When I started reading Nabokov's Lolita, everyone told me to put the book down on account of its plot. A 38-year-old professor is obsessed with a 12-year-old nymphet and their relationship seems to be unacceptable for most people. Lolita was so controversial that it was banned in France, New Zealand, the UK, and Argentina.
Orville Prescott, book reviewer at the New York Times, said: "Nabokov is particularly lucky because his book was not censored in the United States, but in France of all places. What more could he hope for?"
Today, the book is studied at universities and colleges around the world and has gained more appreciation.
I thought the language and the arrangement of the words in Lolita was excellent, but trying to comprehend Humbert's obsessive relationship with Lolita, however, was difficult for me.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a story about a boy who fakes his death, escapes an abusive father, and sails down the Mississippi River with his slave friend Jim.
At first glance, it's a book full of fascinating stories about children, but in the 20th century it caused a controversy for its use of derogatory terms.
Ernest Hemingway once declared that "all modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn."
Despite the high acclaim, the novel was removed from several schools in New York, following protests from parents and students. One headmaster said, "We have all come to the conclusion that the community costs of reading this book in 11th grade outweigh the literary benefits."
Holden Caulfield, the protagonist J.D. Salinger's The Cather in the Rye, is a cynical and rebellious 16-year old with a hatred for "phonies".
In 1960, school administrators at a high school in Tulsa, Oklahoma fired an English teacher for assigning the book to the 11th grade.
In Ohio, people called the book "anti-white" and removed it from local schools.
In 1978, it was banned in Washington for being part of "an overall communist plot."
Holden Caulfield seems to have inspired a 25-year-old Mark David Chapman to murder John Lennon. "I'd look at the picture [of Lennon] and say: 'You phony, I'm going to get you.' And then I would pray for demons to enter my body, to give me the strength to pull the gun out."
In spite of everything, this book is and will continue to be in print for a long time.
An afterthought: books tend to drop me little hints here and there that help me untangle my own thoughts. Instead of banning books that challenge our views and principles, no matter how controversial they may be, we should celebrate them.