There are so many books in this world that it is depressing to think how many you probably won’t ever get to read (I know, I don’t even want to talk about it). There are a few, however, that deserve to have light shone on them and attention called. For that reason, I give you 10 books everyone should read at least once in their life.
- The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
I still remember first reading this in high school. This novel was absolutely brilliant to me, having never read so intricately woven a tale before, at that point at least. I’ve since read books that had complicated and circling plots that reminded me strongly of The Count of Monte Cristo, and it will forever remain one of my favorites ever. I think everyone should read this at least once in their life.
- The Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling
If you’ve read my Harry Potter Time of Year post, it should come as no surprise that Harry Potter makes this list. As many times as I’ve reread this series, it is definitely one I feel everyone should read in their lifetime. I think anyone can appreciate this tale in some form or another, and its magic never diminishes. If you haven’t, do yourself a favor and read the books; don’t even talk to me about the movies, they don’t even count as the same thing to me.
- Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
I don’t remember exactly what age I was, elementary school years blend together in some ways, but I do remember the scholastic book fairs, and first finding this book. Someone read the first chapter or so to us, and I was hooked. It’s a spin on the Cinderella tale that taught me a lesson about love that I’ve held to my heart for many years. This is another where the “movie version” ceases to exist in my reality. There is only this wonderful book worth a read, whether adult or child.
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
For all of the faults in Jane Eyre that were common of the era, it’s still a wonderful piece of literature (though I’m personally not a fan of the pages of pure ecclesiastical ramblings). For all of Austen’s accalim, there’s just something about Bronte’s words, Jane’s love for Mr. Rochester and the image of the big oak tree that forever will enchant me and be worthy of returning to. At least once, you must live the life of Jane Eyre.
- Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Now we get to a life altering, paradigm shifting book. This was not given its proper due in high school and droves of teenagers allow this book to slip through their fingers with its incredibly important messages unheard. I cannot count how many times I have quoted this book (or Bradbury in general) in my life. It’s a must read, don’t let them win…keep reading!
- The Graveyard Book/ Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
I honestly couldn’t decide which of these to put up here, including a couple of his other works. Neil Gaiman has a style and way of telling a story that is unique. I enjoy reading his books because they inspire me as a reader, and an author; he always reminds me to use every bit of my imagination, that anything can happen. His work definitely needs a perusal at least once in your life.
- A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
This one in particular resonates with me as a woman. Virginia Woolf’s words will echo for years to come, and if you read nothing else from her, read this. I will never forget the image that came to mind as I read the description of all the book shelves empty and waiting to be filled with the words of women writers. There are themes in this book that are worth being visited, no matter the year.
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
This is another incredibly important piece of fiction that is, sadly, poignantly and disturbingly close to a true story. Even today, the issues put forth in this brilliant novel are still in dire need of revisiting; mental health facilities need a change and reform. I will never forget this truly provoking work and it deserves to be read in this lifetime.
- 1984 by George Orwell
One of the dystopian novels that built the genre, everyone needs to read 1984. The hope is to learn from and avoid the measures and mistakes allowed to be taken by the government in this all too realistic “fiction” novel. It’s an eye opener and a question producer, and that’s exactly why it needs to be spread and read.
- Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
I know that parts of it are incredibly pompous (*cough Victor cough*), and in general it’s very grandiose in language, but there are some amazing ideas in this book worth absorbing and studying. It’s worth the read to be able to discuss the behavior and ramifications of Victor’s actions, whether or not you feel more for Frankenstein, or the Creature. I’ve always felt the real monster was in the shape of a man, but please feel free to read and discuss with me if you disagree ;). There are some lessons worth learning in this life and this book poses even more interesting questions that necessitate it’s being read at least once in your life.
There are so many books, and with so many talented authors managing to get their voices and work out there, more every day. There are some, however, that will forever be timeless and deserve to be read. These are 10 of…well, I have no idea how many others I may think of…Even as I wrote this I knew I would have to cut it, so stay tuned for Part Two!
How many have you read from this list so far? What are your thoughts?