10 BOOKS YOU SHOULD READ IN YOUR LIFETIME

The Bible

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies… The man who never reads lives only one”.
George R.R. Martin

Endless knowledge, unlimited imagination, greater understanding, stress relief and encouragement, are just a few benefits of reading. Immersing one’s self into stories of the main characters, analyzing their behavior, imagining their lives, and learning lessons are just a few of the pleasures that reading can provide. It is one of the most popular forms of entertainment that has survived through the years. But which books are best, and which are the most exciting and useful? The choice is immense, but the following are must-reads.

Mandatory Reading List for a Bookworm

The Bible

The Bible is the world’s bestselling book of all times. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, it has sold more than five trillion copies and has been translated into most existing languages. This ancient book remains current even now, being the most influential, cited, paraphrased, and read all over the globe. In fact, it is not a single book, but a combination of 66 smaller ones, each of them containing important messages and useful lessons. From Genesis to Revelation, it is filled with the spirit of truth, kindness, wisdom, and love.

1984 by George Orwell

This prescient piece of dystopian fiction has become a cliché over the years. Orwell’s insights into the lies, fear, and constant control of a totalitarian regime are realized in this thriller. The protagonist, Winston, strives to fight the contemporary ideology, resisting a gray world where someone is always watching you. Bravery is viewed as a deviation, but Winston Smith’s courage continues to strengthen, even in a world where free will, love, and individuality are forbidden.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Few, if any, lists of great books do not include Pride and Prejudice. Balls and bonnets are only small details of one of the world’s most famous novels featuring the courtship of two contradictory characters. Dive into the lives of people in Georgian England and feel the spirit of the time and fully understand the joy and pain of the main characters.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

There is no way for a sensitive and affectionate person not to be moved by the steeliest heroine of the book. “Small and plain”, Jane Eyre faces the cruelty of her boarding school once she becomes its governess. She demands the right to feel, think, and act the way she desires. An exciting story of a mad woman, her life, and fight with disfigurement are intriguing to read and consider.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

When F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third novel was introduced, it was greeted with savage reviews, and labeled with the tag “for the season only”. However, it seems that someone was mistaken as it turned out to be one of Fitzgerald’s greatest works. There is something truly remarkable about this novel, as it clarifies and sheds light on the ambition, cynicism, hope, and desire related to the American Dream.

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Intrigue, passion, compassion, love, and understanding are feelings that arise in the hearts of readers throughout this masterpiece. Opposing feelings overwhelm readers as they observe the erotic charge between bachelor Vronsky and married Anna. The scorn of society cannot deter their relationship nor persuade readers to turn on this couple.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

This astonishingly enduring and skillful work of Nabokov was initially banned from entering the UK. From the first pages, we meet Humbert, a professor and self-confessed murderer, who turns out to be the narrator of the novel. The story begins when he marries a widow, Charlotte Haze, in hopes of being closer to her 12-year-old daughter, Dolores. Charlotte calls her daughter Lo, while Humbert lovingly nicknames her Lolita. “Lolita, the light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul.” These words conclude the story and they capture both the love and pain woven throughout the novel.

Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee

Disgrace is a unique work of J. M. Coetzee, which can be compared to a very sharp, finely crafted knife resting against your neck. The story is filled with suspense and uneasiness from the very beginning. The author keeps the reader’s attention, without allowing even a breath to be taken, right up to the moment the story concludes.

The novel takes place in South Africa, bringing to light the prejudices of sexuality, class, race, and gender. Political correctness is not even mentioned here, only life, only reality. Readers can find a semblance of his/her own life in the way characters cope with problems and learn to survive as humans. Redemption is found only in the reshaping of one’s soul and reassessment of life itself.

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

The lyrical, haunting, and funny style of Haruki Murakami has attracted readers, making him one of the top Japanese authors both in the Western world and beyond its borders. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is written with the same impressive and mysterious writing style and filled with dreamlike surrealism, typical for the author. The task of the reader is to unravel this multi-layered, intricate tale. The novel tackles important topics including romantic disappointment, the nature of consciousness, as well as lingering wounds from World War II.

Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin

One of the famous masterpieces of Russian fiction leads its readers into the 19th-century in Russia, with its joys, problems, and challenges. Playful and serious, passionate, and ironic, the story has numerous sides. Pushkin strives to cover multiple topics and depict as many character types as possible. Excellent literary techniques help you delve into the writing and feel the spirit of life.

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Lika Emelyanova

Russian Time Magazine Contributor

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