Between The Lines And Beyond Bans: 19 Banned Books

From classic masterpieces to contemporary bestsellers, these books have stirred controversy, challenged norms, and found themselves on the wrong side of censorship. Behold, the clandestine world of censored and banned books. In a world where ideas are meant to be shared, these stories stand as testaments to the enduring power of literature and the complexities of freedom of expression.

Beware: some of these books might elicit strong emotions and might still be banned in some countries. 

1. Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence

banned books Lady Chatterleys Lover jpegThis 1928 literary classic faced a ban in the United States, Canada, Australia, India and Japan for its explicit sexual content and frequent use of profanity. The ban, motivated by societal norms of the time, was eventually lifted in 1959 after a landmark obscenity trial.

2. Animal Farm by George Orwell

Banned books: Animal farm

Published in 1945, Orwell’s allegorical novella was immediately banned in the Soviet Union for its satirical portrayal of communism and totalitarian regimes. The authorities considered it a threat, the book being unbanned only in the late 1980s when communism fell. It is still banned in countries like Cuba and China.

3. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

One hundred years of solitude

Governments of the world tried their hands at banning this masterpiece due to its political themes, use of disturbing scenes, often sexual, incest, or occult, to name just a few. and magical realism. The novel’s portrayal of power structures and societal challenges was considered a threat by those governments, in some cases even some high schools deciding to remove the book from its curriculum.

4. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie

The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie jpeg

This 1988 novel ignited a firestorm of controversy in the Muslim world due to perceived blasphemy against Islam. Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa against Salman Rushdie, resulting in a ban on the book in multiple countries.

5. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To kill a mockingbird

A tough read, Harper Lee’s timeless exploration of rape and racial injustice faced bans in the United States for its use of racial slurs and challenging themes. Some considered its content inappropriate for educational settings.

6. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Banned books: Brave new world

Ireland banned Huxley’s dystopian novel for its drug use, suicide, anti-family themes, you name it. The authorities were concerned about the impact of the book on our society and they still are, this 1932 book being still banned in some countries or local schools.

7. 1984 by George Orwell

1984

Another Orwell goodie, this time we’re talking about the book β€œ1984” a book that gained a lot of traction during the pandemic as well. What started as a book that was immediately banned due to its sexually explicit content and apparently pro-communist stance, soon became a beacon for freedom of speech.

8. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Catcher in the Rye

Banned in schools across the United States, Salinger’s novel was often censored for vulgar language, sexual scenes, occult or excessive violence.

9. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Persepolis

Temporarily banned in Chicago public schools and all across Lebanon, Persepolis faced objections due to concerns about its depiction of torture. If you’re enjoying this list make sure to also check out our banned movies list for even more drama.

10. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

Banned books: American Psycho

Named the 53rd most banned and challenged book from 1990–1999 by the American Library Association, this book went into disgrace for its graphic violence and explicit content. The novel’s depiction of brutality and its impact on readers led to its restriction in certain regions.

11. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Lolita

A novel that ended up being banned in France for its controversial and explicit themes of pedophilia. The novel’s narrative, exploring a relationship between an adult man and a young girl, sparked moral and legal concerns.

12. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

The Grapes of Wrath

Banned in several U.S. cities due to its obscenity and objectionable language, the novel’s portrays the struggles of a family forced to leave the home during the Great Depression. It apparently angered some people to such an extent that they even burned the book.

13. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

The Harry Potter series

Surprisingly enough, the entire series faced opposition from some conservative religious groups who claimed the books promoted witchcraft and the occult. The series has been banned in several countries and schools.

14. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

Banned in Savannah, GA, USA for a short while , Capote’s true crime novel faced opposition for its graphic depictions of violence and murder. The ban was later overturned, but the controversy persisted.

15. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Too many racial slurs and criticism of societal norms, especially regarding racism, along with a too big dose of slang proved to be the lethal combination for some. Twain’s classic has faced repeated challenges in schools and libraries.

16. The Color Purple by Alice Walker

The Color Purple

Next up we have a book banned for religious purposes, its mention of homosexuality, Banned in certain U.S. schools for its explicit content, including depictions of violence of all kinds, abuse and many others. Walker’s novel has faced challenges for its portrayal of challenging themes.

17. Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller

Tropic of Cancer

Banned in the U.S. for its explicit content and apparent obscenity. Miller’s novel challenged societal norms of the time and faced legal battles for its publication, staying banned for 30 years.

18. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Canterbury Tales

Chaucer’s collection of stories has faced bans and censorship over the centuries for its obscene content and direct take on societal norms, particularly in relation to religion.

19. The Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Lord of the Rings

Just like the Harry Potter series, this one too faced opposition in some countries due to claims of promoting paganism and concerns about its potential influence on readers.

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