|Photo by olegdudko via 123RF|
The joy of getting lost in the world of fantasy is an experience that only reading a book can bring. A lot of things can come and go, but the ability to transport us into another world is a power that literature will always possess. Whether it’s a timeless classic or the most in-demand work of writing today, one thing is for certain: the magic of reading will never cease to entertain and help us learn.
Out of many hundred-list recommendations, here are seven must-read books of all time.
|Photo by Kelbv via Flickr|
A Clockwork Orange
What makes Anthony Burgess’ dystopian fiction deserving a spot on this list is its move away from the novelistic convention wrapped around most narratives. Critic Chris Harvey describes the novel as a “dystopian masterpiece,” following the life of Alex in the near-future society depicting a youth subculture of extreme violence.
|Photo by CHRISTO DRUMMKOPF via Flickr|
A Passage to India
Set in the backdrop of the British Raj and the Indian independence in the 1920s, E. M. Foster’s “A Passage to India” is among the 100 great works of the 20th century, as per the Modern Library. It is also among Time magazine’s “All-Time 100 Novels” list, another recognition along with the James Tait Memorial Prize for fiction in 1924. Time considers the novel, written based on Foster’s experience in India, as a story “of the greatest and saddest subtleties—and comic subtleties, too.”
|Photo by admiral.ironbombs via Flickr|
This classic science fiction was written when author Mary Shelley was merely 18 years old as part of a challenge to create the best horror story. Ceri Radford, a critic for The Independent, notes that the monster that came to life is a “complex creation that yearns for sympathy and companionship.” Radford adds that the gothic tale remains relevant even after 200 years as science continues to push the boundaries of creating life.
|Photo by Laura via Flickr|
This work of fiction was so controversial that the UK decided to ban it in the same year it was publicized. The tale is told by a possibly unreliable narrator, a literary professor and self-confessed hebephile Humber Humbert. It is a twisted story of how Humbert married Charlotte Haze to get close to her 12-year-old daughter Dolores, whom the narrator calls “Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul.”
|Photo by Jonathan Swinton via Flickr|
Lord of the Flies
People who think that children are primitive little beings will “nod sagely” as they read through this classic by William Golding, says Radford. Golding believes that the decent behavior taught to kids will fall away once they are left to fend for themselves. In his novel, the author shows how childish purity quickly vanishes when there are no adults around while also unveiling the truth behind the “myths and clichés of childhood innocence.”
|Photo by Musée Annam via Wikimedia Commons|
The Great Gatsby
Upon release, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third novel was at the mercy of savage reviews that The Independent says “failed to recognize something truly great.” For the British online newspaper, The Great Gatsby is close to a perfect “distillation of the hope, ambition, cynicism, and desire at the heart of the American Dream,” seen in the story of a self-made man.
|Photo by Pablo Sanchez Martin via Flickr|
In his novel, Franz Kafka foreshadowed the antisemitism in Europe during the Nazi occupation along with methods of the Stasi, KGB, and StB, according to Harvey. He says the “nightmarish tale of a man trapped in an unfathomable bureaucratic process after being arrested by two agents from an unidentified office for a crime they’re not allowed to tell him about” is disturbing and sometimes baffling as it resonates that of the future events in Europe.