10 Extraordinary Books to Read At Least Once In Your Life

For bookworms, one of the most comforting things in life is knowing that there will always be good stories to read. Particularly in a time when travel is so restricted, reaching for a great novel is an easy way to be transported to a different place or time, learn something new, and be entertained. 

This 'must-read' book list is comprised of critically acclaimed novels that are widely loved literary works. Many avid readers will have read these time and time again, and for those who don't read often, we highly recommend adding them to your list.

From a sci-fi novel that makes you question what it means to be human, to a romance story replete with satiric wordplay, these classic literary works written by some of the most renowned writers showcase the best of storytelling and should be read at least once in your life.

10 Must-Read Books to Add to Your List

1. 1984 by George Orwell

Published in 1946, this dystopian classic was written as a warning of the dangers of a totalitarian government. The harrowing tale recounts the story of Winston Smith, an unfortunate bureaucrat who lives in 'Oceania', where he is governed by constant surveillance. And while this novel was published 75 years ago, it feels particularly relevant and interesting in the current age where misinformation permeates the news and our social media feeds. 

2. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

F. Scott Fitzgerald's masterpiece boasts some of the most beautiful prose in English literature. Set in 'The Jazz Age', the story chronicles Jay Gatsby, a self-made man who makes remarkable efforts to attain great wealth and status as a socialite in order to win back the heart of Southern debutante, Daisy Buchanan. The novel shines a light on society's admiration of the self-made success story and acts as a lesson on how The American Dream is unattainable. 

3. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Wilde's genius is ubiquitous in this gothic and philosophical novel first published in 1890. It tells the story of an attractive young man's seduction, moral corruption, and eventual downfall. This thoroughly entertaining parable of the aesthetic ideal highlights society's obsession with external appearances.  

4. Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

This exquisite memoir by Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist Viktor Frankl shares his experiences as an Auschwitz concentration camp inmate during World War II. It outlines how his Logotherapy theories, that suggest the primary motivational force of an individual is to find a meaning in life, helped him to survive and were further reinforced by his experiences. This book offers invaluable lessons for spiritual survival. 

5. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

This entirely charming work is the world's most translated book. Despite it stylistically reading as a children's book, this timeless tale is beloved by adults for its philosophical ideas that touch upon themes like loneliness, loss, and love. It tells the story of a young prince who visits various planets in space gaining wisdom with each adventure.

6. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

A literary sensation, To Kill a Mockingbird explores themes of racial injustice, prejudice, class, and love. The story takes places in Maycomb, Alabama and centres on Tom Robinson, a Black man, who comes face to face with the racially prejudiced Southern legal system for being falsely accused of having raped a white girl. This deeply captivating novel highlights the roots and consequences of racism and prejudice.

7. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

For those who love a good romance story, you can't look past Pride & Prejudice. This classic love story follows the Bennett family and their five daughters as they navigate the intricacies of social status, manners, and relationship rituals in nineteenth-century England. This comedy of manners, like all Austen novels, has been injected with plenty of satire.

8. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K Dick

Those who enjoyed the Blade Runner films will be pleased to know that this science-fiction book was the inspiration behind them. Set in a post-apocalyptic San Francisco after the world has been devastated by nuclear war, bounty hunter Rick Deckard is hired to hunt down a group of escaped androids.  At its core, this novel is a story about what it means to be human and inhuman.

9. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Widely considered a classic, Jane Eyre is still a popular read today and not just because it's fun. From her love for Mr. Rochester to dealing with her abusive aunt, this story follows the struggles of its protagonist Jane and encourages the reader to look inward at how they struggle with their own values. 

10. The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

This compelling non-fiction book is comprised of two thought-provoking essays that passionately explore religion and racial injustice in The United States of America. It was first published amid the emerging civil rights movement and was written to reach a mass white audience and help them better understand Black Americans' struggle for equal rights.

Enjoyed this? Here are 12 Captivating Reads With Less Than 200 Pages

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