These days, with all the modern technologies, virtual reality, computer games, social media, and other things, reading books is not as popular as it used to be when we were younger. However, there is still no denying the fact that books can be incredibly powerful and influential. A well-written book has the unique ability to suck you into its plot and expose you to views you might not have considered. Books can take you to amazing foreign lands; they allow you to travel in time; they let you meet interesting people ranging from fictional superheroes to actual personalities who have shaped the world we live in. Books also have the ability to teach us, entertain us, scare us, even make us laugh or cry. The most powerful books can even change our lives forever. For today’s post, we did a bit of a research and compiled a list of books that might have this power. As we are limited to just 25 items per post, you will probably miss some other books on this list. However, we are pretty positive that reading any of these 25 books will have a great influence on your life. From iconic novels by George Orwell to the Bible, these are 25 life-changing books you need to add to your library.
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For Whom The Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
One of Hemingway’s best works, For Whom The Bell Tolls is a novel published in 1940. The book tells the story of Robert Jordan, a young American dynamiter in the International Brigades attached to a republican guerrilla unit during the Spanish Civil War (1939 – 1939). It explores a number of themes such as death, love, and bigotry.
Lord Of The Flies by William Golding
William Golding’s masterpiece, Lord Of The Flies, is about a group of supposedly well-behaved British boys stuck on an uninhabited island who try to govern themselves with disastrous results. In the book, Golding deals with the controversial subjects of human nature and individual welfare versus the common good in a remarkable way.
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
Anna Karenina is a novel published in serial installments from 1875 to 1877. Recounting St. Petersburg aristocrat Anna Karenina’s life story, the book masterfully explores a diverse range of topics throughout its approximately thousand pages. A 2007 poll of 125 contemporary authors in Time declared this novel “the greatest book ever written.”
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Written by French aristocrat, writer, poet, and pioneering aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince is a popular 1943 novella and the fourth most-translated book in the world. The book tenderly describes loneliness, friendship, love, and loss experienced by a young prince fallen to Earth.
The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
An 1848 political pamphlet by German philosophers Marx and Engels, The Communist Manifesto is now recognized as one of the world’s most influential political manuscripts. It presents a unique analytical approach to the class struggle, the problems of capitalism, and the nature of society and politics.
On The Origin Of Species by Charles Darwin
Written by English scientist Charles Darwin and published in 1859, On The Origin Of Species is a work of scientific literature which is considered the foundation of evolutionary biology. Written for non-specialist readers, it presents a body of evidence that the diversity of life arose by common descent through a branching pattern of evolution.
Sophie's Choice by William Styron
Sophie’s Choice is a 1979 novel by American author William Styron. The plot ultimately centers on a tragic decision that Sophie, a Polish Catholic survivor of the German Nazi concentration camps, was forced to make on her entry with her two children, into the camp. Sophie had to select which of her children was to be put to death and which would live.
On The Road by Jack Kerouac
The defining work of the postwar beat and Counterculture generations, On The Road is a 1957 novel by American writer Jack Kerouac. Based on the travels of Kerouac and his friends across America, the book is about living free life, jazz, poetry, and drugs. It was chosen by Time magazine as one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005.
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
This Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Harper Lee has become a classic of modern American literature. With its plot and characters loosely based on the author’s observations of her family and neighbors, the novel is renowned for its warmth and humor, despite dealing with the serious issues of rape and racial inequality.
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
Nineteen Eighty-Four, often published as “1984,” is a dystopian novel by English author George Orwell. The novel is set in a fictional, gloomy world of perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance and public manipulation where individualism and independent thinking are persecuted as “thought crime.”
The Count Of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas
Completed in 1844, The Count of Monte Cristo is an adventure novel that deals with themes of hope, justice, vengeance, mercy, and forgiveness. It centers around a man who is wrongfully imprisoned, escapes from jail, acquires a fortune, and sets about getting revenge on those responsible for his imprisonment.
Looking for even more books for your library? Check out 25 Best Selling Books In History.
The Great Gatsby by Francis Scott Fitzgerald
Considered to be Fitzgerald’s magnum opus, The Great Gatsby explores themes of decadence, idealism, resistance to change, social upheaval, and excess, creating a portrait of the Jazz Age or the Roaring Twenties that has been described as a cautionary tale regarding the American Dream.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
The Alchemist is a novel by Brazilian author Paulo Coelho first published in 1988. An allegorical novel, it follows a young Andalusian shepherd in his journey to Egypt, after having a recurring dream of finding treasure there. An international bestseller, The Alchemist is one of the best-selling and most popular books in history.
Rights Of Man by Thomas Paine
Published in two parts in March 1791 and February 1792, Rights Of Man is one of the most important books written by Thomas Paine, an English-American political activist, philosopher, political theorist, and revolutionary. The book deals with the French Revolution and rights that should be given to every human being.
A Brief History Of Time by Stephen Hawking
A Brief History of Time is a 1988 popular-science book by British physicist Stephen Hawking. In the book, Hawking attempts to explain a range of subjects in cosmology, including the Big Bang, black holes, and light cones to non-specialist readers. The book was an instant bestseller and was translated into 35 languages by 2001.
Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer
Written by Jon Krakauer in 1996, Into The Wild is an international bestseller which has been printed in 14 languages and 173 editions. Widely used as high school and college reading curriculum, the book addresses the issues of how to be accepted into society and how finding oneself sometimes conflicts with being an active member in society.
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Slaughterhouse-Five is a satirical novel by Kurt Vonnegut about World War II. Considered semi-autobiographical, the novel is partly based on Vonnegut’s own war experiences. Generally recognized as Vonnegut’s most influential and popular work, the book centers around American soldier Billy Pilgrim.
Alice´s Adventures In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
One of the best examples of the literary nonsense genre, Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland is an 1865 novel written by English mathematician Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. The tale masterfully plays with logic, giving the story lasting popularity with adults as well as with children.
The Picture Of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
The only novel written by Oscar Wilde, The Picture Of Dorian Gray is a Gothic fiction novel that deals with themes of aestheticism, moral duplicity, and self-indulgence. Back in 1890 when the novel was published, it offended the moral sensibilities of British book reviewers, but today, it is considered one of the most remarkable works of the 19th century.
The Godfather by Mario Puzo
The Godfather is a famous crime novel written by Italian American author Mario Puzo. It details the story of a fictional Mafia family based in New York City headed by Don Vito Corleone, who became synonymous with the Italian Mafia. The novel covers the years 1945 to 1955 and it also provides the back story of Corleone’s past.
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Another great work by George Orwell that made it to our list, Animal Farm is an allegorical and dystopian novella first published in England on 17 August 1945. Allegorically criticizing communism, the book was initially rejected by a number of British and American publishers but is now considered one of most influential books ever written.
All Quiet On The Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
Written by Erich Maria Remarque, a German veteran of World War I, All Quiet On The Western Front is a war novel originally published in 1928. The book describes the German soldiers’ extreme physical and mental stress during the war, and the detachment from civilian life felt by many of these soldiers upon returning home.
Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
The best-selling novel of the 19th century, Uncle Tom’s Cabin is an anti-slavery novel by H. B. Stowe published in 1852. Known as the novel that “helped lay the groundwork for the Civil War,” it depicts the reality of slavery while also asserting that Christian love can overcome something as destructive as enslavement of fellow human beings.
One Hundred Years Of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
Considered García Márquez’s magnum opus, One Hundred Years Of Solitude is a 1967 magic realism novel telling the story of the Buendia family. Translated into 37 languages and with more than 30 million copies, the novel is recognized as one of the most significant works in the Spanish literary canon.
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With estimated total sales of over 5 billion copies, the Bible is widely considered to be the best-selling, most-translated and most-read book of all time. Undoubtedly, the Bible has had the biggest influence on humans. It has provided a source of religious and moral norms which have enabled communities to hold together, to care for, and to protect one another; yet precisely this strong sense of belonging has in turn fuelled ethnic, racial, and international tension and conflicts.