The act of banning books, and deciding what people can and cannot read, is one of the oldest acts of censorship in existence; as long as we’ve had books, we’ve had people in power trying to prevent us from reading them.
The ironic thing about banning books, however, is that it usually has an adverse effect, making the books much more popular and well-known than they may have been had no one tried banning them in the first place. The books that are banned are usually the ones that urge readers to question the norm, rebel against injustice, and always stand strong; many of the most beloved pieces of literature were banned at one point or another.
But, despite their best efforts, no one can ever get in the way of people reading the books they want to read. These seven banned-books-turned-popular-adaptations prove that and so much more.
1. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Image Via HBO
The popular dystopian novel depicting a future in which reading is illegal and all books are burned was banned between the years 2000-2009 due to the burning of the Bible that takes place within the story.
HBO released their movie adaptation May 12, 2018.
2. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
Image Via HBO
This classic novel detailing the fight for power between a man who’s been sent to a mental institution and the dictatorship of the hospital staff has been banned in schools off and on since it’s publication in 1962 for it’s “glorification of crime” and “pornographic language”.
The popular adaptation starring Jack Nicholson was released November 19th, 1975.
3. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Image Via Harper’s Bazaar
The famed Margaret Atwood novel detailing a future in which women are forced to bear children for elite couples in an America that has been overrun by a Christian, totalitarian government has been banned throughout schools since it’s 1985 release for it’s “graphic, sexual language” and “sacrilegious themes”.
The Hulu adaptation aired April 25th, 2018.
4. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Image Via HuffingtonPost
This fantastical story of a young girl as she braves a dangerous journey of good versus evil in a mystical universe has faced controversy it’s 1962 release date due to descriptions of magic and “anti-Christian values”.
The film adaptation starring Oprah, Mindy Kaling, Reese Witherspoon, and more was released February 26th, 2018.
5. 1984 George Orwell
Image Via La Croix
This dystopian story detailing a world in which Big Brother is always watching, individualism is nonexistent, and everything is against the law has faced criticism since it’s 1949 release date due to it’s heavy political themes and sexual content.
The film adaptation was released December 14th, 1984.
6. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
via Hollywood Reporter
This controversial novel describing the love affair between antagonist Humber Humbert and his adolescent step-daughter, Lolita, has been banned across the board since it’s 1955 publication for it’s “graphic sexual language” and “inapproriate and disturbing scenarios between an adult man and a young girl”.
The Stanley Kubrick adaptation was released June 13th, 1962.
7. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Image Via Inkoherence
This tragically heartbreaking novel describing the friendship between two twelve-year-olds who create a fantastic, imaginary world has been banned since it’s release in 1977 for it’s themes of witchcraft, atheism, and it’s “inappropriate language.”
The popular film adaptation starring Josh Hutcherson was released February 16th, 2007.
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