Bookshelf Essentials: 7 Top Novels You Can’t Miss

Lets take a look at some of the most influential and essential reads your bookshelf should definitely have stored upon it.

Book Culture Classics Fiction Opinions Recommendations
woman reading while drinking coffee in a cozy blanket.

We’ve all come across them. Those books that grip you so intensely that you stay up all night, completely absorbed in the story. Time slips away, and before you know it, it’s suddenly 3 a.m. But with just 30 more pages to go, why stop now? After all, you wouldn’t be able to sleep anyway. You’d lie in bed, your mind racing with endless possibilities, unable to tear yourself away. You simply must find out what happens next.

The very existence of these unputdownable books is a testament to their quality. The author has truly succeeded in immersing you in the lives of these characters and their captivating story. If you want to spend time usefully and excitingly, this list is for you. I plucked up my courage and prepared a list of the best novels you can’t miss.

Top Novels of All the Time

1. The Handmaid’s Tale

Atwood’s brilliant work of feminist dystopia must be included in any list of essential reads. Although the tone and basic story have been captured in film and television adaptations, reading the novel remains the ultimate way to immerse yourself in Offred’s tale. Offred, a woman who endures subjugation, legal rape, and unthinkable choices in a near-future America governed by a horrifying fundamentalist religious cult, embodies a sense of quiet fury that resonates deeply. The novel profoundly explores how both men and women contribute to and enable a misogynistic society, posing uncomfortable questions without easy answers. Like Nineteen Eighty-Four, The Handmaid’s Tale feels eerily close to depicting a future that could become our reality.

2. One Hundred Years of Solitude

Only a select few novels have managed to define a genre and become inseparable from it. One Hundred Years of Solitude is widely recognized as both one of the earliest genuine works in the realm of magical realism and one of the most significant Latin American novels ever written. Its narrative revolves around a man who escapes from Colombia and establishes a city founded on his own understanding of the universe. The subsequent generations of his family suffer endlessly because of their inherent limitations. This novel seamlessly blends historical reality with incredible impossibility, all through a deeply personal perspective that addresses the concerns of an entire culture. If you’re unfamiliar with magical realism and desire a quick introduction, this book serves as the perfect starting point.

When we talk about novels for a reading list, we mean incomparable classics; this is the basis for anyone who loves to read. However, you also need the best reading app, where you can find new books, more modern novels, or those that are currently in demand. FictionMe is ideal for this role; here is the official link, as it has both world-class novels and hidden gems from lesser-known authors. With this application, reading novels will become simple, convenient, and as enjoyable as possible.

3. Anna Karenina

Make this Russian novel your top pick if you’re only going to read one. Tolstoy’s masterpiece brims with vibrant energy, even during the moments where farming and economics take center stage. It follows the journey of an aristocratic woman who abandons her privileged life in pursuit of love. It delves into timeless themes that resonate with contemporary readers, such as societal expectations and our inherent roles. The characters and their intricate dynamics defy simple classification, turning each page into a standalone novel.

4. Great Expectations

Stylistic innovation and literary complexity often land certain novels on “must-read” lists. However, others, like Great Expectations, earn their spot through sheer storytelling mastery. It stands out as one of Dickens’ two novels narrated entirely in the first person (the other being David Copperfield, another tale of an orphan’s life). The work showcases Dickens’ complete control over his skills, effortlessly delving into universal themes of love, loss, tragedy, and regret as it follows the life of an orphan named Pip. Each reader will find something that resonates, evoking their own experiences. Furthermore, this novel provides cultural references like Miss Havisham and her decaying dress, which you may have overlooked before.

5. Invisible Man

Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, often mistaken for H.G. Wells’s similarly titled science-fiction novella (minus the “The”), revolutionizes the expression of identity for African American males. The unnamed narrator recounts his journey from the South to college and eventually New York City, persistently facing discrimination and adversity. Through various trials, he navigates work, relationships, and controversial social movements, all within a surreal and ethereal mindset. It secured the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction in 1953.

6. Things Fall Apart

The Western canon often prioritizes authors from North America or Europe, disregarding accomplished writers and remarkable literary works from other regions. Published in 1958, Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart is an example of Nigerian literature that overcame biases in literary circles and gained global recognition. The novel depicts the life of Okonkwo, an Igbo man, his family, and the impact of British colonialism on his homeland in Nigeria.

7. Catch-22

Heller’s novel from 1961 captures the eerie feeling that the modern world is unfit for humans. It employs subtle repetitions, an unreliable sense of time, and extreme absurdity to mask its essential horror with humorous situations. The main source of humor is the titular catch, which mandates that pilots must prove their madness to avoid perilous missions. However, expressing concern for one’s safety reveals rationality, eliminating the possibility of being crazy and requiring them to fly. With its dark and profound undertones, the novel continues to gain recognition since its publication, making it an obvious choice for any list of essential reads.

Conclusion

Back in the day, entertainment options were limited to reading. However, in today’s world of endless distractions, it’s crucial to be selective with your reading choices. While there is widespread agreement on the existence of must-read fiction, consensus on the top books remains elusive. Nevertheless, we should make an effort to explore them. While we consider all these novels as “must-reads,” creating an exhaustive list would be impractical, so some fantastic books you’ve included might not be mentioned here.

IMAGE VIA CANVA