For those who enjoy reading, they may go to a bookstore or library searching for the latest or the most interesting to read. Although they may find many titles, there could be more if certain books weren’t banned from the United States for the reasons ranging from sexual implications to controversial ideas.
Brave New World
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley depicts a “utopian” future where humans are genetically bred and chemical enhanced to serve a higher order. This piece was banned from Ireland because of the controversial ideas of child birth. Thus, it has intrigued as well as terrified most of its readers.
Tropic of Cancer
Tropic of Cancer is a sort of biography of Henry Miller as he struggles to make a name for himself as a writer in Paris. It was first published in Paris in 1934, but was banned from the U.S. because it was found obscene. He includes prostitutes in his experiences, despite his lack of funds. During the time, such candid nudity was frowned upon and found immoral.
Fanny Hill: Memoirs of a woman of pleasure by John Cleland was published in 1749 and banned right away. The ban was eventually lifted in1963. The story is about a teenage girl named Fanny Hill who becomes a prostitute to make a living. Clever innuendoes and catchy wording were used to describe the sexual details. Not only was it considered as perversion, but also the idea of a woman using her sexuality, back in the eighteenth century society, to gain financially profit and pleasure.
Margaret Sanger started the Birth Control movement in America by publishing a pamphlet known as Family Limitation that explained how to prevent pregnancy. While she worked as a nurse in the New York slums, Sanger saw many poor women suffering from pregnancy or self-induced abortion. So she established the first family-planning and birth control clinic in Brooklyn in 1916. The pamphlet was banned because it was forbidden by the Comstock law to distribute birth control information.
A tale of alien abduction is nothing new to us; we see it in movies and books. That’s what Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five is about. Billy Pilgrim is abducted by aliens from a planet called Tralfamadore. We follow him through his lifetime as he experiences being a prisoner of war. The story is actually a creative nonfiction piece on Vonnedgut’s life during World War II and how he witnessed the firebombing of Dresden. The book seems to challenge the U.S.’s real intention to wage a war, thus leading it to be banned, in the assumption that the children in the country should be protected from such themes presented in the book.
E for Ecstasy
E for Ecstasy is a non-fiction story following Nicholas Saunders’s personal experience with MDMA (ecstasy). He decided to investigate and write upon the drug. Presented is the history of the drug, the different reasons people use it (including positive reasons), side effects and an overview of how ecstasy is acceptable in various societies. The book was, and is still banned by the Australian government because of the positive portrayals of the drug.
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis is considered as a “hugely important book about the nature of the American society”. Patrick Bateman lives in a world full of rich young people that seems unreal to him. The only thing that seems real to him are the horrific acts he commits against women. The book was banned because of its violence and degradation of the female role. It was deemed as harmful to minors and restricted to those above 18.
The Satanic Verses
The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie is deemed as one of the most controversial novels ever written. It’s a fictional-based realization of the tragedies that occur due to terrorism. The story begins with a terrorist bombing a jet while being bound for London, where two Indian personages of opposing sensibilities fall to earth, transformed into living symbols of what is angelic and evil. It was banned because it was found blasphemous.
North Korea Confidential
North Korea is known as one of the most troubled countries around the world. There are 24 million people under the control of a violent dictatorship that clashes with the liberal South. In North Korea Confidential written by Daniel Tudor as well as James Pearson, they probe into the actual life of the common people in North Korea with horrific stories of life under the dictatorship.
If you would like to learn more about what book titles are banned and for what reasons, then read Banned Books: Challenging Our Freedom to Read Paperback by Robert P. Doyle. This book details the incidents of book bannings all the way from 387 B.C. to the current new titles. Inside you will find contents that challenge censorship and the interpretation of the First Amendment, the freedom of expression and the freedom to read.
These books were banned after they were written, but many of them have their ban lifted. It is suggested for avid readers who have access to theses reading materials to check out these books by themselves and see why they were banned at the very begin.