5 classic books everyone must read

Finding the time to read can be incredibly difficult. We all live really busy lives, so even when we somehow find the time to read, we’re often too exhausted to do anything. Often, we slump into a vicious cycle of work, sleep and basic leisure activities, like watching television.

However, sitting down and reading a book can be one of the most rewarding and enjoyable things you can do on a rare free afternoon. So, make sure you find the time and motivate yourself to read. More importantly, make sure you check out the following five books, which are must-read classics for all book lovers. And if the classics aren’t your thing, there are plenty of other options.

#1 “Nineteen Eighty-Four” by George Orwell

George Orwell, author of 1984. Photo: BNUJ, Wikimedia Commons

This one isn’t for the faint-hearted. Set in the year 1984 in a dystopian version of society, Orwell’s acclaimed satire novel follows the plight of Winston Smith, a man struggling against a totalitarian government, known as Ingsoc.

The novel addresses key themes such as human individuality, freedom of speech, expression of civil liberties and the consequences of unchecked governance. Orwell wrote the novel in 1948, shortly after the end of World War II, in the hope of warning people as to the consequences of dictatorships and extremist governments taking control.

#2 “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee

Gregory Peck (left) starred in the film adaptation. Photo: Moni3, Wikimedia Commons

Harper Lee’s seminal work won the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and became an instant bestseller. Her unforgettable work forces readers to question the sanctity of the human condition and our ability for innocence kindness, and ultimately, cruelty. Lee initially envisioned the work as a straightforward love story. It is now recognised as an American masterpiece and was adapted into a film.

#3 “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D Salinger

Photo: Ryan McGuire, Wikimedia Commons

“The Catcher in the Rye” remains J.D Salinger’s most acclaimed novel. After its publication in 1951, he would go on to live a very reclusive lifestyle. His last original work was published in 1965 and he gave his last formal interview in 1980.

The novel follows the life of troubled teen, Holden Caulfield. Initially written for adults, Salinger’s story resonated with adolescents, primarily because of the themes of maturity, rebellion, alienation and identity.

#4 “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald

F. Scott Fitzgerald. Photo: The World’s Work, Wikimedia Commons

Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” captures the frivolity of life during the Roaring 20s. Published in 1925, Fitzgerald’s novel follows the eponymous, Jay Gatsby, and his devotion to the beautiful socialite, Daisy Buchanan. Referencing themes such as decadence, superficiality and social upheaval, Fitzergald’s novel is a cautionary tale regarding the futility of the American Dream and finding happiness.

#5 “The Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien

Photo: erik_stein, Pixabay

Considered one of the great fantasy series of all time, Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” redefined the bounds of literary fantasy and the human imagination. Set in a fictitious world known as Middle-Earth, Tolkien’s magnum opus follows the journey of young Hobbit, Frodo Baggins, as he seeks to travel to Mordor and destroy the One Ring. The book series was eventually made into an acclaimed film series, directed by Peter Jackson.

Christian Woods
Christian Woods
Christian is a morning reporter and technology columnist for Best in Australia. Christian has worked in the media since 2000, in a range of locations. He joined Best in Australia in 2018, and began working in Melbourne in 2019.
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