she does seem to be a very frequent target for book banning, I guess because she tends to write about “controversial” topics? I definitely felt the same way, I started reading her stuff when I was around 12/13 and though her books are aimed at adults, I didn’t find anything in there that I couldn’t understand or hadn’t already been exposed to. Thank you!

  21. Marianne Maurer 07/09/2022 / 8:27 am

    I never understand why books are banned, often they end up being read by more people in the end. And rightly so. There might be books that are not right for a certain age group but usually kids don’t enjoy reading what they don’t understand anyway. There are books on your list that I didn’t care for much but that’s normal, we can’t all like the same books. But we should all be allowed to read the same books if we wish to.

    The Black Beauty example makes me remember that someone told me they couldn’t use the word Black at all, like for coffee. My question how I would order my black coffee then (because that’s how I drink it) was answered with: coffee without milk. Yeah, right. That is really just ridiculous.

    Thanks for visiting my TTT this week.

    • iloveheartlandx 14/09/2022 / 11:02 am

      Me either, it definitely doesn’t seem to do what the people who want to ban them intend, so what’s the point? Sure, but I feel like kids will decide for themselves whether they are ready to read certain books or not, so they should have all options available to them and like you said, they won’t generally enjoy books that are far above their level of understanding. That’s completely ridiculous that anyone would feel like they couldn’t use the word black for anything!

      • Marianne Maurer 14/09/2022 / 11:26 am

        I think that’s exactly what these people are afraid of, that others broaden their minds and they can’t live with that.

  22. Deb Nance at Readerbuzz 07/09/2022 / 12:43 pm

    Excellent. We readers must continue to push back against those who would ban books. And the stories behind some of the book bans…yes, some of these are just ridiculous.

    • iloveheartlandx 14/09/2022 / 11:02 am

      We absolutely should. I know, the Black Beauty one had my eyes rolling so hard!

  23. Jaime 07/09/2022 / 1:44 pm

    Like your topic for back to school! I definitely agree that books shouldn’t be banned, but I can see why a parent would be upset with A Court of Mist and Fury being in a school library with the content. It should definitely have been published as an adult book, but that’s on the publisher, not necessarily the school for buying something labeled YA. Books don’t have ratings like movies or TV shows so it’s hard to know what’s in them. The parents should have taken responsibility for what their children were reading and not blame the school, though.

    But definitely some of these others have been banned for ridiculous reasons (like Charlotte’s Web??? And The Hunger Games??) Ugh.

    • iloveheartlandx 14/09/2022 / 11:09 am

      Thank you! I can definitely understand why parents wouldn’t necessarily want their younger teens reading A Court of Mist and Fury, but given that school goes up to age 17/18, I don’t see anything wrong with the book being in a school library if they had an older YA section. I’m pretty sure my school library had some adult books in there! I definitely agree that it should have been published as an adult book but I suppose Sarah J Maas already had a YA audience, so they wanted to capitalise on that? Absolutely, they shouldn’t blame the school for shelving it and it could be a good opportunity to open a conversation about sexual content with your teenager, which they likely may be exploring in forms other than books anyway. I was a bit shocked by some of the reasons given for banning books-seems like some very tenuous threads to me!

      • Jaime 14/09/2022 / 2:02 pm

        Yes! I definitely agree. If there was a section for older YA, it would be perfectly understandable. And the school definitely should not be blamed at all.

        There are a lot of bad reasons for banning a book for sure.

      • iloveheartlandx 20/09/2022 / 10:04 am

        My local library used to have a “Teen” and a “Older YA” section and I always thought that was a really good idea, because YA covers quite a wide spectrum of ages and what interests a 13 year old won’t be the same as what interests an 18 year old.

      • Jaime 20/09/2022 / 1:04 pm

        Oh yeah! That’s really cool that they did that. I wish more libraries had that option or that books had some kind of rating like movies and TV shows.

      • iloveheartlandx 27/09/2022 / 6:43 pm

        Yeah it would be great if they did, YA covers such a wide span of ages that splitting them up like that makes a lot of sense. I kind of understand why books might be harder to rate than films, but I definitely think that having a division between older and younger YA in libraries and bookstores would be really useful, for both teens and parents.

      • Jaime 27/09/2022 / 7:17 pm

        Yes! I agree. I think in other countries there might be rating systems for books. I know there are ratings for comics, graphic novels, and manga so there is already sort of a “standard” for a system if they wanted to do something along those lines.

  24. Susan 07/09/2022 / 2:54 pm

    I did last week’s topic this week, too. Your slant is a great one. I’ve read six of these books, so I guess I’m all about banned books. Ha ha.

    Happy TTT (on a Wednesday)!


  25. Zoe ( 07/09/2022 / 5:26 pm

    The Hunger Games I understand but it’s nothing an appropriate audience can’t handle – I read it in school and as part of projects!! Also, I feel like you know from the synopsis what it’s going to be like. I read Black Beauty when I was very young and really enjoyed it, so I don’t understand that one either!

    Have a lovely week!


    • iloveheartlandx 14/09/2022 / 11:12 am

      I do understand the concerns about the violence, but I definitely feel like it’s nothing that teenagers would be unable to handle-I wouldn’t necessarily give it to for example a ten year old, but I reckon anyone aged 12/13 and up would be absolutely fine with it. Yeah that one was less an age-appropriateness thing, and more a racism thing on the part of the Apartheid South African regime who didn’t want people even reading books with the word “Black” in the title.

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