15 months imprisonment if caught reading!
I literally stumbled upon this list of these 10 Banned Books. To be honest I didn’t recognise most of them but what is interesting is why they were banned and some of the penalties if caught reading them. Many of the books are old when attitudes were much more prudent and any bad-taste would outrage the authorities or the public…
5. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie (1988)
The gist: Rushdie’s book tells the story of an Indian expat living in modern day England. After surviving a plane crash, Gibreel Farishta, a Bollywood superstar is left to rebuild his life, while the other survivor, the emigrant Saladin Chamcha has his life torn apart.
Why was it banned? Many in the Islamic community saw Rushdie’s take on Islam to be blasphemous. In Venezuela, you would be imprisoned for 15 months if caught reading the book, while Japan issued fines for people who sold the English-language edition. Even in the US, two major bookshops refused to sell the book after death threats were received.
10. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (1955)
The gist: Humbert Humbert, a scholar born in Paris, is obsessed with young women, or “nymphets” as he calls them. Moving to a small New England town, he comes obsessed with the 12-year-old daughter of Charlotte Haze, and secretly covets her, using his marriage to her mother as a ruse. Humbert and the girl abscond and begin hopping from town to town trying to conceal their true relationship.
Why was it banned? After being called ‘the filthiest book I have ever read’ by the editor of the Sunday Express, the Home Office seized all copies of the book in 1955 on the grounds that it was pornography. The French banned it the following year, but curiously, it was published without issue in the USA.