12 Must-Read Books

Books are one of the few things available that can’t compare to movies, television, video games, and spending time with friends. Here are 12 books that every book lover should read:

The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
The story of the fabulously wealthy Jay Gatsby and his love for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan and lavish parties on Long Island. It is an exquisitely crafted tale of America in the 1920s.

1984 – George Orwell
Winston Smith toes the Party line, rewriting history to satisfy the demands of the Ministry of Truth. With each lie he writes, Winston grows to hate the Party that seeks power for its own sake and persecutes those who dare to commit thoughtcrimes. But as he starts to think for himself, Winston can’t escape the fact that Big Brother is always watching…

To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
Set in the small Southern town of Maycomb, Alabama, during the Depression, To Kill a Mockingbird follows the life of 8-year-old Scout Finch, her brother, Jem, and their father, Atticus–three years punctuated by the arrest and eventual trial of a young black man accused of raping a white woman. Though her story explores big themes, Harper Lee chooses to tell it through the eyes of a child. The result is a tough and tender novel of race, class, justice, and the pain of growing up.

Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
The story of Victor Frankenstein’s terrible creation and the havoc it caused has enthralled generations of readers and inspired countless writers of horror and suspense.

Robinson Crusoe – Daniel DeFoe
A fictional autobiography of the title character (whose birth name is Robinson Kreutznaer) – a castaway who spends years on a remote tropical island near Trinidad, encountering cannibals, captives, and mutineers before being rescued.

War & Peace – Leo Tolstoy
Focuses on Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812 and follows three of the most well-known characters in literature: Pierre Bezukhov, the illegitimate son of a count who is fighting for his inheritance and yearning for spiritual fulfillment; Prince Andrei Bolkonsky, who leaves his family behind to fight in the war against Napoleon; and Natasha Rostov, the beautiful young daughter of a nobleman who intrigues both men.

Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
They are an unlikely pair: George is “small and quick and dark of face”; Lennie, a man of tremendous size, has the mind of a young child. Yet they have formed a “family,” clinging together in the face of loneliness and alienation.

Don Quixote – Miguel de Cervantes
Don Quixote has become so entranced reading tales of chivalry that he decides to turn knight errant himself. In the company of his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, these exploits blossom in all sorts of wonderful ways.

The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
The hero-narrator is an ancient child of sixteen, a native New Yorker named Holden Caulfield. Through circumstances that tend to preclude adult, secondhand description, he leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City for three days.

Catch-22 – Joseph Heller
Set in Italy during World War II, this is the story of the incomparable, malingering bombardier, Yossarian, a hero who is furious because thousands of people he has never met are trying to kill him. But his real problem is not the enemy—it is his own army, which keeps increasing the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service.

Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
Lockwood, the new tenant of Thrushcross Grange, is forced to seek shelter one night at Wuthering Heights, the home of his landlord. There he discovers the history of the tempestuous events that took place years before; of the intense relationship between the gypsy foundling Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw; and how Catherine, forced to choose between passionate, tortured Heathcliff and gentle, well-bred Edgar Linton, surrendered to the expectations of her class.

Moby Dick – Herman Melville
Moby Dick is the story of Captain Ahab’s quest to avenge the whale that ‘reaped’ his leg. The quest is an obsession and the novel is a diabolical study of how a man becomes a fanatic.

-Claire

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