Sorry for making another thread, guys... another books thread.

I must know the absolutely essential books I need to read. I do not mean what books that you enjoy the most at the moment! I mean what books are absolutely essential to be read in one’s lifetime. Although I mean mostly literature, I will include speculative fiction (fantasy, horror, science fiction) as well. I do not generally enjoy the romantic or western genres, by the by (nor do I think that any western or romantic novel could possibly be “essential,” but by all means prove me wrong).

IT by Stephen King. It’s just so…awesome.
Hmm…I think you SHOULD read Small Gods, but I’m not sure if it quite fits the essential list.
Saiyuki. It’s a manga, but still essential.

Read <i>War and Peace</i> if you want the timeless classic “of the year” although I don’t recommend it unless you have some inkling of Russian culture (and 19th century Russian culture at that).

Read <i>Pride and Prejudice</i> and pretend to enjoy it if you want girls to respect you or if you want people to think you’re gay.

Read <i>David Copperfield</i> if you have insomnia.

Read <i>All Quiet on the Western Front</i> if you don’t feel pissed off enough about the whole war thing going on right now.

Read <i>Brave New World</i> or <i>Fahrenheit 451</i> or <i>A Handmaid’s Tale</i> if you could use a little more depression in your life.

Read <i>Nineteen Eighty-Four</i> or <i>Of Mice and Men</i> if you think you could use a lot more depression in your life.

Read <i>The Iliad</i> if you want to know all the lands across the Aegean sea, their ruler’s names, their rulers’s brother’s names, the names of the ruler’s pets, the names of the ruler’s pets’ brothers, and the blood type, hair colour, hobby, and family tree up to the eighty-sixth generation of every single warrior that went to fight at Troy’s gates. (Or just read chapter II I think it was)

Read <i>The Grapes of Wrath</i> if you are FIERCELY AMERICAN RARR.

Read <i>The Great Gatsby</i> if you’re a fucking idiot who thinks it’s a good book.

Read <i>Tom Sawyer/Huckleberry Finn</i> if you want to taste some o’ that childhood memories.

Read something, anything by Maupassant if you want to refire your disdain for the French.

Read any fantasy novel by Weis, McCaffrey, Hickman, etc., if you weren’t looking for classics and just wanted addicting novels.

Anything by Charles Dickens or O Henry.

I recomend a Tale of Two Cities and Oliver Twist.

To Kill a Mocking Bird is also a good book.

Animal Farm, George Orwell.
Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell.
The Garden Party and Other Stories, Katherine Mansfield.
The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe.
I’d add a few more but they’re in Norwegian.

English Literature after 1900, University of Stavanger
“The Dead”, Dubliners, James Joyce
“The Sisters”, Dubliners, James Joyce
“The Garden Party”, The Garden Party and Other Stories, Katherine Mansfield
“The Stranger”, The Garden Party and Other Stories, Katherine Mansfield
Animal Farm, George Orwell
The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien
“The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner”, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, Alan Sillitoe
Lord of the Flies, Willian Golding
Till September Petronella, Jean Rhys
The Birthday Party, Harold Pinter

Crime and Punishment, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Tale of Genji, A Farewell to Arms, Anthem, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Up From Slavery, the Sherlock Holmes books, and Guns Germs and Steel.


<i>Siddartha</i> or <i>Narcissus and Goldmund</i> by Herman Hesse
<i>The Birth of Tragedy</i> by Nietzsche
“Declaration of Independence” (US)
<i>The Illiad</i> (as mentioned) and/or <i>The Odyssey</i>
<i>The Origin of Species</i> Charles Darwin (it’s a chore to read…you might be able to find shortened, annotated versions)
<i>The Republic, Apology, and Phaedo</i> by Plato. Three separate works. Might find the last two under the heading "The Trial and Death of Socrates.
If you want to understand all sorts of references and Freud, read <i>Oedipus the King</i> by Sophocles.

It’s hard to recommend good science “literature,” but try to find something that addresses the implications of modern physics/astronomy. Unlike literature, science seems to leave much of its popular righting completely behind.

And, though it’s not considered a classic, and it won’t be, if you just want to read something immensely interesting and useful, read <i>Why People Believe Weird Things</i> by Michael Shermer.

I agree with most of the above, plus this:

Paul Coelho’s The Alchemist

The Blank Slate by Pinker.

The Tao Te Ching. I recommend Peter Merel’s interpolation.

I wanted to read that when I was like 8 cause I thought it was about the magician and fell asleep on page 3. ;_;

Although probably not essential, still a very good read that has given me a lot to live by: The Dark Tower series by Stephen King.

Asimov’s Foundation Triology. In fact, a lot of Asimov’s books, like the Robots and such.
Dunno if you guys have it in english, but Bernard Werber’s like Empire of the Ant is good stuff.
Of course, Terry Pratchet’s Discworld books. At least try the first five ones.
Dune, at least the first one, is also a pretty good book if you like it political.
And I can’t belive someone havent mentioned Of Mices and Mens.


The Bible

Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Just…give the diction some time in the process, and understand that sometimes your not going to understand what their saying unless you read it over a couple of times. I’m black and some of the slave dialect still stumped me. Idiotic statements aside, it’s a really good book. The fact that it influenced the Civil War helps immortialize both it, and it’s message against the injustice of slavery.

I’ve read up to half of the fourth The Dark Tower book, and while it really isn’t essential, it’s still a good read.

My Face Is Black is True. It covers an essential part of American history buried by all the political correctness in the world. Read it.

Roots. The reasons here are obvious for the most part if you’ve seen or heard about the series.

Aeschylus - The Oresteia
Goethe - Faust
Shakespeare - Hamlet, King Lear, Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Tempest
Sophocles - The Oedipus trilogy

Chaucer - The Canterbury Tales
Homer - The Iliad, The Odyssey
Keats - Ode on a Grecian Urn, Ode to a Nightingale
Milton - Paradise Lost
Pope - The Rape of the Lock
Shakespeare - The Sonnets
Virgil - The Aeneid
Wordsworth - Tintern Abbey, The Prelude, Intimations of Immortality

Slaughterhouse Five - Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

The Sirens of Titan - Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Both classics of American literature. Very powerful stories told in a very entertaining way.

steppenwolf by hermann hesse, then his other books

nausea by jean paul sartre
no exit by jean paul sartre (one act play)

the poetry of T.S. Eliot

a la recherche du temps perdu (in search of lost time) by marcel proust, apparently

I’ll second Asimov’s foundation trilogy. I, Robot is also fun.
If you like I, Robot, I also suggest you get a pair of books called Robot Visions and Robot Dreams. Those two are filled with Asimov’s best short stories.

Books and series usually for children, but are entertaining to read now that you can understand most of the stuff going on in them:

The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis
The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol
Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carrol