Classic books are “classics” for a reason: Their stories were not only groundbreaking and relevant when they were first published, but they remained relevant and popular over time, breaking barriers and reaching communities and cultures worldwide. Here, we’ve put together a short list of classic books to add to your summer reading list.
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Our first classic is a 1967 masterpiece by Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez, known for introducing readers to magical realism, a literary style characterized by fantastical elements among realistic fiction that since has become synonymous with many Latin American authors. One Hundred Years of Solitude is not only rich in magical realism but humor as well, following seven generations of the Buendía family spanning 100 years.
Even if you read George Orwell’s 1984 in high school or college, considering today’s sociopolitical culture, we think it’s worth reading again. The dystopian novel, which was first published in 1949, relays the dangers of authoritarianism and has been eerily foretelling with terms like “thought police” and “big brother.”
Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl
Anne Frank wrote about her experience as a young Jewish teen hiding with her family in a secret annex during the Holocaust. After two years, the group was discovered and sent off to the concentration camps. Anne’s father, Otto Frank, was the sole survivor. When he returned, he found her diary. He chose to publish her writing so that there would be a reminder of the horrors lived during that time.
The House on Mango Street
This 1987 novel by Sandra Cisnero is told from the perspective of a teenage Mexican-American girl growing up in Chicago. While it is labeled Young Adult (YA), it is a story most everyone can relate to while broadening the understanding of how different cultures come of age and how their cultural backgrounds affect their experiences.
Published in 1961, this satirical novel by Joseph Heller chronicles Captain John Yossarian’s attempts to stay alive while stationed on a Mediterranean island during World War II. The protagonist is consumed with the horrors of war and feels as if it is an attack on his person, which he cannot escape.
Written by Charlotte Brontë in 1847, the oldest book on our list is Jane Eyre, a story about an orphaned girl who felt like an outcast throughout her young life. Her character shows courage, which is tested again and again from the moment she arrives at Thornfield Hall to care for Adèle, the ward of Edward Rochester, the man with whom she falls in love.
Which classic books are your favorite? Share them with us in the comments below!