According to veteran readers, there are several books that are deemed as noteworthy and a must-read before you die. These honorary books come from several genres, whether it is romance, suspense or self-help. These books are a mixture of fiction and non-fiction. These classics are written by some of the most creative, profound and inspiring literary minds.
These great classics captivate readers with their universal themes, impressive characters, plots, perspectives and deep emotions. They are outfitted with themes that are still relevant today, though they were written years ago. Here is a list of fifteen classics that every book lover should read at least once in their lifetime.
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
This book is definitely a classic that takes place in the small town of Alabama in the 20th century. It is a coming-of-age story and depicts the childhood of Scout and Jem Flinch as their father takes on the responsibility to defend a black man who was falsely accused of rape.
Given the climate of the world at that time, Scout and Jem are subsequently teased or mocked by their classmates for this. The novel speaks to hypocrisy, prejudice, love and juvenile innocence all mixed in with humour to alleviate the heaviness of the conversations that take place as well as to create an engrossing novel.
The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
This classic will cause you to experience a rollercoaster of emotions. You will go from sorrow to excitement when you follow the life of Jay Gatsby as he goes on a journey to accomplish a single task, to be reunited with the love he lost, Daisy Buchanan.
All this happens while being fully immersed in the life of the decadent Jazz Age. Think glitz, glam and exaggerated partying. One of the biggest takeaways from this novel is that not everyone is fortunate when it comes to love.
Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
This novel is set in a time when courtesy and manners are of paramount importance. It tells the story of the courtship between Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy. Their characters are a complete composite having grown up in two different worlds.
Elizabeth is the daughter of a countryman while Fitzwilliam is an aristocrat. The novel takes readers along the journey of how they overcome their varied pride and prejudices to fall in love and eventually marry.
The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak
This classic takes its readers to Germany in 1939. It follows Liesel Meminger as she goes about life in a time when the Nazis and the holocaust were current threats. Having been given up by her birth parents, she is raised by a family that impacted her life tremendously.
The story follows her as she rescues books from the Nazis. All this happens while her family helps a Jewish man to hide in their home. The book shows us the power of friendship entwined with a type of courage that is not found in the world today.
The Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank
This novel takes us through the actual life journey of Anne Frank. It takes us through her journey growing up in Frankfurt, Germany during the Second World War as she hides from the Nazi soldiers.
She goes into hiding in Amsterdam with her family and several other Jews. Despite all the hardships she is facing, she still believes that people are innately good and that the world is still a beautiful place.
Animal Farm, by George Orwell
This very interesting classic tells the story of a group of farm animals living on a farm. They work together and plot to rebel against their human farmers. They do this to create a society for themself where each animal is happy and free.
Many book critics say that this book was way ahead of its time, having been printed in 1945. It speaks to some of the real-life issues that can come about as a result of revolutions. The animals end up failing at their attempt to rebel as a dictatorship grows among them. Instead of working together for the good of everyone, selfishness, power hunger and manipulation became the route of who they were as a group.
Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
Set in The Civil War, this novel has turned out to be one of the greatest films of all time. It focuses on the life of a southern belle Sarah O’Hara as she navigates finding love in the middle of the unfolding of the war.
After the death of her husband, Sarah is depicted as she matures into womanhood. Prior to the war, she was an eccentric sixteen-year-old who loved to party and live freely. Then she loses her husband in the war and life changes immensely. The story unfolds and shows her growth and courage as she leaves to live and love again after her traumatic loss.
Charlotte’s Web, E.B. White
This novel is 1 that is most interesting to both children and adults. It introduces us to Charlotte, an adorable little spider, Fern Arable, a farmer’s daughter and their friend, Wilbur, the piglet. It takes on a journey of friendship and an appreciation of life can steer us into doing courageous things.
At the age of eight, Fern can’t help but be devastated when she finds out that Wilbur’s life may soon end, by the hands of her father. Charlotte and Fern set out with a plan that they have a device to save Wilbur’s life. They become successful when Fern persuades her father to allow her to adopt Wilbur instead.
Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott
This classic takes us on a journey with four sisters, Meg, Jo, Bethe and Amy, as they pursue life to the fullest in an attempt to make the very best of it. Each of the girls has a very different but enchanting personality. Personalities that propel them into new adventures, especially domestic, in New England in the 19th century.
The girls must take on ups and downs leading into womanhood as they make important life-changing decisions. The book was written specifically for young women and is still widely read here in 2022. It is known for its contribution to the rise of feminism and overall women empowerment.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis
This novel throws us deep into the world of fantasy and is a renowned children’s book. It takes us to the mythical world of Narnia which is home to interestingly magnificent creatures. These creatures have created their own system of morals on which they operate.
Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie are the four children who discover this mythical world having entered through the door of a wardrobe in their guardian’s home. They take us through the woods of Narnia and help us meet the various characters throughout the novel. The book gives its readers the opportunity to get lost in the fantasy world and make full use of their imaginations.
Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
In this novel, we meet Guy Montag. Guy lives in a dictatorial society that aims to get rid of any source of anything that is contradicting or confusing. This is done to ensure a form of happiness that is uncomplexed for all citizens.
We follow Montag on his journey from a book-burning fireman to a book-loving rebel as he begins to question his tasks. The story takes place in the future, the 24th century to be exact. In this futuristic world he lived in, firemen were the ones who started the fires as opposed to what we know of firemen in our world.
A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens
“It was the best of time. It was the worst of times.” If you have ever heard these words, this is the story where they were written. In this novel, readers are introduced to Dr Manette who at the age of 18 years is a political prisoner. It takes the readers on his journey from being imprisoned in Bastille Paris, To his release which leads him to a life in London.
On his return to London, he meets and subsequently lives with his daughter, Lucie. The story also takes us through the period leading up to the French Revolution. It has themes surrounding requited and unrequited love as two men fall in love with Lucie. There is a rollercoaster of emotions and displays of love and courage.
Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare
There is hardly anyone alive who is not somewhat familiar with the lovers’ tale of Romeo and Juliet. It is a beautifully written novel that shows an unpopular fact that things do not always have a happy ending. It focuses on the joys of young love and complexities of revenge.
Reading is an extraordinary hobby. It has the ability to transport you to millions of different places, and time periods and you meet millions of different people- through their characters of course. Books can help eliminate stress, increase happiness and elevate knowledge.