12 Classic Books That Will Change Your Life
Reading can become a serious but positive addiction once you indulge into it. Many studies and experiments have proved that books can have a huge impact on your mind. They cause biological changes; researchers have found that a powerful story can create ‘muscle memory’ in the brain in the same way as if the events and facts had actually happened to the reader. It is interesting that a good book is usually universal, it can affect people of all ages, social status, nationality etc.
Below you will find a list of 11 books that have changed lives of many bibliophiles; if you haven’t read them yet, do it now, because reading is one of the best pleasures of human being.
1.To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
The book published in 1960 gained popularity and success immediately. It has won the Pulitzer Prize, and has become classic of modern American Literature. The story and characters are based on the author’s observations of her family and neighbors. She also tells about the story that happened to her near her hometown at the age of 10. The novel deserved popularity due to its warmth and humor, even though it touches the serious issues of rape and racial inequality. Atticus Finch, the narrator’s father, has become a moral hero for many readers and a model of integrity for lawyers. One of the critics, describing the novel’s impact says that To Kill a Mockingbird is probably one of the most widely read books about race-related problems in America, and its protagonist, Atticus Finch is the most enduring fictional image of racial heroism.”
2.The Trial, by Franz Kafka
The Trial is one of Kafka’s best-known works. It tells the story of a man who was arrested and prosecuted by a remote, inaccessible authority and the nature of his crime was revealed to neither him nor the reader. It is a very telling illustration of the nightmare that a powerless man can experience due to bureaucracy and injustice. Kafka’s novels, are mostly incomplete and so is the Trial, but it does include a chapter which brings the story to an end. There are some inconsistencies and discontinuities in narration within the novel, e.g. disparities in timing. Kafka is regarded by critics as one of the most influential authors of the 20th century. Kafka strongly influenced genres such as existentialism.
3.The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
The Catcher in the Rye, a 1951 novel by J. D. Salinger was originally written for adults, however, it has since gained popularity among adolescent readers for its themes of teenage angst and alienation. More than 250 000 copies are sold every year worldwide. The book is translated in almost all major languages. The novel’s protagonist, Holden Caulfield, has become an icon for teenage antagonism. The Times included the novel among 100 the best English-language novels written since 1923. Moreover, Modern Library and its readers named The Catcher in the Rye as one of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. The novel deals with complex issues of identity, connection, belonging and alienation.
4.The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Brothers Karamazov is Dostoevsky’s final novel. Dostoyevsky spent nearly two years writing The Brothers Karamazov. It is a passionate philosophical novel set in 19th century Russia. It enters deeply into the ethical debates of God, morality and free will. This spiritual drama conveys moral struggles concerning faith, doubt, and reason, facing a modernizing Russia. Dostoyevsky composed the novel in Staraya Russa which inspired the main setting. The Brothers Karamazov has been acclaimed as one of the supreme achievements in literature.
5.Hamlet, Prince of Denmark by William Shakespeare
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, a tragedy by William Shakespeare takes place in the Kingdom of Denmark. It tells about Prince Hamlet’s revenge on his uncle Claudius for murdering his father King Hamlet (who is Claudius’s brother) and taking over the throne and marrying the old king’s widow and Prince Hamlet’s mother, Gertrude. The play vividly conveys true and feigned madness, overwhelming grief and seething rage and explores themes of revenge, incest, treachery and moral corruption. Being the Shakespeare’s longest play, Hamlet is regarded as the most powerful and influential tragedies in English literature. It is also the most performed worldwide. It has inspired writers like Goethe and Dickens and even Joyce and Murdoch. The tragedy of Hamlet is also the world’s most filmed story after Cinderella”.
6.Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
Anna Karenina, a poignant and heartbreaking novel is about intense passion and love as well as the repercussions of infidelity and jealousy. The book tells of the tragic love affair between the sensuous and rebellious Anna and attractive officer, Count Vronsky. The tragedy starts from the moment Anna rejects her passionless marriage and stands against the hypocrisies of society. The story takes place in the nineteenth-century Russia and plays out the contrasts of city and country life and all the variations on love and family happiness. This classic story of doomed love created by Leo Tolstoy is one of the most admired novels in world literature. Generations of readers have been fascinated by his magnificent and courageous heroine, the unhappily married Anna Karenina, and her tragic affair with Count Vronsky.
7.A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens
Christmas Carol is a novella by Charles Dickens, an English writer. It tells the story of a bitter old miser Ebenezer Scrooge, and about his transformation after supernatural visits by Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmases from Past, Present and future. The book has made one of the greatest impacts in reviving the old Christmas traditions of England. It brings to the reader images of joy, warmth, light and life and at the same time it shows unforgettable images of despair, coldness, darkness, sadness and death. Scrooge is an embodiment of winter but his cold heart restores and becomes as innocent as in his childhood and youth, just like winter is followed by spring and summer.
8.The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
The Little Prince is a novella written by a French aristocrat, poet, writer and an aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. It tells about curiosity, beauty, love, and loss, seen from innocent eyes of a little Prince who lives on a little planet and is in love with a rose. Little Prince is the most read and most translated book in the French language. It was ranked as the best book of the 20th century in France. The book is translated into more than 250 languages and dialects and Braille. Over a million copies are sold per year worldwide. It is one of the favorite books for children and the adults. “Goodbye,” said the fox. “And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
9.Hundred years of solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
One Hundred Years of Solitude tells the multi-generational story of the Buendia family whose patriarch José Arcadio Buendía establishes the town of Macondo. It is the story of the triumph and disaster, birth and death, joy and despair of Buendias and the mythical town of Macondo.
One hundred years of Solitude, with its inventive, magnetic, amusing, sad and alive pictures, unforgettable men and women, compassion, truth and soul-striking magic is a masterpiece in the art of fiction and a very important representative of Latin American literature of the 20th century.
10.Harry Potter by J.K.Rowling
Harry Potter is truly a book that has influenced young generations of the late 20th century. It is a series of seven fantasy novels created by the British author J. K. Rowling. It depicts a chronicle of the adventures of a wizard, Harry Potter, and his friends, students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The main story is about Harry’s hunt for the Dark wizard Lord Voldemort. The latter intends to become immortal, invade the wizard world, subjugate non-magical people, and destroy all those who dare to stand in his way, especially Harry Potter. The book has gained immense popularity as well as criticism immediately after release. Also, it has brought a huge commercial success worldwide, the book series has sold more than 450 million copies becoming the best and fastest-selling book series in history. The series of Harry Potter include many genres, such as fantasy, mystery, thriller, romance and adventure but like the author says the main theme is death.
11.Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley is one of the most bewitching and insidious works of literature ever written and this is not an exaggeration. The book has become a false symbol for any regime of universal happiness. Huxley turns future, where we’re all notionally happy, into the archetypal dystopia, and if it’s technically feasible, why can’t we use biotechnology to get rid of mental pain altogether? Brave New World is a place which is free from love and passion. It raises disturbing feelings in the reader, the society it depicts has notionally vanquished, and the reader does not have a sense of joyful anticipation. The world described by Huxley is a “nightmare”. The author didn’t intend to make us think how wonderful our lives could be if the human genome were intelligently rewritten. In Brave New World happiness is associated with consuming mass-produced goods, sports, promiscuous sex, “the feelies”, and what’s more a supposedly perfect pleasure-drug, soma. In 1999, the Modern Library ranked Brave New World fifth on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.
12.Nineteen eighty-four by George Orwel
Nineteen eighty-four was meant to be a dystopian science fiction novel but it is turning out more and more true today. The story takes place in Airstrip One (formerly known as Great Britain). It is a province of the superstate Oceania in a world of perpetual war, with government surveillance and public mind control dictated by a political system. The system is euphemistically named English Socialism. It is a story of a man who lives a life where the government controls everything and people are punished for independent thinking and decisions. The government monitors and taps everything. The tyranny is epitomized by Big Brother, a Party leader who enjoys an intense cult of personality, but who may not even exist. The Big Brother and the Party justify their oppressive rule by intention to bring greater good. William Smith, a protagonist of the novel is a member of the Outer Party and works for the Ministry of Truth. The latter is responsible for propaganda and historical revisionism. His main duties include rewriting past newspaper so that the historical record always supports the current party line. Smith is a hard-working and skilful worker, but secretly he hates the Party and dreams of rebellion against Big Brother. Many of the terms and concepts used in the book 1984 have entered everyday use since its publication back in 1949: Big Brother, Newspeak, Room 101, doublethink, thoughtcrime, 2 + 2 = 5, Telescreenand memory hole. Moreover, the book has popularized the adjective Orwellian, which means secret surveillance, official deception and manipulation of the past by a totalitarian or authoritarian state.
Source : lifespan