In a dystopian society ruled by the religious right, a woman is kept as a "handmaid" by a family in the ruling class in the hopes that she'll provide them with a child.
The Handmaid's Tale was considered too "explicit" and anti-religious to be read in a Texas high school.
3The Color Purple -- Alice Walker, 1982
The Color Purple follows the lives of several African-American women in the 1930s South. Racism and sexism are key themes, and the novel's violent scenes have made it a target for censors -- even though the book won the Pulitzer Prize in 1983.
4The Lovely Bones -- Alice Sebold, 2002
After a teenage girl is raped and murdered, she watches from her own personal "heaven" as her friends, family and community come to terms with the tragedy.
Parents at high schools in Connecticut and Massachusetts asked for the book's removal from libraries and reading lists due to its "frightening material."
6Our Bodies, Ourselves -- Boston Women’s Health Book Collective, 1971
Written by women for women and intended to provide the basis for a women's health course, the book covers health and sexuality topics like gender identity, birth control, sexual pleasure, menopause and childbirth. Pretty racy stuff in the early '70s.
The book was challenged in West Virginia in 1977 “because someone thought it was pornographic, encouraged homosexuality and was filthy."
7Their Eyes Were Watching God -- Zora Neale Hurston, 1937
In Neale Hurston's novel, an African-American woman tells her tumultuous life story to a close friend. The book has been challenged due to "sexual explicitness."
8The Awakening -- Kate Chopin, 1899
The Awakening's main character is searching for a role outside of that prescribed by society -- a wife and mother. The novel was censored for its "immoral" storyline and sexual content, and called "poison" in one of many critical newspaper reviews.
9Tropic Of Cancer -- Henry Miller, 1934
First published in France in 1934, Tropic Of Cancer -- which follows a young struggling writer's sexual encounters -- wasn't distributed in the U.S. until 1961. Even then, more than 60 booksellers in 21 different states faced obscenity lawsuits for selling the novel. When the Supreme Court ruled in 1966 that the book was not obscene, Pennsylvania state Supreme Court justice Michael Musmanno dissented, writing: "Cancer is not a book. It is a cesspool, an open sewer, a pit of putrefaction, a slimy gathering of all that is rotten in the debris of human depravity."
Angelou's biography and coming-of-age story features many of the trials of her young life including her rape as a child. Parents and schools have argued that the book contains too much profanity and encourages "deviant behavior."