This is a tale that's spawned countless movies and TV character inspirations, yet none really live up to the book itself. And that's because Oscar Wilde set up an amazing world and vivid characters that lets your imagination really take over.
Winner of the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Award for Fiction, The Color Purple focuses on the lives of African-American women in the 30s, and addresses many feminist issues, including the low position they held in American social culture. This novel is also controversial for being frequently banned by schools and libraries.
This one is a must-read for every aspiring tortured writer or wanderluster wanting to go on their cross-country American road trip. Plus, it's been a source of inspiration to icons like Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Jim Morrison, and Hunter S. Thompson.
This is one of the most influential works of the Spanish Golden Age and the founding work of modern Western literature. Don Quixote follows the life of a regular hidalgo, who reads so many chivalric romances that he becomes deluded and vows to lead a life undoing wrongs, reviving chivalry and bring justice to the world. Like an Ancient Times Spanish Batman times of sorts.
Completing this novel does require gargantuan motivation due to its length, but it's been considered one of the most important works of modernist literature, and has been called "a demonstration and summation of the entire movement". To understand the genre, you really must get to know this book.
This pivotal piece of work is essential reading to understanding prejudice, identity and a unique perspective on WWII. Her writing charts her growing maturity and self-awareness as she processes the relationships around her through her innermost thoughts
The first read might seem excessive and a little of a downer, thanks to Nick Carraway's narration. But it's precisely why you need to read it again, this time paying attention to the beautiful fantasy of Gatsby himself.
To be or not to be? Many consider this play as one of the best in the literary world. It's got passion, violence, power, murder, vengeance, ghosts - what else do you need to make it anymore interesting?
It's long and old, yet has remained a classic simply because it's a great story about being strong and self-reliant, about wanting all that the world has to offer without compromising on integrity. #girlpower
Winner of the 1924 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction, A Passage to India is pivotal work as its set against the Indian Independence Movement. Forster accurately depicts the racial tensions and prejudices between the colonial British as well as the indigenous Indians.
The Grapes of Wrath chronicles the lives of poor farmers making their way to California due to the Great Depression and Dust Bowl. Winner of the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1939, as well as the main reason why Steinbeck was grated the Nobel Prize for Literature, The Grapes of Wrath will likely remain as one of the best pieces of literature over time. It's been banned and burned and criticised harshly, but it was widely-read and sold out.
Deception, secret surveillance and manipulation of recorded history... Guess George Orwell wasn't too far off when he was trying to predict a future. Published in 1949, the novel has continued to influenced popular culture even till today.
Alongside many female writers of the Victorian era, Jane Austen was famous for her feminist and empowering portrayals of women in her novels. Pride and Prejudice may be over a hundred years old, but the characters remain fresh still. Boy-crazy, shopaholic sisters, a nerdy Liz Bennet. Give them a camera crew and they might just be the new Kardashians.
Moby Dick is that cautionary tale that your parents want you to read, but it seems too long-winded. But no seriously, it's got real lessons in this that teaches you about sympathy, forced perspectives and giving up. Yes, the whale is evil, but does that make Ahab any more nobler?