There are things you can do, things you should do, and things you have to do in life. The same categories apply to the next book you choose to read. For reasons ranging from rare treats to the fact that your book club meets in two days, you could read any number of books. You should surely read a few classic novels to broaden your literary horizons and learn something new. Then there are the novels you simply must read, perhaps the best literature of all time, regardless of who you are. There are several reasons why novels become must-reads, and it isn’t always due to their literary merit. We have listed some of the best books of all time down below.
Swann’s WayCheck Prices
J.R.R. TolkienCheck Prices
The CatcherCheck Prices
Crime and PunishmentCheck Prices
Jane EyreCheck Prices
Brave New WorldCheck Prices
The Adventures of Huckleberry FinnCheck Prices
To The LighthouseCheck Prices
The Prime of Miss Jean BrodieCheck Prices
In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust is undoubtedly the best novel of the twentieth century and one of the most fascinating reading experiences in any language. However, there hasn’t been a wholly fresh English edition since the original prewar translation. Beginning with Lydia Davis’s globally acclaimed translation of the first volume, Swann’s Way, Penguin Classics offers Proust’s masterpiece to new audiences around the world.
When Thorin Oakenshield and his gang of dwarves set out on a perilous mission to regain the wealth stolen from them by the wicked dragon Smaug, the wizard Gandalf offers an unusual ally: Bilbo Baggins, a quiet Hobbit who lives in tranquil Hobbiton. The plot follows hobbits Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin through Middle-earth to fight the Dark Lord Sauron, who had constructed the One Ring to rule the other Rings of Power as the ultimate weapon in his effort to conquer Middle-earth in an earlier period.
Dante Alighieri’s poetic masterpiece, The Divine Comedy, is a moving human drama, an unforgettable visionary journey through the infinite torment of Hell, up the arduous slopes of Purgatory, and on to the glorious realm of Paradise — the sphere of universal harmony and eternal salvation — that belongs in the company of the great works of literature.
The “brilliant, witty, significant novel” (The New Yorker) established J. D. Salinger as a leading figure in American literature—and implanted a lifelong love of reading in millions of readers all over the world. The protagonist and narrator of The Catcher in the Rye is Holden Caufield, a sixteen-year-old native New Yorker. He quits his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City for three days due to conditions that tend to impede mature, secondhand description.
Dostoevsky had had a difficult time in the two years leading up to the publication of Crime and Punishment. His wife and brother had died; the magazine he and his brother had founded, Epoch, had gone bankrupt due to debt; and he was facing debtor’s prison. He escaped to Wiesbaden with an advance for an unwritten manuscript, intending to earn enough money at the roulette table to pull himself out of debt. Instead, he lost all of his money and had to pawn his belongings and borrow money from friends to pay his hotel bill and return to Russia. One of his begging letters was addressed to a magazine editor, requesting an advance for yet another unwritten novel titled Crime and Punishment.
Jane Eyre, first published in 1847 under the pseudonym Currer Bell, exploded into the English literary scene, capturing the hearts of many of the world’s most prominent writers, including William Makepeace Thackeray, who called it a work “of extraordinary brilliance.” Bront’s masterpiece, widely recognised as a revolutionary novel, exposed the world to a radical new sort of heroine, one whose rebellious integrity and moral courage stood in stark contrast to the more acquiescent and malleable female heroines of the day. Jane Eyre is one of the world’s most beloved novels because it is passionate, dramatic, and startlingly modern.
Brave New World, Aldous Huxley’s profoundly important classic of world literature, is a probing vision of an unequal, technologically advanced future in which humans are genetically bred, socially indoctrinated, and pharmaceutically anesthetized to passively uphold an authoritarian ruling order–all at the cost of our freedom, full humanity, and perhaps even our souls. Huxley was a man of incomparable talents: an artist, a spiritual seeker, and one of history’s keenest observers of human nature and civilization. “A genius spent his life decrying the onward march of the Machine” (The New Yorker), Huxley was a man of incomparable talents: equally an artist, a spiritual seeker, and one of history’s keenest observers of human nature and civilization.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn provides an unmatched view into the pre-Civil War South as runaway white kid Huck Finn partners up with fugitive adult slave Jim as they flee by raft down the Mississippi River. Twain’s novel has long been one of the most challenged or banned books due to racist language. It can be read as an indictment of unenlightened nineteenth-century thinking or as a heartbreaking coming-of-age novel, but its place as one of the most influential books in American literature is undeniable.
As beautiful as the lighthouse is, there can never be any doubt that this is a story that is utterly stern and unforgiving. I believe it is a vision of reality in and of itself, in addition to being about the nature of reality. —From the introduction by Eudora Welty. On the Isle of Skye, the tranquil and maternal Mrs. Ramsay, the tragic yet absurd Mr. Ramsay, their children, and many guests are on vacation. Woolf creates a magnificent, emotional analysis of the complicated tensions and allegiances of family life, as well as the battle between men and women, from the seemingly little postponement of a visit to a local lighthouse.
Miss Jean Brodie, a teacher extraordinaire at Edinburgh’s Marcia Blaine School for Girls, is obviously, and outspokenly, in her prime.She is devoted to “her girls,” the students she selects to be her crème de la crème, in the application of her unconventional teaching methods, in her attraction to Teddy Lloyd, a married art master, in her affair with Gordon Lowther, a bachelor music master, and, most importantly, in her devotion to her girls, the students she selects to be her crème de la crème. Each of the Brodie sisters, Eunice, Jenny, Mary, Monica, Rose, and Sandy, is known for something, and Miss Brodie works to bring out the best in each of them.