The most frequently challenged books of 2013 included Captain Underpants and Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye, but my collection of "challenged books" looks a little different. While the list compiled by the American Library Association may have resulted from parents not wanting their kids to read about sex, drugs, and underwear-as-outerwear, my list is unabashedly subjective. Yelling that we want things banned is apparently one of our rights as Americans. I'm just exercising it.
1. The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Don't fool yourself into thinking this is "basically like the Disney version," as I did when I was 13. By the time I reached the scene where sweet young Esmeralda was dangling from the scaffold over the body of her recently murdered mother, I started sobbing and ran to my mom in stark horror. Never again.
2. Fifty Shades of Grey
You'll note that I agree with the angry parents of America on this point. We should be ashamed of how much money is made off of truly unacceptable writing 'round these parts. Let's just say the overuse of ellipses alone makes me want to break out my red editing pen and stab it in the nearest eye. (But not The Bluest Eye.)
3. How to Rule the World
The world doesn't need more dictators! *saves one copy, reads religiously, rules world*
4. Innards and Other Variety Meats
It'll never be what's for dinner again.
5. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner
This "companion novel" to the Twilight series may have a beguiling title, but trust me on this one: try The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao or "The Short Happy Life of Frances Macomber" instead. You won't regret not knowing more about vampires.
6. Teach Your Wife to Be a Widow
She can't even handle holding a pile of paperwork on her lap while kneeling at your feet! What will she do when you've been killed in your sleep? There may have been market demand for this book at one point, but no more.
This is one of my all-time favorite novels, but the number of pretentious bros who reference it on OkCupid in order to sound learned and experimental has driven me to distraction. I'm so sorry, Bolaño, but your beautiful book must go.