I’ll be honest with you – I will not include the philosophical novels of Russian authors with unpronounceable names or cult books in this list simply because they are just that, books of worship. Let’s face it: novels like The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri cannot be read. I am absolutely convinced that the three-quarters of people who recommend such readings without being professors in the field do so only to pose as “intellectuals”. I can come and say that I’ve read the Divine Comedy in Italian and I understood each metaphor, each context, and each dialogue … but no, I do not think it is a must-read before you die. I tried to read Dante’s work a million times, but there is no way to understand it in its entirety. Even having studied philosophy, it is very difficult to understand all the depth of that work.
Something similar happens with the famous Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. Will I recommend you to read it? Am I going to be the first one to do so? It is a book in old Castilian, famous for its length and very dense. It is not for amateurs. Now that Miguel de Cervantes is probably the best writer in the Spanish-speaking world, it is not going to discuss anyone. Don Quixote is to read loose passages, to savor and enjoy. It is not recommended that you read such books like you usually read a normal novel because you end up exhausted. A similar feeling is experienced with Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo. And then there are those legendary works you must already know about such as One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and The Odyssey by Homer.
It is also added that although it is a list of books that you should read before you die, they are a part of my blog and therefore, my opinion. I have not based this list on any study or any compilation citing these as the best books. Plain and simple, I like these works a lot and I want to share them with you. And by the way, this is not a TOP 6 list. The order is irrelevant.
One criterion I followed to make this list has been the variety. The grace of such listings is to encourage those who dare to read new styles and to favor all books alike. So, here you will find fantasy, science fiction, horror, romance, adventure, classics and all this time, obeying a broad spectrum, from modern to ancient sagas.
I leave you with the list and hopefully, it will be to your liking.
- The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Although the trilogy of The Lord of the Rings is much better known and significant than The Hobbit, the latter becomes much more enjoyable and readable. I admire Tolkien, but it is true that if you’re not used to this kind of literature, the descriptions can ruin your reading. The Hobbit, however, is aimed at a younger audience with a more entertaining story and a much simpler story while still being epic and exciting. It is very enjoyable and a compulsory read for fantasy lovers.
- 1984 by George Orwell
The perfect dystopia is 1984. Without a doubt, it is my favorite book. All that passes in its pages, everything it stands for, everything it says and above all … everything it does not say. I do not want to spoil the surprise, just read it. You will definitely like it but it will probably leave a sour taste on your palate.
- Hamlet by William Shakespeare
If 1984 is my favorite novel, Hamlet is the second. There are many who believe that Macbeth is superior to Hamlet, but I disagree. The characters in Hamlet are simply perfect, so human and real that they lend astonishing fear to see them die. The story itself, dialogues, philosophical meaning and the political background of Hamlet is impeccable. It is Shakespeare … what more reasons do you need to read it?
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
If you have not heard of the name Harry Potter, you must have been living the last 20 years in a cave. This legendary saga of books has not only shaped a whole generation of readers but for many, it is more than a literary saga. It is something almost spiritual. Even if you do not get very excited with young adult literature and fantasy of this style, you should at least read the first part of the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. It just about represents everything that Harry Potter stands for.
- Bram Stoker’s by Dracula
A world famous horror novel and the father of one of the most iconic figures of fear: the vampire. The format of this novel is great and one gets hooked to its pages with astonishing ease. If you consider yourself a die-hard fan of vampires, you need to read this book. All that has sparked Bram Stoker for his novel, with an authentic and pure image of the vampire, makes him worthy of any praise. All the famous novels of Anne Rice and all movies and video games sagas about vampires exist thanks to this book.
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Jane Austen marked a before and after in literature and society of her time and that is why her most famous book is on this list. Pride and Prejudice have excellent characters so vivid that they seem real and they have unwrapped one of the best romantic plots of the History of World Literature. If you’re not fond of romantic literature, you’ll still love this book and if you are fond of the genre, it is a mandatory title on your shelf.
The world is full of some very amazing books that must be read. Honestly, there is no end to reading but if you have read these 6 books in your lifetime, you can consider your life to be a successful one.