For many, curling up with a good book is one of life’s greatest pleasures – and it’s rare that we have an excuse to do so. Opportunely, August 9th is Book Lovers Day – a favorite “holiday” for writers and readers alike.
Although it is impossible to create a universally accepted list of “the greatest books of all time,” the Grammarly team compiled a list of some of our favorite reads for your perusal. Within this list, we hope that you’ll find a book you’ve never read and that you’ll take some time to dive in.
Heart of Darkness (1902): Joseph Conrad’s short novella is one of the most studied of all time. His lurid tale of barbaric behavior, set in the center of the African Congo, has inspired numerous writers. The story is an exploration of racism and the horrors that the conquerors of a new world can bring. It’s theme of madness inspired the movie, Apocalypse Now.
Tarzan of the Apes (1912): Edgar Rice Burroughs first began his Tarzan series in the early 20th century. Originally written for the pulp magazines of the time, it became so popular that he wrote several sequels. The book quickly became iconic and spawned various movies. Audiences couldn’t get enough of this story of a man, raised by wild apes, who captured the heart of a beautiful woman.
Winesburg, Ohio (1919): This volume of short stories is set in a fictional town, and each story centers around one character. The author, Sherwood Anderson, loosely based the stories on his own life growing up in small-town Ohio. Each tale illustrates loneliness and the struggle against tedious, daily despair.
Darkness at Noon (1940): Arthur Koestler’s novel revolves around Stalin’s brutal dictatorship in the U.S.S.R. This dark novel, about one of the most evil leaders of all time, inspired many political writers. The book was difficult to publish. Koestler’s translator fled Nazi-occupied France in the nick-of-time, and later published it in Britain.
One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967): This masterpiece by Gabriel Garcia Marquez helped establish a movement in literature: magical realism. Marquez’s rich history of the fictional country, Macondo, also revived interest in Latin American literature, and its tradition of mixing the mystical with the mundane.
Portnoy’s Complaint (1969): Philip Roth’s hilarious book launched Roth into fame. The book’s protagonist, Alexander Portnoy, shocked his audience with his constant monologue, centered mostly on sex. The book caused quite a scandal when it first hit bookstores. The late 60s were a time of sexual exploration, but many readers were not quite ready for such a frank treatment of it.
Jonathan Livingston Seagull (1970): The story of Jonathan Seagull became an instant classic. Richard Bach’s sweet story of a seagull, who works hard to understand the mysteries of life, captured hearts everywhere. Bach became famous as an explorer of the metaphysical side of life, and continued to write books that explored the topic.
IT (1986): Stephen King is widely acknowledged the Master of Horror, but he earned the title with this sprawling epic. Set in Derry, Maine, the story centers around a group of misfit kids who fight a mind-shattering, shape-changing horror. The story spawned a mini-series, and it continues to keep legions of readers awake, late into the night.
Fight Club (1996): Chuck Palahniuk reached critical success with this one. The novel tells the tale of a disaffected Narrator who experiences a series of vivid hallucinations. The story is twisted, brutally honest, and quite brilliant. Palahniuk’s exploration of meaninglessness, violence, masculinity, and the excess of modern society won him legions of devoted fans.
We could add a thousand more to this list, but we hope you bumped into a few new titles here that you can get started on today. What are some of your favorite books of all time?