Check out any list of the most frequently banned books and you’re likely to mistake it for a list of the most respected novels in literary history: The Great Gatsby, Beloved, Ulysses and The Grapes of Wrath are frequently cited as highly challenged books.
So just what is it about these remarkable works that upsets those who seek to ban them? The chart below with information from the American Library Association shows the elements that raise the most hackles. While violence and substance use both make the top 10, sexually explicit content draws far more criticism, ranking the No. 1 most cited reason for seeking to ban a book.
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Unfazed by all those objections and eager to sneak in a good read before Banned Books Week ends? Try Animal Farm or The Awakening—they’re frequently challenged, and short enough to read in a day.