What makes classic literature different from the others but their timeless romance and conflicts? Nonetheless, picking one of the best classic books of all time to read is so challenging and time-consuming.
To make life easier, here are our top recommendations on 10 best classic books of all time you must read:
1. The Great Gatsby
Who doesn’t know Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald (or F. Scott Fitzgerald)? Unless you have never heard The Great Gatsby during your literature class, you will know that this book is one of the best classic novels of all time.
Written in 1925, The Great Gatsby tells a story of a young man, Nick Carraway, and his life in New York City instead of the idealism of the ‘American Dream’. Delving into the Jazz Age perspective, this book offers dark criticisms over the social setting at the moment.
2. Don Quixote
Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote may belong to one of the best classic books to read and the most influential Spanish literature work also the most influential work of Spanish literature. Don Quixote, as the main character, and has successfully influenced many other works of art and literature ever since its first publication.
From the story perspective, the novel written in 1615 depicts the life of Don Quixote de la Mancha and his strive for the social code in medieval chivalry. Reading this classic literature is mood swinging, from its romance to the foolish actions of pursuing impractical ideals.
3. Jane Eyre
Do you know ‘Currer Bell’? Well, that is the pen name of Charlotte Brontë, the writer of Jane Eyre. Not until 1847, when the book’s first publication, women had to face gender discrimination when they had to hide their true identity accordingly.
Based on such social issues, the novel discusses female individualism through the social transformation of a poor and orphan character into a successful woman. On that account, Jane Eyre has ultimately reclaimed its ground-breaking literary credits as one of the top classic books of all time.
4. To Kill a Mockingbird
1960 marked a significant time when Harper Lee had successfully published her first novel titled To Kill a Mockingbird. Only a year later, this book won the Pulitzer Prize, which earned the credits as classic literature.
The story focuses on the issues of racial inequality happening in 1930’s American life. Deep analysis on social concerns, To Kill a Mockingbird also delivers warm humor and humanity alongside. It is controversially Lee’s first and only book ever published, including the other draft of Go Set a Watchman.
5. Pride and Prejudice
A romantic yet satirical work of fiction may best describe Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Written in 1813, this classic fiction has prominently inspired so many pieces of modern literature, not to mention its success selling over 20 million copies during the time. Thus, it comes as one of the best fiction books of all time.
The story narrates the dynamic protagonist of Elizabeth Bennet and her character development. The satire of this novel exposes the readers to the fact of subtle differences between two kinds of goodness, the actual and the artificial one.
6. One Hundred Years of Solitude
A Nobel Prize winner for literature in 1982, Gabriel García Màrquez has brought One Hundred Years of Solitude into classic work of fiction ever since. No wonder that this fantastic book deserves its credits as one of the best classic books to read.
Márquez emphasized the power of mysticism through folktales and historical beliefs in Latin American culture. Meanwhile, the narration focuses on the seven generations of the Buendía family. Conflicts scatter all over the story, and somehow, readers will see so many extraordinary nature of banal objects.
The basic form of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet constituted a play in around 1602. The public considers this work of fiction the most extended play Shakespeare ever made, elaborating about 29,551 words therein. What makes Hamlet so classic?
The word ‘tragedy’ is prevalent among Shakespearean communities. Setting in Renaissance Denmark, this book portrays the revenge of Prince Hamlet against his uncle, Claudius, who attempted to seize the throne and marry his mother after the murder of the former king.
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984)
Never has classic literature been so influential and foretelling the terror of the future but George Orwell’s 1984. After its authorization in 1949, Nineteen Eighty-Four has received several challenges and bans for its propagandistic and critical content against totalitarianism.
Aside from its social and political concerns, Orwell’s notable terms to depict the nightmare of a dictatorship have made them almost instantly recognizable. By reading 1984, readers will learn words like ‘doublethink’, ‘thought police’, ‘newspeak’, etc.
Traumatic experiences may linger longer in our minds than we may expect. The American Writer Toni Morrison has brought Beloved to light since its debut in 1987. Right after its publication, Beloved earned the Pulitzer Prize for literary work of fiction in 1988.
The setting takes the story of Sethe, an escaped slave who ran away to Ohio in 1873. A thick psychological depiction of guilt and emotional pain, the story has its more significant portion for. Readers will somehow find the significance of family or community in healing the slavery traumatism.
10. Anna Karenina
Avid readers fond of juicy subjects relating to adultery, gambling, and marriage issues must know one of these Russian works of fiction. Leo Tolstoy has successfully published Anna Karenina in 1878. The main focus of this novel is somewhat similar to Jane Eyre’s but with some Russian settings and social conflicts.
This work of fiction sternly discusses the love affairs among its central characters, more specifically (and rather sadistically) about Anna as the central figure. The love theme herein is intriguing, and reading it thoroughly is sophisticating and yet very challenging.
As we all know, the time has no power to elude classic literature from its influence and existence. For sure, there are ways more than those 10 best novels of all time you can find, though. But at least you can make a list of the good reading starters if you wish for the best classic books of all time.