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- Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is well known for how many times the book has been banned because of its persistent use of the word "nigger". This is despite the facts that the slave character, Jim, is the smartest character in the whole book and that the book is ultimately anti-racist, as shown when Huck tears up a letter meant to tell where Jim has been captured and goes to save him, despite Huck honestly believing this means that he'll go to Hell.
- While Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass are still considered literary classics, discussions of the author, Lewis Carroll, have been overshadowed by the claims that he was a pedophile, thanks to his nude pictures of little girls and several missing letters.
- Alfie's Home is a children's book about curing homosexuality, claiming that dysfunctional families cause kids to be gay because they lack the love from a parental figure. It's much more infamous, however, for a blatant depiction of a child getting molested by his Creepy Uncle, who is also a Karma Houdini.
- The Catcher in the Rye had built up such a sterling reputation that it's still widely known on its own merits, but it's also hard to get away from the notoriety of its being in the possession of three high profile murderers or attempted murderers in the 1980s: Mark David Chapman, John Hinckley Jr., and Robert John Bardo. Chapman became particularly associated with it as he'd written "This is my statement" in the book and signed Holden's name.
- A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess thanks much of his infamy to the movie adaptation by Stanley Kubrick, something Burgess himself wasn't happy about.
- Fanny Hill is well known for having been a subject of obscenity tests and for having been banned in America from inception until a 1966 Supreme Court case ruled that the book has redeeming social value. When it was published in 1748, it got the author arrested on obscenity charges.
- Flowers in the Attic is a book about four children who are abused by their grandmother. It also has incest between the two teenage siblings. The latter fact has created a lot of controversy and infamy, to the point where people forget about the other elements of the book.
- Go Set a Watchman is best known for the fact that many believed it was published without Harper Lee's permission, since it was an early draft of To Kill a Mockingbird, turning widely-admired character Atticus Finch into a racist, without any lore as to why this was done, and the massive outdated views present in the book that aren't justified by it being a Period Piece. Most people who have read To Kill A Mockingbird prefer to disown it or solely treat it as a draft.
- Handbook for Mortals is most likely to be remembered for the fact that its author organized a campaign to buy up large numbers of copies of the book from stores that reported their sales to The New York Times in order to get the book reported as a bestseller so that she could get a hasty movie deal, in which she intended to play the lead.
- Harry Potter fans have gotten increasingly disgruntled about J.K. Rowling's ongoing refusal to put any kind of non-hetero representation into the franchise's canon, expecting them to be content with her scraps of Word of Gay. She made especially big waves in March 2019 by saying she's more interested in emotional relationships than sexual ones as if there's no middle ground between a total lack of gay representation and hardcore gay porn. She has also been criticized for her excessive Word of God, especially for things that are Too Much Information (For example, claiming that Hogwarts had no plumbing system in its early days, thus wizards had to shit on the floor and used magic to make it disappear.)
- His Dark Materials has garnered considerable controversy for its heavy-handed anti-religious themes, with author Philip Pullman openly stating that his goal was to provide an atheist answer to the Christian-based fantasy series The Chronicles of Narnia, in which the heroes' ultimate goal is to "kill God."
- If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love is a Nebula award-winning (and Hugo-nominated) short story in which the fiancée of a comatose paleontologist fantasizes about their love being a Tyrannosaurus rex. It is best known for attracting the ire of science fiction purists who feel that it barely qualifies as speculative fiction and thus did not deserve to win awards for science fiction literature.
- James Bond:
- Thunderball is likely the most notorious of the novels, not because of its content, but because of the fact that its publication led to a copyright infringement lawsuit from screenwriter Kevin McClory. The novel was based on a scrapped screenplay that Fleming and McClory co-wrote; when McClory found out about the novel, he took legal action under the belief that Fleming was taking more credit than he actually had.
- The Spy Who Loved Me is generally regarded as the worst in the series and has made little to no dents in popular culture... with the distinct exception of the fact that it includes a female character offering an impassioned defense of the "Not If They Enjoyed It" Rationalization. The much better-regarded film of the same title used almost nothing from the book, at Ian Fleming's own request.
- Several other entries in the series are known by the general public more for inspiring movies and containing absolutely cringeworthy Values Dissonance that was extreme even for The '50s. In particular, there's Goldfinger, which states that lesbians are the result of child molestation and can be cured with a good hard penis and that Koreans are a different species.
- The Legend of Rah and the Muggles is (in)famous because the author, Nancy Stouffer, sued J.K. Rowling for plagiarism without success. It did not help the fact that the book is poorly written, and it is often cited in literary talks for its infamy.
- Lolita is, unfortunately, more famous for the controversy that surrounds it than the actual content and quality of the novel: Vladimir Nabokov went through many publishers who refused to publish it, and after it was published, it was banned in many places for being "pornographic" or "an instruction manual for pedophilia" (which it is not). Even for people who aren't familiar with the history of the book, a lot of the covers/jackets make it look like erotica.
- Looking for Alaska, the book that put John Green on the map as a novelist, is infamous among Moral Guardians for its pulls-no-punches depictions of teenage sexuality and drug use, most notably a quite explicit oral sex scene. Well over a decade after its publication, it remains one of the most frequently banned books in the United States.
- The children's book The Pet Goat probably wouldn't have an article on The Other Wiki if it weren't for the fact that George W. Bush was reading it to schoolchildren when he was informed about the September 11th terrorist attacks. Debate subsequently began about his decision to finish the book before going to deal with the crisis.
- The Qu'ran is this in some Islamophobic circles, including Western media. To most non-Muslims, most of what they heard about the Qu'ran is how zealots, terrorists, and fundamentalist crackpots misuse it. It has gotten to the point that quite some people claim the book is dangerous and a how-to guide for terrorists. On the other hand, the Torah is also this to some (obviously not all) of the more particularly anti-Semitic Muslim communities. In Indonesian grade to high schools, for example, the Torah and Jewish people themselves are often cited as the cause for all that is wrong with the world (also the United States, which of course is also controlled by those dirty Jews); it's not rare to find a random Indonesian Muslim proudly professing to be a Holocaust denier (or better, claim that they've never even heard of the Holocaust before) when asked.
- Rage by Stephen King is probably best known for being King's Old Shame after several school shootings were possibly inspired by the novel. King has let the work fall out of print.
- The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie is remembered more for the ensuing fatwa declared on the author by Ayatollah Khomeini, and for the fallout from that incident than for the novel itself. The controversy over the fatwa has also caused this to bleed over to all of Rushdie's works, despite him being considered one of the greatest British novelists of the last century.
- Sixth Column by Robert A. Heinlein is better known for being about the United States of America under control of Pan-Asians, and its ending, in which the heroes create a weapon that exterminates them (apart from one of the protagonists, who is a Japanese-American). Heinlein (a racially progressive writer for his time) later considered the book an Old Shame, admitting that it was supposed to be a rewrite of an unreleased book by John W. Campbell to tone down the racism, but ended up making it worse.
- Stranger is less known for its content than for the fact that it was unsold for years... simply because agents wanted to make a gay character straight or take him out completely out of fear the book wouldn't sell. The resulting Publishers Weekly post — Say Yes to Gay YA — was widespread and led to a lot more diverse YA being picked up both by publishers and by readers, and it among many other things eventually led to the We Need Diverse Books movement. But how many people know Stranger finally came out in 2014?
- The Turner Diaries, a white supremacist novel by William L. Pierce, is best known for being associated with Timothy McVeigh, who carried out the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. Aside from that, it is either banned or not sold in many countries due to its extremist content.
- The Uncle Remus stories are a group of actual fables told by slaves and former slaves in the American South, making them a valuable cultural resource. However, though once popular, they are now nearly unknown. Compiler and editor Joel Chandler Harris' fictional character who tells the stories, Uncle Remus, was written as an elderly, cheerful ex-slave and sharecropper, seemingly content to continue working for a white family. The implied racism is now almost all that is known of the stories. The fables themselves, taken out of the Remus context, are stories about animals using their wiles to trick each other, and man, in order to survive. Unlike Aesop's fables, they are not meant to be morally instructive but are a commentary on man resorting to animal-like behaviors in desperate circumstances.
- Uncle Tom's Cabin, when it was first released, drew up massive controversy due to its massive anti-slavery themes, particularly in the years leading up to The American Civil War. The backlash was so heavy, an entire genre of literature (known as "anti-Tom literature") was written to try to defend slavery.note However, few people have actually read the book, due to the fact that Minstrel Shows tended to exaggerate it to the point some see it as being actually racist.