There are many controversial books that have fueled the flames of controversy ever since they were published. If an author writes a book that contains excessive use of expletive language, racism, violence, graphic sexual content, and extreme political views then they are always going to be courting trouble. If an author writes a book that contains excessive use of expletive language, racism, violence, graphic sexual content, and extreme political views then they are always going to be courting trouble. Some books attract a lot of controversy and even calls for banning the book from members of the public or those in religious or political organizations.
Here is a list of 10 most controversial books to have ever been released. These are certainly some of the books that have been considered some of the most controversial books ever published.
- 10. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
- 9. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
- 8. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
- 7. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
- 6. The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
- 5. The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
- 4. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
- 3. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
- 2. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
- 1. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
10. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Brave New World is a most popular novel by Aldous Huxley and published in 1932. It was frequently challenged with banning attempts, and is still considered controversial. In this novel, you as the reader will be led into a version of future that is dominated by technology and science. This book focuses on blatant sexuality, suicide and use of drugs. A group of parents attempted to get the book banned because they felt there was an overemphasis on negativity.
9. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell which came out in 1947. It was written by him when he was on his death bead. The novel is influenced heavily by the author’s political views. Themes in the book include the United States and the Soviet Union, and surrounds topics such as totalitarianism, torture, mind control, invasion of privacy, organised religion, censorship, sex and a whole lot more! This book conveys the message of a bad state of affairs in the future where there would be no privacy, free will or truth. It was a controversial book right from publication and remains so today.
Many people claim that the work is unnatural and intense because it was written by a man choked with a subconscious death-wish. Many American reviewers also assumed that the book represented a repudiation of his democratic socialism.
8. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
The Chocolate War was written for teenagers and young adults but once parents realised what the pages of the book contained there were protests to have it banned. Released in 1974 the novel includes violence, over 200 swear words and a masturbation scene. It is still banned in libraries and shops around the world to this day. And you won’t find it in schools any more either!
7. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
This novel was topping the New York Times best-seller list almost immediately upon release in 1951. Described by many as one of the greatest novels ever written. Also was included in Time Magazine’s list of the 100 best English-language novels The Catcher in the Rye is still not short of its controversy and critics. Originally intended for an adult readership, many teenagers enjoyed the novel (and still do) as the rebellious central character is Holden Caulfield. Tackling themes such as confusion, angst, sexuality, alienation, and rebellion many teens related to Caulfield’s issues.
The book gained several controversies for several reasons, such as the portrayal of sexuality and teenage angst, the use of profanity, the anti-white sentiment, and the excessive violence. Holden Caulfield, the protagonist, became an icon for defiance and rebellion.
6. The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling is wildly popular and seen generally as adventurous and harmless tales for children. The book came out in 2001 is actually a series of books for children. But this series has caused controversies over the past few years, from many different groups of people who look at them as stories that inspire children to become involved in witchcraft and the occult.
These novels follow the life of a young wizard, whose parents were killed by the evil Lord Voldermort. The young boy receives an invitation to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft on his eleventh birthday and each book represents a year of his life at the school. These books have their fair share of opponents (not to mention hoards of fans). Some parents and religious groups feel that these books can take children deep into the unwanted land of fantasy. The book was also criticized for not keeping true to geographical, historical and architectural facts.
5. The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
The Anarchist Cookbook, first published in 1971, is a book that contains instructions for the manufacture of explosives, rudimentary telecommunications phreaking devices, and other items. It was written by William Powell to protest United States involvement in the Vietnam War. It encompasses topics like how to have a demonstration, the process of sabotage, affinity groups and other activities of violence.
This book did not go down well with Government and anarchist groups. The formulas for making bombs were condemned and were considered dangerous and incorrect. Powell later defended his novel as an immature and adolescent reaction of his anger at being made part of the Vietnam war against his wishes.
4. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
American Psycho is a satirical novel by Bret Easton Ellis. It was published in 1991 highlighting the farce nature of the yuppies in America. The story is told in the first person by Patrick Bateman, a serial killer and Manhattan businessman. In recent times the novel has been labelled as “one of the key novels of the last century,”. But when it came out it garnered huge controversy due to its extreme levels of graphic violence and sexual torture. The author received hate mail and death threats. It still cannot be purchased by under 18′s in some countries.
3. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
A recent book that surrounded by controversy since its publication is The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. The book gives a fictional account of characters revealing a hidden truth concealed by the Catholic Church for centuries, including the divinity of Christ, his celibacy, and the possibility of a genetic heritage. Most of the complaints against the book are due to the speculation and misrepresentation of the history of Roman Catholic Church and the basic questioning of the tenets of Christianity. The book was also criticized for inaccurate description of history, geography, European art, and architecture.
2. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
“I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings” is the first of the five autobiographical works by Maya Angelou and was published in 1970. The author, through this book, gives an account of her youth filled with trauma, tragedy, frustration, disappointment and eventually independence. Angelou describes the racism she and her grandmother encountered in the town of Stamps and other places, in spite of her grandmother having more money than the whites.
There are passages in the books that describe how she was raped when she was just eight years old by her mother’s boyfriend. Her grandmother’s influence was what helped her overcome the hardships in her life. The graphic nature of the book, depicting details of abuse and rape was considered controversial by many. However, the book was widely hailed and even taught in schools. This book was also nominated for the National Book Award.
1. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Lolita by Nabokov which came out in 1955 was at the hub of much controversy. It focused on forbidden sexuality. Originally written in English. But, was later translated by its Russian-native author into Russian. The novel is notable for its controversial subject; The protagonist and unreliable narrator, middle-aged literature professor and hebephile Humbert Humbert, is obsessed with the 12-year-old Dolores Haze. With whom he becomes sexually involved after he becomes her stepfather. His private nickname for Dolores is Lolita. It was banned in several countries but hugely popular in USA.