This week is Banned Book Week, where we celebrate our freedom to read whatever we want. Though books still get banned and censored by the government, I think now is the time to look at some of the best and worst books that have been banned or censored.
- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was banned in the province of Hunan, China, beginning in 1931 for its portrayal of anthropomorphized animals acting on the same level of complexity as human beings
- American Psycho has a sale and purchase restriction in the Australian State of Queensland. Sale is restricted to persons 18 years old or older in the other Australian states
- Animal Farm banned in the former USSR and the author’s preface suppressed in nearly all of its editions during 1940 – 45
- Brave New World was banned in Ireland in 1932 due to alleged references of sexual promiscuity
- The Da Vinci Code was banned in Lebanon after Catholic leaders deemed it offensive to Christianity
- The Diary of a Young Girl was also banned in Lebanon for “portraying Jews, Israel or Zionism favourably”
- The Grapes of Wrath temporarily banned in many places in the US because it made the residents of this region look bad.
- Lady Chatterley’s Lover banned in the United States and the United Kingdom for violation of obscenity laws
- Nineteen Eighty-Four was banned by the Soviet Union in 1950, as Stalin understood that it was a satire based on his leadership, and it was nearly banned by U.S.A and U.K in the early 1960s during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
- Ulysses was banned in U.K during the 1930s and in Australia during the 1930s to the 1940s and challenged and temporarily banned in the U.S.A for its sexual content
- Uncle Tom’s Cabin was banned in the Southern United States during the Civil War due to its anti-slavery content.
Nowadays books are still getting challenged and banned. One book that is currently under fire is Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak which tells the story of a teenage girl who deals with depression after become a victim of rape. The author has said the following about censorship;
But censoring books that deal with difficult, adolescent issues does not protect anybody. Quite the opposite. It leaves kids in the darkness and makes them vulnerable. Censorship is the child of fear and the father of ignorance. Our children cannot afford to have the truth of the world withheld from them.
Censorship and book banning seems to fling books into popularity more than some books deserve. For example Lady Chatterley’s Lover; if this book was never banned it would of just faded away into oblivion. Also there are many great books that have come under fire that really are spectacular books.
Also check out IO9’s 10 great science fiction novels that have been banned.