There’s a reason some books are considered to be “classics.” They stood the test of time and deliver topics and themes that are still relevant today. And what about those buzzy books that you’ve heard everyone talk about, but just never got around to picking up? Well guess what?! Now is the time to jump into one of these books that we think you need to read at least once in your life. We’ve highlighted a few below, but you can browse the full booklist here.
George Orwell’s 1984 is one of the most definitive texts of modern literature. Set in Oceania, one of the three inter-continental superstate that divided the world among themselves after a global war, Orwell’s masterful critique of the political structures of the time, works itself out through the story of Winston Smith, a man caught in the webs of a dystopian future, and his clandestine love affair with Julia, a young woman he meets during the course of his work for the government.
As much as it is an entertaining read, 1984 is also a brilliant, and more importantly, a timeless satirical attack on the social and political structures of the world.
Little Women is one of the best loved books of all time. Lovely Meg, talented Jo, frail Beth, spoiled Amy: these are hard lessons of poverty and of growing up in New England during the Civil War. Through their dreams, plays, pranks, letters, illnesses, and courtships, women of all ages have become a part of this remarkable family and have felt the deep sadness when Meg leaves the circle of sisters to be married at the end of Part I.
Part II, chronicles Meg’s joys and mishaps as a young wife and mother, Jo’s struggle to become a writer, Beth’s tragedy, and Amy’s artistic pursuits and unexpected romance. Based on Louisa May Alcott’s childhood, this lively portrait of nineteenth-century family life possesses a lasting vitality that has endeared it to generations of readers.
Marie-Laure lives in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where her father works. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.
In a mining town in Germany, Werner Pfennig, an orphan, grows up with his younger sister. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing new instruments and is enlisted to use his talent to track down the resistance. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.
All The Light We Cannot See was the winner of both the 2015 Audie Award for Fiction as well as the 2015 Pulitzer Prize.
Obsessed with the idea of creating life itself, Victor Frankenstein plunders graveyards for the material with which to fashion a new being, shocking his creation to life with electricity. But this botched creature, rejected by its creator and denied human companionship, sets out to destroy Frankenstein and all that he holds dear.
Mary Shelley’s chilling gothic tale was conceived when she was only eighteen, living with her lover Percy Shelley near Lord Byron’s villa on Lake Geneva. It would become the world’s most famous work of Gothic horror, and Frankenstein’s monster an instantly-recognisable symbol of the limits of human creativity.
In Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor—engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.
The Underground Railroad is both a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner and is now an original Amazon Prime Video series directed by Barry Jenkins.
William Golding’s classic novel of primitive savagery and survival is one of the most vividly realized and riveting works in modern fiction. The tale begins after a plane wreck deposits a group of English school boys, aged six to twelve on an isolated tropical island. Their struggle to survive and impose order quickly evolves from a battle against nature into a battle against their own primitive instincts. Golding’s portrayal of the collapse of social order into chaos draws the fine line between innocence and savagery.
Jonas’s world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear of pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the community. When Jonas turns 12 he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back
On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy (Nick) parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Amy’s husband, Nick, is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?
A #1 New York Times bestseller, Gone Girl was named the best book of the year and one of the most influential books of the decade.
Looking for Book Recommendations?
• Looking to share your love of books? Our handy Book Clubbin’ questions make it super easy to start a book club. Or, Netflix n’ buddy-read with this year’s book-to-screen adaptations (just be prepared for the perennial debate: is the book better than the movie/show?).
• If you’re looking for something extra, we’ve got author and narrator interviews to give you a gleam inside their worlds.
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