by Laura McPherson

Book bans have been a problem in the U.S. since the 1600s but if you’ve noticed an uptick in challenged books, it’s not just you; according to the American Library Association, book bans are on the rise.* Challenged books for the K-12 set get the lion’s share of media attention, but what about books for emerging-to-Millennial adults? The list below collects books that too accurately reflect the reality censors want to suppress (and the skills needed to survive it) to remain unchallenged on public shelves for long.**

• Are You There God? No, of Course You Aren’t
• Bite My Entire A–, A Guide to Burning Bridges Concisely
• Climate Emergency! How to Blow Up a Pipeline and Other Methods of Survival
• Deism, Monotheism, Polytheism, Antitheism: Sametheism
• Eat, Sleep, Drive: Realistic Day Trips with the Money and Energy You Actually Have
• Female in a Deep Red State: Collected Horror Shorts
• Goodnight, Morals: Side Gigs for the Ethically Flexible
• Happiness in Slavery: Finding Moments of Joy in the Discography of Nine Inch Nails
• iPhone Sees Me as An Angry Potato (And Now You Can, Too), The Collected Unflattering Selfies of the B-List
• Just Resist It. Slowdowns, Boycotts, and Other Methods of Forcing Intersectionality on Structures of Power
• K.
• Love, Lust, and Lost Passwords: Gamifying the Tinder Experience
• Moby Dick, but the Whale Is a Manic Pixie Girl
• Nonbinding Agreements, A Guide to Swinging the Hypercapitalist Hellscape in Your Favor
• “Only the Rich Can Afford Taste”: Reinterpreting Oscar Wilde as the Original KonMari
• Plathitudes: The Collected Bon Mots of Sylvia Plath
• Queer in Georgia (Not Atlanta): Microfictions & Flash Essays in Purple
• Rent Is Due on the First and Other Things Your Parents Just Assumed You’d Figure Out
• Suicide, Accident, Disappeared: A Beginner’s Guide to Doublespeak
• That’s a Stretch for Us, A Poverty Phrasebook
• Upstreaming: How to Sell Courses about Selling Courses for Passive Income (by the Author of Bestseller It’s Selling Courses All the Way Down)
• Vacuums, Why Do They Cost So Much? Investigative Essays
• What to Expect When You’re Expecting Six Weeks After You Were Raped in Houston
• Xeriscapes for Xennials
• Your Teeth Hurt, and That’s Probably Not Good: Careful Grocery Shopping as a Substitute for Qualified Dental Care
• Zombified: Combating Intellectual Carpal Tunnel in Repetitive Office Work When You Know the Apocalypse is Coming

*New English Canaan by Thomas Morton was effectively banned as it was being printed in 1637 and is widely viewed as the first book banned in the United States.
**If they existed—which they should.


Laura McPherson (she/they) is based in Chicago. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Night Picnic Journal, Cosmic Horror Monthly, The Deadlands, Corvus Review, and others. Her hybrid chapbook, inVISIBLE, is out with Alien Buddha Press. Find her online at and on Twitter @silversatire.

Photo by Tom Hermans on Unsplash