Everyone has a comfort zone when it comes to reading. You can continue to read your favorite mystery novels, anthologies, or biographies. However, if you truly want to become a more well-rounded person, you must go outside of your comfort zone and visit a bookstore or library. Here are some of the most famous timeless classics that you need to read at least once in your life.
1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Published in 1960, the novel was an instant success. It has since sold over 40 million copies and has been translated into over 40 languages.
In this American classic, attorney Atticus Finch volunteers to represent a black man accused of raping a white lady. The narrative is set in the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama, and is recounted through the eyes of Finch's tomboy daughter, Scout. Lee also addresses several issues, including racism and parenting in America, which makes this novel is a must-read.
2. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
The novel, first published in 1869, is based on Louisa May Alcott's childhood. It follows four sisters—Jo, Beth, Meg, and Amy—attempting to survive the Civil War in Massachusetts. In this narrative of love, sisterhood, war, and identity, the girls navigate their coming-of-age experiences.
3. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Jane, orphaned at a tender age, is hired as a governess at Thornfield Hall after graduating from high school, where she meets and falls in love with the brooding and mysterious Mr. Rochester. When the two consider marriage, truths from Mr. Rochester's past are swiftly uncovered, putting Jane in danger of heartbreak.
This tale is romantic and gothic, but the novel still resonates with today's readers because of Jane's intellectual, strong, and independent character.
4. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
Newland Archer is an aristocratic barrister who is betrothed to an upper-class family's daughter, May Welland. But when May's cousin Ellen returns from Europe, fleeing from her Polish husband, her independent and carefree character attracts and troubles Archer. Trapped in his passionless marriage with May and the pressure of societal traditions, Archer's sacrifice and journey to acceptance make "The Age of Innocence" a fascinating yet heartbreaking read.
5. Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
Diamond, a geography and physiology professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, contends that cultures with access to resources could begin food production earlier than other societies, allowing them to go beyond the hunter-gatherer stage. Religion, weapons of war, and the conquest of other cultures quickly followed.