"Oh I love trash! Anything dirty, or dingy, or dusty. Anything ragged, or rotten, or rusty. Yes, I love trash!"- Oscar the Grouch
“The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.”- Oscar Wilde
"There is no such thing as a moral or immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written."- Oscar Wilde
When I was a teenager, I fell madly in love with the forbidden. I blame this all on repression. The truth of the matter is this: when you hold something away from someone long enough, or forbid a curious mind from exploration, your inadvertently breeding a monster. Even though you thinking your doing a world of good and protecting that person. No mater he or she is. I love to read. Books are my friends. Authors have taught me many valuable lessons about life. I have never believed in literary censorship. The sheer thought of withholding the human imagination, spirit, or sheer truth from others gives me violent ills. I believe I would off myself if we reverted back to the Dark Ages with the Catholic Church controlling and screening everything that was printed. They even went as far to claim certain writings as their own when it most certainly was not. A Physical prison is formidable and dreadful, but an Intellectual prison is downright gruesome and abominable. No book deserves to be burned, no not one.
Here are a few banned books that are considered Classics. Some of these novels paved the way for what is now readily available on the shelves of bookstores. Of course the publishers received hell, but they believed in the strong voices of their authors and wanted them to be heard through the toiling masses on reams of good quality paper. I firmly believe an abundance of morals and precious truth can be taken out of a "bad" book, rather than a "good" book. A little hedonism is small and powerful and sticks with you.
1. Fanny Hill: Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure by John Cleland
2. The 120 Days of Sodom by Marquis de Sade
3. Justine by Marquis de Sade
4. Philosophy of the Bedroom by Marquis de Sade
5. My Secret Life by Walter X or Anonymous
6. Delta of Venus by Anias Nin
7. House of Incest by Anias Nin
8. Little Birds by Anais Nin
9. Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
10. Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence
11. The Story of O by Pauline Reage
12. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
13. Lolita by Vladimir Nobakov
14. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
15. Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susanne
16. The Love Machine by Jacqueline Susanne
17. Once Is Not Enough by Jacqueline Susanne
18. Peyton Place by Grace Metalious
19. Return to Peyton Place by Grace Metalious
20. The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)
21. Beauty's Punishment by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)
22. Beauty's Release by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)
23. Exit to Eden by Anne Rampling (Anne Rice)
24. Belinda by Anne Rampling (Anne Rice)
25. American Psycho by Brett Easton Ellis
26. The Satanic Versus by Salmon Rushdie
27. The Satanic Bible by Anton Szandor LaVey
28. Animal Farm by George Orwell
29. Howl by Alan Ginsberg
30. The Holy Bible (Religious Text)
31. Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews
I've listed 30 books that were once banned. Some still are. The novels selected from my memory cover a broad range of categories and topics including but not limited to: Erotica, Religious Texts, Classics, Prejudice and Racism, Drug Abuse, Small Town Corruption, Sexual Abuse, and Horrific Violence. I own a great majority of these works and have fully read or skimmed through them with love and fascination.
Here are three of my favorites:
" You've got to climb to the top of Mount Everest to reach the Valley of Dolls" thus this epic pop-culture #1 bestselling phenomenon starts out. Nobody can forget those three darling starlets: Anne, Neely, and Jennifer. Anne was a small town girl who wanted to escape and live in the big city, while making her dreams come true Laverne & Shirley style. But as the story unfolds, she starts to slip through the cracks. Neely was a lady with a set of pipes who wanted to set Broadway on fire! Two things were in her way: the evil bitch Helen Lawson who was at the top of her own game, and Neely's addiction to booze and dope. Then there's Jennifer who had no talent whatsoever, but she had a body and desperately wanted a man to love her for her kindred spirit. But she got herself involved in nudies to pay the rent and she had no choice but to help support her cheap mother and ailing grandma. I can't get enough of cat-fights and back stabbing! This book delivers full force! Valley has it all! Jacqueline Susanne took to writing what she knew first hand and cashed in big time. Once you read it, you'll never forget it.
Peyton Place, New Hampshire: Population 3,675. This small town is just big enough for a right-side and wrong-side of the tracks and has lots of skeletons in the closet! Peyton Place was one of the original "dirty" books that hit the bookshelves and sent America wondering what town the novel was based off of because it truly touched a nerve that had never been wrote about before: sordid secrets of hometown. It was the first book to depict teen sex, abortion and incest between an alcoholic abusive father and helpless daughter. The sizzling scorcher also made its alcoholic author a wealthy sensation across the Great Land of the Red, White, and Blue. I was born and raised in a small town very similar to Peyton Place. The characters are impeccably accurate: it delivers not only the above events, but racism, suicide, poverty, sexual promiscuity, murder, and even a mother giving her son enemas...and he loves it! You'll walk out of Peyton Place's city limits at the last page, but you'll still be hearing the townspeople say, "Ya'll come back now." In Peyton Place, the residents will bless your little heart then stab you in the back after you've been offered sweet tea. Here's a warning to the wise: when you feel Indian Summer approaching; keep your guard up...trouble is coming and there's a whole lot of hell to be paid.
When Anne Rice published The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty under A.N. Roquelaure (Anne under a cloak) the world of Erotica was forever changed. The novel starts out sweet and innocent. But once your 3 pages in every page gets hot. That was the whole idea of the book. Anne Rice has stated that she wanted to create the Disneyland of S&M in a safe atmosphere. I believe she succeeded majestically. The prose in written in a luster of elegance. She does not use vulgar sexual slang for the genital areas but she keeps her male characters in a constant state of arousal. They never once go flaccid. There's a lot of whipping and black leather, and the men who pull the carriages with the slaves inside have hoarse tales tied to dildos that are inserted up their rectums. Its a bizarre world only a true master of literary decadence could create. The other two books in the series follow Beauty and her Princes through even more discipline and tender cruelty. I had the privilege of selling these books when I worked in a bookstore and the customers always came back to me saying how much they loved them!