Top 10 Books That Have Been Banned
VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton
Script Written by Sean Harris.
You just can't put these books down... But at one stage you weren't allowed to even pick them up! Join http://www.WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Books that Have Been Banned! For this list, we've looked at books that have been banned from sale in some capacity.
Special thanks to our users Daniel Landers, Neva Walker, James Moberly, Brandi Lynn, ClaireX, Nijazbiz, ninou78, ViolaCello, PatrickCervantez and Grace Macandili Boyd for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
Script Written by Sean Harris.
Top 10 Books That Have Been Banned
You just can't put these books down... But at one stage you weren't allowed to even pick them up! Join http://www.WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Books that Have Been Banned!
For this list, we've looked at books that have been banned from sale in some capacity. It doesn't matter where the book was banned, why it was, or how long for... If it was ever taken off the shelves, then it could feature on today's reading list.
#10: "Lord of the Flies" (1954)
Regularly described as one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century, "Lord of the Flies" is also one of the most brutal depictions of human character ever written! A regularly challenged book and ranked at #68 on the American Library Association's list of frequently banned classics, it details the barbaric demise of a once civilised group of boys. A tale that takes all of the worst aspects of human nature and watches them war with one another, it's an uncomfortably 'un-put-down-able' read!
#9: "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" (1884)
The oldest book to feature today, and regularly listed as one of the 'Great American Novels', "Huckleberry Finn" has forever been subject to sanctions. The direct sequel to Twain's "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer", it comes most under fire for its language, and specifically for frequent racial slurs. Depicting a Southern Antebellum society the likes of which no longer existed at the time of publishing, its vocabulary was a little out-dated, even in the late 1800s... Nowadays, some "Huck Finn" terms are considered hugely offensive, and subsequently censorable.
#8: "Nineteen Eighty-Four" (1949)
An author banned on more than one occasion, George Orwell struggled to get "Animal Farm" published because of its thinly veiled criticism of the USSR... But we've selected "Nineteen Eighty-Four" as Orwell's best banned book - if only for the irony! The novel's almost-hero, Winston Smith, lives in a society ravaged by war and revolution, under constant surveillance. As he contends with the ultra-restrictive Big Brother, Smith's plight is appropriately paralleled by various governments (including the Soviet Union themselves) banning the book entirely.
#7: The "Harry Potter" series (1997-2007)
J. K. Rowling
It's the best-selling book series in history, it's been translated into seventy-three languages... But that doesn't mean that Harry Potter is beyond the ban! The tales of the 'boy who lived' have also picked up a fair amount of criticism, particularly relating to the increasingly dark nature of the latter instalments. Various religious groups have challenged the books, claiming they promote ideas of witchcraft, the occult and Wicca. According to the ALA, they're the most challenged books of the twenty-first century!
#6: "American Psycho" (1991)
Bret Easton Ellis
It's a novel deemed 'harmful to minors' in Germany, only available to buy or rent if you're over eighteen in Australia, and generally sold shrink-wrapped in New Zealand. In short, "American Psycho" caused, and causes, quite a stir! Famous for its unflinching portrayal of extreme violence, Bret Easton Ellis actually received death threats upon its initial publication! A story since adapted to the big screen with critical acclaim, it's a really tough read and a nightmare tonic for almost anybody!
#5: "The Satanic Verses" (1988)
One of the most controversial novels ever written, Salman Rushdie's "The Satanic Verses" brought about an actual assassination, such was the level of offence that it caused! Rushdie was accused of misusing his 'freedom of speech', of mocking Islam, and of referring to the prophet Muhammad in a derogatory manner... Subsequently, in 1989, the Iranian government issued a fatwa calling on all Muslims to execute anybody involved in the book's publication... Rushdie himself survived several assassination plots, but in 1991 the novel's Japanese translator, Hitoshi Igarashi, was stabbed to death!
#4: "Mein Kampf" (1925-26)
The autobiographical manifesto of probably the most infamous man ever to have lived, Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf" is one of the most heavily vetted texts on the planet. Though translations are available in most countries, they can prove difficult to obtain at times... In Austria the printing and/or owning of "Mein Kampf" is prohibited, while in Germany the book's copyright is owned by the state of Bavaria, which tries to prevent any reprinting. However, in 2016 that copyright is scheduled to expire, meaning that more copies could become available...
#3: "Lolita" (1955)
Our next novel took its author five years to write, and a further two years to publish! Vladimir Nabakov finally settled for a French publication house of questionable reputation, releasing "Lolita" in 1955... Following outraged reviews on the book's erotic themes and the central adult-child relationship, the British government swiftly banned the import of "Lolita", and France soon followed suit. It eventually appeared in America in 1958, and reappeared in Britain in '59... Arguably as controversial now as it was then, "Lolita" is definitely not a 'light read'!
#2: "Brave New World" (1932)
An ironic title if ever we've read one, Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World" is actually considerably bleaker than billed...! It's so bleak, in fact, the novel's dystopian drive has led to it being challenged the world over! In 1932, it was banned in Ireland for anti-religious language; Between '32 and '37 - banned in Australia; in India in '67, Huxley was labelled a 'pornographer'; and in 1980 it was removed from classrooms in Missouri, USA. Continuing a by-now-established trend, however, it's also consistently ranked as one of the greatest novels ever written!
Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.
"A Clockwork Orange" (1962)
"Fahrenheit 451" (1953)
"The Grapes of Wrath" (1939)
"Heather Has Two Mommies" (1989)
"The Anarchist Cookbook" (1971)
#1: "The Catcher in the Rye" (1951)
J. D. Salinger
Holden Caulfield has long since established a legendary status within literature, as the epitome of teenage angst... But Caulfield's language, family values, moral codes, and rebellious habits have landed J. D. Salinger and "The Catcher in the Rye" in very hot water, very frequently! An incessantly challenged book, teachers have actually been fired for assigning it... And murderers have actually claimed inspiration after reading it! In 1981, it achieved a curious balance as the most censored and second-most taught book in US public schools... And today it's our undisputed 'best of the banned'!
Do you agree with our list? What do you think is the best banned book? For more uncensored top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.