Timeless Books you should have read at least once in your life
If you're looking for a master list of books everyone should read at least once in their lifetime, the ones that everyone should get around to reading sooner, rather than later, this reading list is a great place to start.
These books have stood—and are standing—the test of time, which is why we think they should be on your must-read list. We’re betting a few of them already are.
- Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy:
- The stranger, Albert Camus:
- To kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee:
- Tess of the D'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy:
- Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen:
- One hundred years of solitude, Gabriel Gracia Marquez:
- War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy:
- The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald:
- Hamlet, William Shakespeare:
Themed around the complexity of experience and human relationships, Woolf has most gracefully expressed the words as thoughts and observations rather than dialogues and actions in her book. Reflecting the complex tensions of family life and bouncing back and forth between philosophy, psychology and storytelling in an interweaving of narrative and personal reflection, this book is a great success in “stream of consciousness” style.
A Leo Tolstoy on the list, Anna Karenina is considered Tolstoy’s first true novel and one of the greatest books written in the 19th century. Though the plot tends to centre on an extramarital affair between Anna and officer Alexei, this book is not just about the scandal; it is about faith, family, marriage, betrayal, desire and a contemporary life in Russia. In this book, Tolstoy has excellently shown that despite what we tend to believe, getting what you wanted does not always bring happiness.
Considered a classic of the 20th century, The Stranger is a novel by French author Albert Camus. This book revolves around the story of Mersault, reflects human absurdity and is themed on how inherently meaningless life is. The depth Camus manages to convey through simplicity is astounding. When reading this book, you live through the hollowness and emptiness of Mersault’s soul and ask yourself a question, “If we exist in a world devoid of meaning, why is it that our actions bear so much weight?
Translated to about 40 different languages and sold more than 30 million copies worldwide, To kill a Mockingbird is an enormously popular novel. The book subtly raises the darker sides of roots and consequences of racism and prejudice and how it can awaken in a child’s consciousness. It has been awarded Pulitzer prize in 1961 and Scout remains a favourite character in the heart of many readers.
Tragically bleak and yet so fantastically written, Tess of d’ Urbervilles is a masterpiece by Hardy that challenged the sexual morals of late Victorian England. Very conventional and polarizing, Tess’s personification and the “ache of modernism” reflected in her nature makes this novel stand out and be one of the greatest literary delights.
One of the most popular novels in English language, Pride and Prejudice has delighted its readers for years. It revolves around Elizabeth Bennet, the dynamic protagonist of the book and follows her character development, in all the narrow pride and prejudice psychology. This romantic novel with its unswerving accuracy and satire is bewitching.
Following through the multi-generational story of a family, reflecting on the desire for solitude and the need for love, Marquez has defined genre “magical realism” with this extraordinary book. The book’s poetic language, historical scope, and thematic and symbolic complexity takes you back to Columbia, and you could never get exhausted in the layers of its meaning.
Another Tolstoy on the list, War and Peace is regarded as Tolstoy’s finest literary achievements, this historical fiction chronicles the French invasion of Russia with the help of stories of five Russian aristocratic families. It gives us a taste of the historical version of chaos theory and has a tingling philosophical opinion.
Acclaimed by generations of readers, this exemplary novel is written in the “jazz age” and is a literary classic. It provides a critical social history of America through characters like Jay Gatsby who is a shady millionaire and is has a romantic history with Daisy Buchanan who is the wife of another millionaire, Tom Buchanan.
The tragedy of Hamlet, usually shortened to “Hamlet” is a play set in Denmark and follows prince Hamlet, who seeks revenge on his uncle Claudius for killing his father and marrying his widow mother Gertrude. This play has been for ever considered very influential and has several perspectives to it. Shakespeare undoubtedly takes us to a whole another world with his words.