Books are art, in the best way possible. However, some writers showed too much freedom while writing their masterpieces, and now they have to pay the price. Some stories are way too controversial, and when they became famous, the government had to ban them! Yet, just because they're banned, it doesn't mean they're wrong. On the contrary, these ten books will absolutely keep you interested, and you'll enjoy them!
10. "The Catcher in the Rye" by J. D. Salinger
Banned books are either everyone's type, and they're censored because they're controversial, or they're basically the most hated work of literature ever. "The Catcher in the Rye" receives way more hate than it deserves, but we understand why this novel may not be your cup of tea. This main character is very annoying at times, but he'll really teach you some lessons!
Therefore, the lessons you'll find in this book will be helpful for your future. Nonetheless, this English classic has been strictly banned time after time, especially for its offensive language and sexual content. Occultism and "communist" vibe are just an addition to the massive problems regarding this book, which is actually an excellent and beneficial read.
9. "Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck
The Great Depression in the US brought many wholesome literary works, as this period is a recurring theme in literature. However, many books like that were challenged and prohibited, especially "Of Mice and Men." You'll enjoy this book, but it will basically seem like a guilty pleasure to you!
Some works from this list are mainly banned for language or political issues. However, even though "Of Mice and Men" is terrific, problems with its topics are accurate. It's rational to ban a book containing racism, violence, and sexist motives, and the "morbid and depressive themes" just worsened the situation for this one.
8. "The Canterbury Tales" by Geoffrey Chaucer
Short stories can sometimes be more influential than massive novels, and "The Canterbury Tales" are the best example of that. This short story collection from the 14th-century kingdom of England is such a topic that divides the society – people either adore it or hate it religiously! Whoops, the religious theme is actually the main issue here!
Moreover, the pilgrims and the religious topics in these stories made the church uncomfortable, so it wasn't a wonder that the government was pressured to ban this one. Nevertheless, no one can deny the stories' witty style and the way Geoffrey Chaucer pokes fun at the hypocrisy of society. Some books were made to wake you up from the ideal life you think you're living!
7. “The Decameron” by Giovanni Boccaccio
It might be the best work ever mentioned on this list, but it's still prohibited ever since the 16th century. "The Decameron" has been condemned by the Catholic Church, and the taboos and morality issues in this novel have been falsely interpreted by society. Still, it's Boccaccio's magnum opus, and anyone who disagrees with its colossal impact is definitely wrong.
After all, can't we all agree that this masterpiece is fascinating, to say the least? It's a quick read and the one that flows so naturally that you'll finish it in a day or two. The stories here are a fantastic insight into the hard times that kept the book's characters together. Some moments are so authentic that they will stay in your mind forever once you finish reading "The Decameron!"
6. “Lolita” by Vladimir Nabokov
"Lolita" set some records that not many books in the past could. These records aren't necessarily something to be proud of since this novel is prohibited in many countries, including Argentina, France, England, and New Zealand! Moreover, it was even banned in the US in the 20th century. Still, later on, it turned out to be the ultimate bestseller!
Is the best-selling title after prohibition the proof that people love forbidden fruit? Or do they love it because Nabokov's main character likes a girl that he shouldn't? People's sexuality has always been a taboo and a debate that would last a lifetime, so its obscure nature caused "Lolita" to be prohibited and generally viewed as unfavorable.
5. "Animal Farm" by George Orwell
Imagine a farm of animals agreeing on the fact that "some of them are more equal than others." Yes, this line already says a lot about the 21st century's society, which is a sad story, and a hard pill to swallow. Since "Animal Farm" and George Orwell went hard and said all the truth that could be said, we're not surprised that this piece of art doesn't have freedom.
Are pigs still ruling the world while horses work hard without getting any special benefits? It's up to you to interpret this novel the way you wish, but it's clear how hard socialists and communists were against it, just to save their position. Don't let yourself be brainwashed, and don't let others take advantage of you – that's the most significant point here!
4. "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain
This one might've been the favorite novel of your childhood that you made memories with, but the reality is quite the opposite. This book is viewed as racist and especially irreligious since religion is usually the main reason some novels become strictly prohibited. The "Adventures" is one of the few novels that really stand out as controversial even in the US!
Actually, "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" is a rare moment for literature banned immediately after its release. However, it's probably the controversial truth that the book's problematic nature helped it become the bestseller and be the center of attention. Once again, people love forbidden things!
3. "1984" by George Orwell
Is George Orwell the king of controversy since he's the only writer with two novels on this list? Or is he only telling the truth way too direct, so society can't swallow that pill? It's up to you to determine if it's true by reading both "Animal Farm" and "1984," probably in that order since "Animal Farm" is easier to understand… And to take!
Moreover, it's often highlighted how this Orwell's magnum opus contains too much explicit content. However, it's clear that the book is censored for its social and political views. USSR banned all the copies of "1984" because of its anti-communism. Yet, the US did the same for the book's "pro-communist" attitude, so when will they decide what the reason is? The truth is – this book is relevant, and it will stay like that!
2. "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee
As you could already notice from this list, racism and religion are the main reasons books get banned and challenged. For "To Kill a Mockingbird," the main issue is racism. Still, the criticism regarding this masterpiece feels pretty contradictory since it's one of the first worldwide famous novels to point out how terrible racism is!
Unfortunately, "To Kill a Mockingbird" is still an issue even in the US, and the schools can't discuss this work freely in some states. Should we ignore the truth and skip this book because of its "uncomfortable" attitude and language? That's not the way things work, so we hope this legendary award-winning novel will be appreciated in the future.
1. "Harry Potter" Series by JK Rowling
And there it is, the most beloved book series worldwide and the modern fairytale that raised so many new generations, despite its epic size. Is it controversial? Yes, it couldn't be more problematic, even though you probably love it religiously. It's been accused of spreading witchcraft among children and promoting the wrong values from the church's perspective!
To make the situation even worse, JK Rowling ruined her career in recent years by her allegedly "transphobic" comments. Hence, the backlash influenced the reputation of "Harry Potter," of course. However, it's still very ignorant to ban a book that's literally for kids, and the magic has nothing to do with real witchcraft. Have they ever heard about fantasy novels? That's how they work!
After all, you don't have to give up on the books that the government banned. You can quite easily find a way to read them, as you actually should since books like these are a part of the basic knowledge we all should have. You'll indeed enjoy many of these novels, even though they might seem like forbidden fruit!
Which banned literary works are your favorites? Do you think they deserve to be officially censored? Let us know in the comments section!
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