The only thing more fun than reading an intriguing novel is knowing that, in some places or times at least, you’re doing something just a little wrong. A hint of danger. A literary forbidden fruit. The ultimate sin in the eyes of censorship - banned books!
For a number of different reasons throughout history (and even currently!) books have been deemed so controversial as to be banned (even if the reasons don’t really hold up.) Check out this list of naughty reads and let us know what you think about book banning!
BRAVE NEW WORLD - Aldous Huxley
Oh, the horrors of speaking out in a cautionary tale against the dangers of capitalistic exploitation! This novel earned the ire of censors for its rebellious remarks, depiction of recreational sex and strong language.
ANIMAL FARM - George Orwell
Not really a shock that a thinly veiled criticism of communism and the brutal nature of its leaders would be banned in the USSR, what really is a bit unnerving is the fact that this book is still banned in certain totalitarian countries today, including Cuba and North Korea. It is also banned in Kenya, as talking pigs have been deemed offensive to Muslim values there.
THE CATCHER IN THE RYE - J.D. Salinger
A high school reading list staple, this novel is also a repeat player in the world of banned books, ironically enough. Once feared to spread communist propaganda and encourage murder or suicide, American censors just could not let this one fly.
THE GRAPES OF WRATH - John Steinbeck
Ah, book burning. When this critique of the harsh working conditions of migrant workers and the Depression-era poor was first published, local officials took such offense to its truth that they even encouraged repeat photo ops of burning the offensive tome. Because we all know there is no better way to stifle a book than to repeatedly buy multiple copies to set ablaze.
AMERICAN PSYCHO - Brett Easton Ellis
While, yes, a satirical story, that does nothing to lessen squeamish censors’ objections to page after page of horrific violence and unspeakable acts. This book has been widely banned or, when not in full-effect, has been sold in age-restricted shrink-wrap.
Now, go be a little rebellious! 👊👊