There are some books that have the ability to change the whole course of your life, your world view, or stay with you forever. Our suggested list of must-read books also had the power to change history. Percy Bryce Shelley acknowledged the power of good fiction when he said 'Poets and writers are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.'
At Books 4 People we are fully aware of the unique potential of the novel to break barriers, and change the tides of our future. Here is our qualified list of top ten must-reads.
1. 1984 by George Orwell
George Orwell's dystopian masterpiece, Nineteen Eighty-Four is perhaps the most pervasively influential book of the twentieth century. 'Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.' Hidden away in the Record Department of the sprawling Ministry of Truth, Winston Smith skillfully rewrites the past to suit the needs of the Party. Yet he inwardly rebels against the totalitarian world he lives in; which demands absolute obedience and controls him through the all-seeing telescreens and the watchful eye of Big Brother, symbolic head of the Party. In his longing for truth and liberty; Smith begins a secret love affair with a fellow-worker Julia, but soon discovers the true price of freedom is betrayal.
Books 4 People offers a two-book-set of George Orwell classics that includes 1984 and Orwell's highly praised classic Animal Farm.
2. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Readers can revel in Dickens' masterful atmospheric descriptions of Victorian London as they encounter some of the novelist's most enduring and best-loved characters from Pip to Miss Havisham.
Books 4 People's set of five Dickens' collector's editions includes Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities, Oliver Twist, Hard Times, and A Christmas Carol. This beautiful collection of five hardback books in a slipcase contains some of Charles Dickens' greatest works.
Order your hardback set of Charles Dickens best novels at Books 4 People.
3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
It is a truth universally acknowledged that Pride and Prejudice is one of the best love stories ever told. In Jane Austen's most beloved and widely read classic, follow the story of Elizabeth Bennett and her sisters as they find love, navigate a rigid class system, and ultimately prevail against injustice.
Books 4 People is proud to have The Complete Novels Of Jane Austen Collection 7 Books Box Set (Wordsworth Library Collection). The perfect gift for any Jane Austen lover. Each boxset contains seven books, together creating a comprehensive collection of Austen's best and much-loved works.Beautifully packaged in a ridged, matt-laminated slipcase with metallic detailing; complete with strikingly attractive, bespoke artwork.
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4. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale catapulted her into fame and has been remade into a hit series available now on Amazon Prime.The original books offer a startling dystopian portrait for a grim American future where women have one main purpose: to breed.
Offred is the central character of The Handmaid's Tale who lives in The Republic of Gilead, a religious totalitarian state in what was formerly known as the United States. She is placed as a handmaid in the household of The Commander, Fred Waterford and assigned the name Offred, which means of Fred. Her purpose in Fred Waterford's hosue is to breed children. If Offred refuses to enter into sexual servitude to repopulate a devastated world, she will be hanged. Yet even a repressive state cannot eradicate hope and desire. As she recalls her pre-revolution life in flashbacks, Offred must navigate through the terrifying landscape of torture and persecution in the present day, and between two men upon which her future hangs.
Atwood's literary genius is undeniable and her books are often listed on university reading lists as they are referenced in popular culture and politics. The Handmaid's Tale series is poignant and important as a reminder that our modern world is fragilely balanced and dependent on us all to maintain.
Order your copy of The Handmaid's Tale and its brilliant sequel novel The Testaments today.
5. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
No one does dystopian reality as good as Cormac McCarthy, who is a master of girt and harsh truths. McCarthy's most famous novel is The Road, the searing, post-apocalyptic novel that has instantly established itself as a modern classic ‘The first great masterpiece of the globally warmed generation.' Here is a new great American novel which, at a stroke, makes McCarthy a contender for the Nobel Prize for Literature.’ Andrew O’Hagan A father and his young son walk alone through burned America, heading slowly for the coast.
As always, Books 4 People has curated a packaged collection of McCarthy's best works including such classics as All the Pretty Horses and No Country for Old Men, both of which also have Oscar winning film adaptions.
Prepare to be enraptured by Cormac McCarthy's masterful storytelling with this fantastic Cormac McCarthy book collection.
6. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
Explosive, subversive, wild and funny, 50 years on the novel's strength is undiminished. Reading Joseph Heller's classic satire is nothing less than a rite of passage. Set in the closing months of World War II, this is the story of a bombardier named Yossarian who is frantic and furious because thousands of people he has never met are trying to kill him.
Yossarian's real problem is not the enemy, it is his own army which keeps increasing the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. If Yossarian makes any attempts to excuse himself from the perilous missions then he is caught in Catch-22: if he flies he is crazy, and doesn't have to, but if he doesn't want to he must be sane and has to. That's some catch.
Catch your own copy of Jospeh Heller's classic Catch 22 today.
7. The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
Through the narration of Nick Carraway, the reader is taken into the superficially glittering world of the mansions which lined the Long Island shore in the 1920s, to encounter Nick's cousin Daisy, her brash but wealthy husband Tom Buchanan, Jay Gatsby and the mystery that surrounds him.
8. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Since it was first published in 1954, The Lord of the Rings has been a book people have treasured. Steeped in unrivaled magic and other worldliness. Its sweeping fantasy has touched the hearts of young and old alike with 150 million copies of its many editions sold around the world.
In 2005 Tolkien text was fully restored with the full co-operation of Christopher Tolkien with almost 400 corrections. The original red and black maps as fold-out sheets, a fully revised and enlarged index, and for the first time a special plate section containing the pages from the Book of Mazarbul, making this set as close as possible to the version that J.R.R. Tolkien intended.
Own this priceless collection of J. R. R. Tolkien The Lord of the Rings Collection 4 Books Boxed Set Special Edition in this Four-volume boxed-set edition of The Lord of the Rings in hardback; featuring Tolkien's original unused dust-jacket designs, together with the fourth hardback volume, The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion. Includes special features and the definitive edition of the text.