Top Ten Pieces of Literature to Read in Your Lifetime

There are some books that hit the market and make a huge impact that fizzles out within a few years, and others that barely hit the market at all. Whether you read these books or not is a matter of personal taste and likely won’t make much of a difference in your life. There are other books, however, that make such a lasting impression on the world that everyone should read them at some point in their lives—and some of them should be read several times at different points in your life because of the incredible impact that they can make. While there are hundreds of such pieces of literature, here are ten of the pieces that no one should miss reading.


10. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

This classic by Mark Twain is one of the iconic pieces of American literature that spurs so many debates and heated feelings that it has long been listed on the Banned Books registries, and though it was once a regular part of most middle or high school curriculums, many schools have phased it out due to social tensions. So why read this book? This story of a young boy coming of age in 1800’s Mississippi opened the minds of writers and created a new age of artistic expression. Rather than writing only with the highest language, this book initiated the era of writing realistically. The dialogue is written to reflect the tone and dialect of each character, even to the detriment of grammar, spelling and formality. The story of the novel also brings into the public attention the concepts of virtue, tolerance and individual morals and responsibility.


9. Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl

This book resonates deeply with people today despite having been written nearly 80 years ago. Anne Frank was a young Jewish girl growing up in Nazi Germany. This book is her diary, which she referred to as Kitty. Within the pages of musings of the typical thirteen year old girl were incredible insights into humanity. Through Kitty Anne was given an outlet through which she discussed her perspective of the genocide that was happening around her. Even after going into hiding, Anne continued to write. For the two and a half years she spent in the Secret Annex, Anne wrote of her growing interest in love, her thoughts on the world outside and her plans for when the war ended. Her final thought before the group was betrayed and sent to the concentration camps is at once uplifting and chilling—“I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are still truly good at heart”.


8. Lord of the Rings

A departure from the other pieces of literature in the list, this trilogy is a truly epic journey that sweeps readers into an adventure that they will never forget. It is not just the journey, however, that makes it worth reading these thousands of pages. It is the incredibly beautiful language and the lessons of morality, personal responsibility, accountability, friendship and love that fuel the fantasy. Readers learn about the world around them and themselves as they follow a quest of truly incredible proportions.


7. The Blithedale Romance

Nathaniel Hawthorne graced the world with many great pieces of literature, and this is one of the most astonishing. In a culture that was beginning to obsess with the concept of Utopian societies, many believed that this type of arrangement was an idyllic, farm-based life where everyone cooperated and loved each other. Hawthorne presents a difference concept of Utopia, setting the cooperative society in a “modern” environment and developing a variety of personalities that had chosen to take part in the social experiment. These personalities converge to illustrate humanity and what cooperation really means.


6. Catcher in the Rye

This is the ultimate of all coming of age stories. It has been noted that several murderers have chosen this book as their pseudo-manifesto, but the book has nothing to do with murder or hatred. In fact, the strongest theme in the book is that there isn’t really a theme at all. This book is about one young man and his efforts to navigate the fifties while coping with tragedy in his life and his mistrust yet interest in the world around him.


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