14 Books You Will Never Believe Are Banned Abroad

Looks like the US is not the only one fond of red tape…

1. The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown

Where: Lebanon
When: 2004
Why: Brown’s story depicted Mary Magdelene as mothering a child with Jesus, considered by many to be an affront to Christianity.

2. American Psycho - Bret Easton Ellis

Where: Queensland, Australia
When: 1991
Why: Ellis’ novel was considered by many to bee too graphically violent and profane for public consumption. Even in the rest of Australia and New Zealand, only shrink-wrapped copies are available for people above 18.

3. The Call of the Wild - Jack London

Where: Italy, Yugoslavia
When: 1929
Why: Many objected to London’s dark portrayal of humanity and considered the novel too “radical.”

4. Fight Club - Chuck Palahniuk

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Where: China
When: 1999
Why: China thought that the novel’s description of how to make explosive devices would prove harmful.

5. The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck

Where: Ireland, Turkey
When: 1953, 1973 (respectively)
Why: Steinbeck’s glorification of the working poor was thought by many to threaten capitalism, and considered by some countries as “propaganda.

6. Frankenstein - Mary Shelley

Where: South Africa
When: 1955
Why: Deemed “obscene” by the South African Apartheid government when it was banned, the novel’s themes of rebellion were considered harmful to the regime.

7. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

Where: Ireland
When: 1932
Why: Huxley’s depiction of sexuality in the novel was thought too explicit for Irish audiences.

8. Animal Farm - George Orwell

Where: Cuba, North Korea
When: 1945
Why: Orwell’s none-too-subtle critique of Communism unsurprisingly landed his novel on the banned books list for Cuba and North Korea.

9. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov

Where: Argentina, New Zealand
When: 1956
Why: Renowned for its risque premise, Lolita remains banned in Argentina and New Zealand for its ‘obscene’ sexual content.

10. Don Quixote - Miguel de Cervantes

Where: Madrid, Spain
When: 1605
Why: Quixote’s landmark epic was banned for a mere sentence, “Works of charity performed negligently are of no value,” which was considered offensive to Catholicism.

11. Persepolis - Marjane Satrapi

Where: Iran
When: 2004
Why: Satrapi’s coming-of-age story about a girl growing up under an oppressive Islamic regime in Iran earned the ire of Iran officials.

12. The Gulf Between Us - Geraldine Bedell

Where: United Arab Emirates
When: 2009
Why: The U.A.E. banned Bedell’s novel for its depiction of a homosexual sheikh.

13. The Satanic Verses - Salman Rushdie

Where: Iran, Venezuela, Singapore, India, and 10 other countries
When: 1988
Why: Perhaps the most famous banned book controversy, Rushdie’s novel earned him death threats and condemnation from many countries for its negative portrayal of Islam.

14. The Zahir - Paulo Coelho

Where: Iran
When: 2005
Why: While the Iranian government has offered no official reason for its banning of Coelho’s novel, the Culture of Ministry is allegedly very afraid of “the increasing popularity of Paulo Coelho.” The novel is thought by some to be critical of Islam.

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