7 Books that shocked the world
Throughout history, certain books have managed to shake up the status quo, spark controversy, and challenge commonly held beliefs. Books have the power to inform, inspire, and entertain, but some works of literature have also been known to shock the world. These books challenge societal norms and provoke heated discussions, often causing controversy and debate. These works of literature are often remembered for their impact on culture and society, and their legacy is felt to this day.
Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence
Lawrence’s novel was scandalous when it was first published in 1928 and caused quite the uproar with its explicit sexual content and challenged the norms of societal appropriate relations. It was even banned in several countries and famously led to an obscenity trial in the UK.
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Something like American Beauty, Nobokov’s novel tells the story of a middle-aged man’s infatuation with a 12-year-old girl. Naturally, the novel invoked shock on publication for its sick, scandalous depiction of relations. Deemed as morally bad book, Lolita instantly became a bestseller even though the content was shocking.
The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
This novel’s critical portrayal of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad led to a fatwa calling for the author’s death, sparking intense debates about free speech, religious tolerance, and cultural sensitivity. Rushdie had to leave the country after angry and invoked religious mobs threatened the life of the writer.
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
This dark satire of the 1980s yuppie culture follows a wealthy businessman who indulges in gruesome acts of violence. Its graphic content and depictions of cruelty generated controversy and critical discussion about the role of violence in literature. There’s a movie version as well with Christian Bale as the Protagonist.
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
This classic coming-of-age novel, first published in 1951, was banned in several schools and libraries due to its protagonist’s use of profanity and exploration of teenage rebellion. It remains a touchstone for discussions about censorship, free speech, and the portrayal of youth in literature.
Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs
This experimental novel, published in 1959, defied traditional narrative structures and shocked readers with its graphic depictions of drug use, sexual perversity, and violent imagery. It continues to be both praised and criticized for its bold experimentation and boundary-pushing content.
The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
This controversial book, first published in 1971, contains instructions for making explosives, drugs, and other illegal items. It has been linked to acts of domestic terrorism and remains a highly controversial and debated publication.