Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings -- Heinrich Heine (1821)

I hadn't paid much attention to the growing "banned books" problem in American schools and libraries, but I saw an ad on a Chicago train yesterday and dug in a bit.

Here are some of the books that have been "challenged" in 2007 and earlier years:

To Kill A Mockingbird -- Harper Lee
Lolita -- Vladimir Nabokov
1984 -- George Orwell
Cather in the Rye -- J.D. Salinger
Grapes of Wrath -- John Steinbeck
Catch-22 -- Joseph Heller
Go Tell it on the Mountain -- James Baldwin
Harry Potter series -- J.K. Rowling

Here is the roster of most challenged books for 2006. And here the top 100 novels of the 20th century banned or challenged.

All the Harry Potter novels are targeted by fundamentalist Christian groups.  I don't believe in book banning, but I do wish my friends would read a bit less Rowling and a bit more of anything else. I haven't seen any of Andrew Sullivan's books on the list.  But neither did I see James Dobson's.

I had no idea that "book challenging" and "book banning" were so pervasive in this country. 

Not much else to say really -- but the struggle between reason and dogma requires us to keep our eyes and minds open.

Welcome back Andrew.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.