The greatest books ever written are defined as classics for good reason. Conceived of and written down by some of the brightest minds of all time, they share universal characters, emotions, perspectives, and themes which are still relevant today. Some have even served as the inspiration from which whole genres have sprung!
1984 by George Orwell
Although we’re a ways passed the year, the dystopian, totalitarian reality of control, fear, and outright lies that 1984 evokes is sadly still with us. This book delves into Winston Smith’s life as he struggles with the development of his human nature in a world where individuality, free will, and love are strictly forbidden.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Zusak’s The Book Thief is set in 1939 in Germany and follows Liesel as she rescues books from destruction by the Nazis. Her family is hiding a Jewish man in their basement, and Death is watching over them as well as narrating the story. The Book Thief gives us a story about uncommon bravery and the power of friendship in even the direst circumstances.
The Diary Of A Young Girl by Anne Frank
As unforgettable as it is harrowing, Frank’s journal is a heartbreaking account of her life and her family’s experiences while they’re hidden from the Nazis in an attic. Despite her horrific circumstances, Frank somehow holds on to the belief that people are essentially good and the world is intrinsically beautiful. Reading this book will completely change your life.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Published in 1925, The Great Gatsby explores the decadence of revelry of the Jazz Age as it follows one young man’s introduction into a world the likes of which he’s never seen. It’s a classic and has inspired movies, pokies games in NZ, and even songs, and serves up a powerful lesson about the essential uselessness of even unlimited wealth when it comes to finding love.
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
Written by McCullers when she was just 23-years old, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter manages to pour the whole of 1930s America into a relatively short novel. It covers class, gender, loneliness, race, religion and sexuality, yet you never once feel like you’re being bludgeoned with a history lesson when you’re reading it! This is part of her astonishing skill, and it’s a novel that one can read as political commentary, societal criticism, or just a wonderful story.
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Middle Earth is a marvellous, expansive fantasy world abrim with strife, good and evil, and heroes and villains. Although it seems impossible that the diminutive hero Frodo Baggins will be able to complete his dangerous quest, his triumph unfolds over one of the richest trilogies ever written.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Possibly one of the best-known works of literature of all time, Pride and Prejudice details the courtship of two dramatically different characters in a world where courtesy and manners are of the utmost importance.