There are some books that we should all try to read in our lifetimes. Debate will always rage as to what books should achieve ‘must-read’ status. The most iconic ones are those that have managed to cement themselves into popular culture. Below are just a few to get you started.
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This Pulitzer Prize winning book is a classic example of modern American Literature. The story takes place in a small town in Alabama during the Great Depression. Told through the eyes of a child, it deals with issues of civil rights and racial inequality. This book is both heart warming and eye opening.
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Teenager Holden Caulfield is one of the most iconic literary figures of our time. The story follows Holden after he is kicked out of his Pennsylvania prep school. Travelling to New York, he begins to dissect society and its adult phoniness. Despite often being typecast as a book for the disaffected youth, this book remains relevant for all ages.
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The novel is set in post-war America, during a time of economic growth and prohibition otherwise known as the “roaring” 1920s. Focusing primarily on the elusive Jay Gatsby, the story explores the complicated lives of a few select residents of Long Island. This book is hailed as being a snapshot of its time.
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Published in 1949, this dystopian novel explores the ramifications of an oligarchic society. Set in 1984, after a global atomic war, the story follows the life of Winston Smith. This sci-fi novel explores issues of totalitarianism, public surveillance, and mind control. Many terms and concepts introduced in this novel have also become entrenched in contemporary culture.
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This is a heart-wrenching story about a poverty stricken family. Set during the Great Depression, the story follows the Joad family as they move from Oklahoma to an emigrant camp in California. In search of a better life, they only encounter more hardships. This novel is truly a testament to the human spirit.
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Set in an Oregon asylum, this book primarily focuses on the antics of a character called Randle McMurphy. It also follows the constant power struggle between the inmates and staff. This novel explores the issues of institutionalism and the human mind. It has been adapted into a Broadway play and a film, for which it won five Academy Awards.
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This novella is set in New York in the 1940s. It takes place over the course of one year and follows the intriguing life of woman-about-town Holly Golightly. This book was adapted into a movie which cemented Audrey Hepburn’s style icon status. I, however, would choose the book over the movie any day.
How many of these books have you read? Are there any more you’d like to add?
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