All literary junkies will have a few books that have completely transformed the way they see the world. Though true classics are few and far between, there are certain titles that conjure up images of elegance, mystique, and style. Below are five works that will surely change the perceptions and vantage points of most people in the world.
The Odyssey is an epic work of Greek poetry that tells the story of Odysseus on his way home from the Trojan War. As one of the earliest literary classics, the book is written in poetry instead of prose. Supposed to be penned by Homer during the time of the mythical Greek heroes, the literary masterpiece is still widely read in high schools and colleges today. Men and women who read the work will soon learn about the spirit of the age in which it was written. All the national poems that came after are echoes of this earlier Greek epic.
The Divine Comedy
The Divine Comedy was written by the Italian poet Dante during the 1300s. The work is divided into three parts, of which the first (The Inferno) is the most famous. In the book, Dante describes an idealized version of himself as he makes his way through the various circles of hell. The poem was intended to be a religious allegory, and it contains descriptions of woe and pain that are still some of the best in all of literature. Men and women who read Dante will be swept into a medieval world in which kings and subjects thought very differently about the fates of their hearts, minds, and souls.
The Lord of the Flies
Shifting focus into the twentieth century, The Lord of the Flies is a story of shipwrecked boys gone mad. The book follows Jack, Piggy, Maurice, and others as they attempt to survive by themselves on a deserted island. At first civilized, the boys eventually divide into two tribes and descend into savagery. Some of the boys are killed off in the process, and the rest become inhuman barbarians who hunt for sport. The story, in a sense, shows how society can break down when there is no real reason to follow entrenched laws or codes.
As one of the great epics of fantasy literature, The Hobbit is still considered one of the finest works of the 1900s. The story is one of adventure. A tiny hobbit named Bilbo must embark on a quest with a wizard and dwarves who show up at his house unannounced one day. The book includes trolls, elves, and dragons, and is a prelude to the Lord of the Rings trilogy that is intended to be read later. Readers who have imagined themselves to be the heroes of their own lives will surely jump into such a story headfirst.
A Brief History of Time
As the nonfiction entry in the list, this book by Stephen Hawking is a wonderful look at the universe and the reality of existence. Concerning itself with black holes, distant galaxies, and the entanglement of space and time, the work goes on to explore the ultimate fate of the universe. As a primer on cosmology, it is generally seen to be unequalled and has become a standard in the field.
In the end, these five books provide different perspectives on life and morality. Readers who choose to lose themselves behind the covers of these masterpieces will be enriching their own lives. When they have finished, they will surely be enthusiastic about recommending them to family and friends who similarly love literature.
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Eve Taylor is a career counselor and guest author at GraduationDegreeProgram.net, where she contributed to the guide to the Top 20 Online Colleges For Grad Students.