10 Books That Everyone Should Read in Their Lifetime
There are novels and then there are great novels. Here we look at the 10 books everyone should read in their lifetime. Great novels are those that leave an indelible mark on your mind and a lasting effect on your heart and if you don’t enjoy them at some point in your life, then you truly are missing out on a world of adventure, drama, and excitement. Some may disagree with the titles we’ve included or omitted, but what can be denied is that these are ten of the most captivating and enthralling tales that have ever been written.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
When bachelor Fitzwilliam Darcy meets Elizabeth Bennet, he causes her to think him conceited and more than a little arrogant. He’s immune to her undoubted good looks and obvious intelligence, but after she finds out that Darcy has interfered in the troubled relationship with her beloved sister Jane, she hates him even more.
In this classic Jane Austen novel, friendships, relationships and the folly of going by first impressions are all laid bare in this wonderful period drama cum comedy of manners. A tale that should be on anyone’s literary bucket list.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
In the Great Gatsby, a native of the US Midwest and aspiring writer Nick Carraway arrives in New York during the roaring twenties in his own personal quest for the American dream. He finds himself lodging next door to a noted millionaire, Jay Gatsby and in the same neighbourhood as his cousin Daisy and his cheating husband.
Experiencing the heady world of life in the fast lane, Nick bears witness to all the deceits and apparent illusions that it offers in a story of dreams, love and tragedy. A true page-turner!
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Moving briefly into the world of non-fiction, we look at Cold Blood which features real-life American author Truman Capote. First published back in 1966, the main driver of the book concerns itself with the murder of four members of the Clutter family in rural Holcomb in Kansas.
Capote travels to Kansas to write about the nationally-covered crime accompanied by fellow author and lifelong friend Harper Lee. They interview investigators and residents alike, taking thousands of pages worth of notes and it’s a truly gripping book that took Capote six years to write. This literary classic from the true crime genre is one that we’d recommend dedicating a day to!
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
With dystopian future film books existing aplenty in the modern world, we now look at a seminal piece from the popular category that comes in the form of Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Focusing on a futuristic society referred to as ‘the World State’, it centres around efficiency and science.
In this harsh world, individuality and emotion are conditioned out of citizens from an early age, with relationships as we know them today not being possible. If you’re a fan of the apocalyptic visions of the future, this is a must-read classic.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Jane Eyre is a book by noted 19th-century novelist Charlotte Bronte of the famous Bronte Sisters and it’s one that follows an orphan who’s treated horribly by her aunt and then banished to a charity school. She continues to receive abuse at this seat of learning, however, whilst there she educates herself and eventually finds a job as a governess on Edward Rochester’s estate.
Rochester and Miss Eyre spend time together and form a close bond, however, it allows her to see a darker side to him and a terrible secret that he’s hiding. A wonderful tale that will keep you captivated from the first page to the last.
Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
Another classic – this time of the maritime variety, the main protagonist Captain Ahab pursues a vendetta against a great white whale known as Moby Dick. This troublesome sea creature is one that robbed Ahab of his leg and in his quest for vengeance, he sets out on a dangerous voyage onboard The Pequod to hunt down and kill this treacherous beast.
The crew onboard soon see just how obsessed and suicidal Ahab is and it results in a showdown of epic proportions. A true great that you absolutely have to read at some point in your life!
Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
Once Tess Durbyfield’s poor and impoverished family finds out about her noble heritage, she is sent by her lazy father and ill-mannered mother to the home of a nearby family known as the d’Urbervilles. This innocent, yet attractive young lady becomes seduced by the overbearing Alec d’Urberville, which leads her to bear a secret child that dies whilst still in its infancy.
Later, Tess marries a distinguished gentleman named Angel Clare who rejects her on the night of the wedding after finding out about her past. Readers of this novel follow her as she returns, destitute to the d’Urberville household leading to treachery and murder when Angel re-enters the scene. Don’t miss this one or you really are missing out!
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
This wonderful classic follows Genevan student and brilliant scientist Viktor Frankenstein, who becomes obsessed with pushing the boundaries of science and morality to bring the dead back to life.
After realising what a dangerous path he is on, he abandons the creature and tries to return to normal life. The creature seeks him out and demands either revenge or the creation of a bride in his image. Groundbreaking fiction of the most gruesome kind!
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
Randle McMurphy is moved from a prison farm to a mental facility in a bid to prove his insanity and live a more comfortable life – he assumes. Nurse Ratched does not suffer fools and what ensues is a battle of wills that the convict appears to be winning. That is, at first at least until she uses abuse, electro-therapy and medication on McMurphy, who is clearly not mentally ill at all.
This battle continues through this fantastic book, with bonds created between McMurphy and his fellow patients, leaving a lasting mark on everyone concerned. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a great book from the mind of Ken Kesey that simply demands to be read.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
For sheer escapism and imaginative flair, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll very much deserves its place on our list of must-read books. Whilst most have seen the film adaptation, Carroll’s own words are inimitable and more descriptive than any film could possibly show.
You’ll be captivated as he describes the many colourful characters in the tale like the Mad Hatter, The Queen of Hearts and The Cheshire Cat. In the fantasy genre, this is a book that offers everything, with a happy ending thrown in to boot…or is there? If you don’t know already, you’ll need to read this classic to find out.
15 Classic Books Everyone Should Read In Their Lifetime Part I
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