We all know those books that have always been famous. Literature that will always be read, discussed, and analyzed even years after its release. What makes these books so timeless? What can we still learn from them today? Here’s a collection of famous books that still make an impact in the literary world.
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
After getting expelled from Pencey Prep, Holden Caulfield decides to spend some solo time in New York City. He meets a variety of people as he wafts through the city and learns a lot about what he wants out of life. He wants to get away from hypocrites and find real meaning.
Teen angst is never going to get old, and this book is the pinnacle of it. Whether you love it or you hate it, Holden Caulfield has gone down in history. His three-day escapade through New York City has all the reflecting, judging, and freedom a rebellious teenager could want. It encapsulates the loneliness of growing up and learning about the world for yourself.
1984 by George Orwell
George Orwell’s terrifying look into our future world is still referenced and analyzed 74 years after its publication. Winston Smith lives in Oceania under the Party and Big Brother, who is always watching. The government limits all forms of individual freedom, going so far as prohibiting free thought. The book follows Winston as he gradually goes against the Party and becomes hateful of it. What happens when those feelings are revealed?
The presence of surveillance and propaganda in this novel makes it a nightmare reality. With our rise in technology, however, Orwell might have been a bit early in his ideas but maybe not wrong. Conversations about internet spying and fake news seem to be precursors of what might happen to our world. Nevertheless, it’s a story that sticks with every reader.
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein
One of the most famous fantasy series of all time, The Lord of the Rings, is timeless. First published in 1955, it has been enjoyed and praised by multiple generations and will be passed down for years to come. Tasked with destroying the Ring, Frodo goes on a fantastic journey through Middle-earth and meets a variety of memorable characters.
Beloved by many, The Lord of the Rings is one of the most famous franchises ever. It embodies many human traits among its supernatural races that resonate with readers. With a successful film adaptation as well, it has garnered a wide audience across all mediums. It’s a classic that will go down in history.
The Shining by Stephen King
With Stephen King, there were many options I could have picked, but this one never gets old. Jack Torrance and his family spend the winter taking care of the Overlook Hotel. He hopes to gain a fresh start with this new job and have quality time with his family. However, things start to take a turn when ominous forces awake, and little Danny Torrance is the only one to notice.
Especially with the 1980 movie adaptation, The Shining is a horror staple. At its core, it’s a classic haunted house scary story. But if you look deeper, there’s so much more to the characters and their dynamics. King made their internal conflicts compelling and left audiences intrigued until the end. I definitely see this being an immortal horror favorite.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
One of the most famous romance novels ever, Jane Eyre combines the gothic genre with drama, love, and mystery. Jane Eyre is an orphan mistreated by her aunt and cousins who starts working for the mysterious Mr. Rochester as a governess. When the truth about him and his esteemed Thornfield Hall starts to reveal, Jane has to choose between what is safe and what is right.
This novel leaves you on the edge of your seat. The Brontës are, of course, very famous and admired, and for good reason. Jane Eyre has fantastic characterization, plot, dynamics, and commentary on the social norms of the time. It’s a lasting story about the burdens of love, class, and gender and is regarded as a masterpiece.
Despite their varying genres, all of these books are pinnacles of literature in their unique way. A common thread they share is reader immersion. As you read these books, you can find a humane connection with all the characters, even if they’re not quite relatable. Making those emotional ties to the characters regardless of their environment, story, or societal position helps these books stay relevant. Readers from the past and the future can enjoy and benefit from these stories.
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