Books are the best way to gain knowledge and understanding of the world. They can take us to places and times we could never otherwise experience. They can also provide us with insight into the human condition and the complexities of life. This list of highly recommended books to read is designed to provide readers with a selection of some of the most important and influential works of literature from the past century.
The books on this list span a range of genres and topics, from classic novels to modern works of fiction, and from social commentary to philosophical treatises. They are all written by some of the most renowned authors of the 20th century, and each of them has something unique to offer. Whether you are looking for a gripping story, a thought-provoking exploration of the human condition, or an exploration of the power of language, there is something here for everyone.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the most highly recommended books to read.
2. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel The Great Gatsby is a classic of American literature. It tells the story of Jay Gatsby, a mysterious and wealthy man living in the fictional town of West Egg on Long Island. Through the eyes of narrator Nick Carraway, we are introduced to Gatsby’s lavish parties and his obsessive love for Daisy Buchanan, a married woman from an upper-class family.
The Great Gatsby is set in the Jazz Age of the 1920s, a time of great excess and materialism. It is a commentary on the American Dream and its promises of wealth and success. Gatsby’s story is a cautionary tale about the dangers of chasing after the dream and the consequences of living outside of the law.
The novel is known for its complex characters and its vivid descriptions of the Jazz Age. Fitzgerald’s use of symbolism and imagery brings the story to life. Gatsby’s green light, the Valley of Ashes, and the eyes of Dr. T.J. Eckleburg are all iconic symbols of the novel.
The Great Gatsby is also a reflection of Fitzgerald’s own life. Like Gatsby, Fitzgerald was an ambitious young man who wanted to make something of himself. He was also a dreamer who was ultimately unable to achieve his goals. The novel is an exploration of the limits of the American Dream and the disillusionment that comes with it.
The Great Gatsby is a classic of American literature that has been adapted for stage and screen numerous times. Its themes of ambition, love, and loss are as relevant today as they were when the novel was first published. It is a timeless story that will continue to be read and studied for generations to come.
3. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, is a timeless classic that has been read and reread by generations of readers. Published in 1960, this novel tells the story of a young girl, Scout Finch, and her family living in the small town of Maycomb, Alabama during the Depression-era. The novel follows Scout and her brother Jem as they learn lessons about racism, justice, and morality while growing up in the segregated South.
The novel is narrated by Scout, and her perspective on the events of the novel gives readers a unique and powerful insight into the lives of African Americans during this time period. Through Scout’s eyes, readers are able to witness the racism, prejudice, and injustice that was rampant in the South. The novel also explores themes of courage, morality, and justice, and it is these themes that have resonated with readers for decades.
At its core, To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel about compassion and understanding. Despite the racism and prejudice that exists in Maycomb, Scout and her father, Atticus Finch, strive to treat everyone with respect and dignity. Atticus is a moral and upright man who serves as a role model for Scout, teaching her valuable lessons about justice and morality.
The novel also contains some of the most memorable characters in literature, such as the mysterious Boo Radley and the enigmatic Tom Robinson. These characters provide a window into the lives of the people in Maycomb, and they help to illustrate the themes of racism, justice, and morality that are explored in the novel.
To Kill a Mockingbird is a classic novel that has captivated readers for decades. Its powerful themes of justice, courage, and morality have resonated with readers of all ages, and it is a book that will continue to be read and discussed for years to come.
4. 1984 by George Orwell
George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984 is one of the most iconic and influential works of literature of the 20th century. Published in 1949, it paints a bleak picture of a future in which citizens of a totalitarian state are constantly monitored, their every move and thought controlled by an oppressive government.
The protagonist of the novel, Winston Smith, is a member of the Outer Party, the lowest class of citizens in the state of Oceania. He is employed by the government to rewrite history, but he secretly rebels against the oppressive regime by keeping a diary and forming a forbidden relationship with a fellow Party member, Julia.
The novel follows Winston’s journey to resist the oppressive government and its leader, Big Brother. As the story progresses, Winston’s rebellion leads him to discover the truth about the government’s lies and the true nature of its oppressive rule. He ultimately discovers that he cannot escape the oppressive regime and is forced to accept his fate.
The novel is a powerful exploration of the effects of totalitarianism and government control on the individual. It serves as a warning against the dangers of a society in which freedom and individuality are suppressed.
The novel’s themes are still relevant today, as many countries around the world continue to suffer under oppressive governments. The novel is also a powerful critique of the dangers of unchecked technological power and its potential to be used to control and manipulate citizens.
The novel remains one of the most influential works of literature of the 20th century, inspiring countless adaptations, including films, television shows, and even a musical. It is a must-read for anyone interested in literature, politics, or the power of government.
5. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
J.D. Salinger’s 1951 novel, The Catcher in the Rye, is one of the most beloved and widely read books of all time. It tells the story of Holden Caulfield, a teenage boy who is struggling to make sense of the world around him. Through his journey, the reader is exposed to Holden’s unique perspective on life, and the struggles he faces as he attempts to find his place in society.
The novel follows Holden’s journey as he moves from one place to another, while trying to make sense of his life. Along the way, he meets a variety of characters, some of whom he likes and some of whom he doesn’t. He also encounters a number of difficult situations, including his expulsion from school, his run-in with a prostitute, and his eventual breakdown in a mental hospital. Through all of these experiences, Holden is forced to confront his own inner demons and come to terms with the world around him.
The novel is renowned for its unique and powerful narrative style, as well as its exploration of themes such as alienation, identity, and the search for meaning in life. Salinger’s use of language is masterful, and he is able to capture the essence of Holden’s inner thoughts and feelings in a way that is both relatable and moving.
The novel has been praised for its honest and unflinching look at the struggles of adolescence, and its exploration of the complexities of human nature. It is a timeless classic that has inspired generations of readers, and its themes are still relevant today. The Catcher in the Rye is a must-read for anyone looking to gain insight into the human condition.
Reading classic literature is a great way to broaden our perspectives and gain insights into the human condition. From the tragedy of Gatsby’s unrequited love to the timeless lessons of courage and justice in To Kill a Mockingbird, these books have stood the test of time and continue to be relevant today. In 1984, George Orwell paints a chilling picture of a dystopian future, while J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye provides a unique look into the teenage mind.
No matter which book you choose, you can be sure that you’ll be reading a timeless classic. These books have been read and re-read by generations of readers, and their messages still resonate today. Whether you’re looking for a thought-provoking read or just want to immerse yourself in a great story, these five books are highly recommended. So grab a copy and start reading today!