I have done some…extensive research into what the literary web-o-verse considers to be some the most controversial books published of all time, at least for our generation.
Below is a list I have compiled of what I consider to be the most controversial of controversial books of all time.
I am however choosing to ignore controversial religious texts such as the bible or Qur’an. Also a lot of the “most controversial” books and “banned” books (coming soon) overlap to some degree.
And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
Personally I think this book is amazing and a real milestone in attempting to educate younger generations so that when they become adults LGBT+ relationships are already “normal” in their eyes. For society however And Tango Makes Three, at the time of its publication, was a pretty controversial book.
The reason? It depicts the real life story of Two male penguins who, after coupling up of their own great gay freewill, were given an egg to raise together. How is that just not the most beautiful relationship ever?!
According to the American Library Association And Tango Makes Three was the most challenged book of 2006 to 2010. Due to the conservative minds of people who have a problem with the truth.
The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
Even say the word communist and people get affronted so it’s no wonder that The Communist Manifesto was considered highly controversial when published and still is considered controversial today.
Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (a.k.a. Fanny Hill) by John Cleland
This book is an erotic novel and is considered the first English prose pornography published, racy i know! Cleland actually wrote this novel while in prison so it’s no wonder he produced a work like this.
Cleland was actually arrested and tried when the first volume hit the public. He was charged with “corrupting the king’s subjects”. Craziness!
Crazier still, during the 19th century the books (pirated versions too) were only sold in the underground black markets around the world.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
The main reason people have issues with this book? The ‘N’ word. You all know the one i’m talking about. If you don’t, goggle it.
Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
This book was the victim of many attempts at censorship due to much of the content. American soldiers swearing, sex and most controversially, the first acknowledgment that homosexual men were among the victims of the Nazi Holocaust.
Yay for Vonnegut for the acknowledgment of homosexuality! Even if it was punctuated with the slur ‘fairy’.
The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
Does this even need an explanation? I mean, it’s all there in the title.
While this was a book that was written in response and protest to American involvement in the Vietnam War, and i am all for those kind of protests, the ‘cookbook’ contains instructions for explosives, hacking and cooking certain drugs to name a few. While Powell may have written it in protest while most likely high himself, the book has been an instruction manual for those who wish to cause harm. Maybe not such a good idea…
The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
Reading up on this was interesting, and while i’d say this book has religious ‘links’ i’ve still decided to include it.
Most incredibly concerning this entire affair was that the authors’ death was actually ordered by Ayatollah Khomeini in reacting to it’s subsequent release.
While the book draws inspiration from the prophet Mohammed it is fiction and as such can and should only be read as such. Even the title itself is considered controversial due to it’s Islamic references to something that supposedly isn’t even found in the Qur’an. Though i do see how just the word ‘satanic’ in reference to someones religious beliefs may be taken with a little offence.
If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer by ghostwriter Pablo Fenjves and, purportedly, by O. J. Simpson
Published: 2006 CANCELLED publication, 2007 released.
This book was controversial even before its initial release.
Allegedly by O. J. Simpson in his detailed ‘hypothetical’ description of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.
If that isn’t a confession, i don’t know what is.
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Lolita is considered a classic accomplishment in literature and massively controversial all at the same time.
Why? The pedophillic nature of the book. Namely the unreliable narrator’s inappropriate sexual relationship with his twelve year old step daughter. Yeah, I know.
I don’t even think we need to go on in the sense of what else is controversial about this classic.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Why is this autobiography of an African-American writer and poet considered controversial? Personally i don’t find the content all that controversial but i suppose i can see where the censorship plights have arisen from and why so many other people find it highly controversial.
While the books content covers serious issues such as racism and rape, parents have campaigned to rid the library shelves of this book due to it’s depiction of lesbianism, premarital cohabitation, pornography, and violence. Come on people, who doesn’t need a little Lesbianism and violence in their lives?
It was third on the American Library Association list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990–2000 and sixth on the American Library Association 2000–2009 list. Clearly people have some issues with this inspirational book about overcoming such terrible hardships.