Governments and other authorities have attempted to ban books for hundreds of years for various reasons. Often, these books criticize the government, express views that go against a popular religion, or detail how to do something potentially dangerous or fatal. Sometimes, depending on the jurisdiction, illegal books may have strong language or talk favorably about a shunned race or sexual orientation. Often, illegal books are officially illegal in one country rather than multiple countries because the book is never released internationally, but there are some cases of books being illegal in several places. For example, Lady Chatterley's Lover was once banned in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia, mostly for previously unprintable, vulgar words and detailed sexual acts.
One reason books are commonly banned is because a government or jurisdiction does not like the religious, ethical, or ideological views that a certain book is espousing. For example, the government of Lebanon took issue with and banned The Da Vinci Code because religious leaders of Catholicism did not like how it portrayed Christianity. Lebanon also banned The Diary of Anne Frank because the government disagreed with the book’s positive portrayals of Jewish culture. In Thailand, the biography of a king titled The King Never Smiles was banned because the government did not like its view on the king.
In many parts of the world, illegal books include those that show homosexuality in a positive light. Depending on the region and jurisdiction, these books are not necessarily illegal, but are restricted from children. A lot of these books, such as King and King, Daddy’s Roommate, and Tango Makes Three, are restricted or banned because they portray a homosexual couple in a positive light. In these books, the homosexual couple often goes about normal family behavior associated with heterosexual relationships, such as raising a child and dealing with household chores. In the United States, for example, there is sometimes outrage from parents whose children have been exposed to books that demonstrate a homosexually oriented family as normal, which often leads to restriction of the book or outright banning of it in some areas.
Some illegal books contain information that is considered dangerous, antisocial, or violent by a jurisdiction. For example, France banned a book called Suicide mode d'emploi, which explained various ways to commit suicide. In addition, the book American Psycho, which depicts murders in the first person, is completely banned in Queensland, Australia, and can only be legally sold to people above the age of 18 in other parts of the country, though the ban is not always enforced.