Five Classic Novels Everyone Should Read

Five Classic Novels Everyone Should Read

Rachel Bell, Messenger Reporter

September 8, 2016

1. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

This 1953 novel tells the story of Guy Montag, a “fireman” in a world where books are illegal and must be burned. He begins to horde the books he finds, and falls in love with reading. It turns into a race against the government to bring back literature. This book is action-packed, dramatic, and a literary masterpiece. Not many people have read or know about it, and that is really a shame. For people who don’t like reading, it will ignite a love for it once you realize how precious it is. The world of Fahrenheit 451 is filled with technology, and a lot of it is exactly like things we have today, like iPhones, flat-screen TVs, and ear buds. The best part about this book is how relevant it is. It really is a classic that isn’t famous, but should get more credit.

2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

This 1960 novel is one everyone knows, and has probably read, but if you haven’t, you need to. Nine-year-old Scout Finch is an adventurous girl growing up in Alabama in the 1930s. Her father is a renowned lawyer in her small town, and he is appointed to defend a young black man accused of a terrible crime. He knows the man is innocent, but he must prove that in court. Of course, there is a large chance that racism will get in the way of justice, and Atticus Finch knows it. It’s a brilliant commentary on the South’s racism through a child’s eyes, and that adds to the backwardness of the whole situation. She doesn’t understand why justice doesn’t always prevail. Beware the mature themes and racist language if you do read this.

3. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

In this 1951 novel, Holden Caulfield is a failing student in a boarding school. He is kicked out, and fearing his parents’ reaction, he wanders the city of New York before he is due to come home for winter break. He is angry at the world, and angry about all the “phony” people surrounding him. He swears (a lot), smokes, and drinks. Holden is probably one of the most interesting literary characters ever created. He’s not afraid to speak the truth, even if that gets him in trouble. We as students can relate to his anger and cynicism. His world view alone is enough to make this book worth the read.

4. Lord of the Flies by William Golding

This novel came out in 1954 and is the story of a large group of schoolboys fleeing England during World War II. Their planes crashes onto an uncharted island. The charismatic Ralph quickly sets up a democracy, where everyone gets a say. That quickly falls apart as the boys become restless on their island, and an older boy named Jack begins his own government. Without adults or structure, the boys go wild in a place with no authority. There’s a lot of symbolism in this book regarding what human nature is, and our natural need for order. It’s a book that makes you think, and those are usually the best kind.

5. 1984 by George Orwell

This 1949 novel is probably the most famous dystopian novel of all time. Winston Smith lives in the country of Oceania, and works as a member of the Inner Party of the government. It’s a corrupt system, and Winston begins to realize that freedom is a possibility. He falls in love with the hard-headed Julia, and together they join the resistance against the mysterious Big Brother. It’s well-written, complex, and thought-provoking. If you like to question authority or the way things work, then this is the perfect book. Oceania’s government dictates everything, and claims that two plus two makes five. Winston’s questioning everything is relatable, and makes the story ten times more interesting as he makes his way to a rebellion.