Are you an avid reader? For many people, it’s one of the best pastimes that anyone could ever engage in.
While we often must perform reading because it’s mandatory, it can also provide an excellent way to relax and take a break from our everyday lives.
Here are the top 3 must-read books of all time, based on an aggregate of various rankings:
#1: “In Search of Lost Time” by Marcel Proust
Proust wrote this novel in seven parts, from 1913 to 1937. It’s an autobiographical account of Proust’s life, but told in an allegory as he searches for truth. Most literature experts consider the novel as a significant French fiction work of the early 1900s—if not one of the all-time greatest novels ever written.
In 1909, Proust involuntarily recalled a memory from his childhood when he tasted a twice-baked bread dipped in tea. He completed the first volume’s draft in 1912, but didn’t publish it until November 1913—at his own expense.
In the end, the author realized that all of life’s beauty he experienced throughout his life is alive forever. He regains time, and races against death to write the novel. In trying to regain lost time, he actually changed everything so that their unity and importance would be apparent.
#2: “Ulysses” by James Joyce
The novel focuses on Leopold Bloom as he travels through Dublin on June 16, 1904. The title of the book refers to Odysseus, the hero in Homer’s Odyssey. Many literary experts consider the novel to be one of the greatest literary masterpieces of the 1900s. Sometimes readers avoid the book due to its length and scope. However, the key to the book is actually the craftsmanship and complexity of his writing style.
What makes the novel so innovative is the different styles and exploratory style that Joyce uses. The stream of consciousness technique in particular was quite innovative, and has influenced many writers since the novel’s initial publication. In the novel, Leopold Bloom meets the intellectual Stephen Daedalus. One of the key features of the novel is its absence of punctuation.
#3: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
This novel is over four centuries old, yet remains a important work of fiction in the literary world. Literary experts have referred to the book as an allegory for various concepts, ranging from Christianity to materialism. The author himself has revealed that the novel’s first chapters were inspired by “The Archive of La Macha.” Meanwhile, the rest of the novel was based on the translated work of a Moorish author.
The novel centers on Alonso Quixano, a 50-year-old man who lives in the village of La Mancha. Quixano respects the ruling classes, and is not motivated by either wealth or power. The protagonist’s most valued possessions are his books. He becomes interested in stories of chivalry, and particularly of knights.
Quixano starts to sell acres of his farm, and uses the money to purchase more books. In fact, he started to read so much that he dreamed of becoming the knight in the books he read.