This story was originally published on September 26, 2014.
Before Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, books were one of the most powerful ways to transmit information and stories. They still are, and (hopefully) always will be. Some books are bound to cause controversy and stir up trouble. Again, such is the power of the written word.
September 27 through October 3 marks the American Library Association's annual Banned Books Week. It's a celebration of freedom — freedom to read, freedom from censorship, and freedom to share unique ideas that may not jibe with everyone.
In honor of the occasion, we're taking a look at 20 commonly banned or challenged books. Some of them will surprise you. (Can you guess why someone would find Green Eggs and Ham contestable?) Others, you can probably predict. And, fun fact, putting this list together unearthed a trove of Cliff's Note-esque study guides to Gossip Girl. They're a silly reminder that there's always deeper meaning to be found in the most surprising of places.
Ahead, see which beloved works continue to top the ALA's list of the most frequently banned books. Read them. Love them. And yes, challenge them — but not for the reasons on this list. Question them because that's what good literature should make you do.