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30 Books That Everyone Should Read At Least Once In Their Lives

30 Books That Everyone Should Read At Least Once In Their Lives

The greatest books are defined as classics for a reason.  Written by the greatest literary minds of their time, they have universal themes, characters, experiences, emotions, and perspectives that are still relevant today.  Some of them are the very inspiration from which entire modern genres of literary fiction have sprung up from.

If you love reading, here are 30 books that that we feel are defining milestones in our literary tradition.  Some are well known classics, others are modern giants.  All are well worth reading at least once in your life!

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    To Kill a Mockingbird

    by Harper Lee

    Published in 1960, this timeless classic explores human behaviour and the collective conscience of The Deep South in the early 20th century. Humour entwines the delicate strands of prejudice, hatred, hypocrisy, love and innocence to create one of the best novels ever written.

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    1984

      1984

      by George Orwell

      Although 1984 has passed us by, George Orwell’s dystopian, totalitarian world of control, fear and lies has never been more relevant. Delve into the life of Winston Smith as he struggles with his developing human nature in a world where individuality, freewill and love are forbidden.

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        Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

        by J.K. Rowling

        I’m willing to bet you’ve heard of Harry Potter, but have you read the books? Join Harry Potter as he begins his journey into the world of magic, where he is the celebrated Boy Who Lived. Visit Hogwarts, meet your favourite characters and watch Harry grow into the one of the most famous literary characters in the world.

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          The Lord of the Rings

          by J.R.R. Tolkien

          Middle Earth is a wonderful, expansive fantasy world filled with turmoil, heroes, evil and innocence. Although our protagonist Frodo Baggins’ quest seems impossible to complete, this trilogy is a tale of triumph in the most impossible circumstances.

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            he Great Gatsby

            by F. Scott Fitzgerald

            Published in 1925, Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby explores the decadence of the Jazz Age, and one man’s introduction into a world where even those with the most indulgent lives cannot earn love.

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              Pride and Prejudice

              by Jane Austen

              One of the most famous novels of all time, Pride And Prejudice details the courtship of two opposed characters in a world where manners and courtesy are of the utmost importance.

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                The Diary Of A Young Girl

                by Anne Frank

                Unforgettable and deeply influential, Anne Frank’s diary is a raw account of a young girl’s life as she hides from the Nazis. Despite her circumstances, Anne believes that people are still good at heart and that the world is full of beauty: she will change your life.

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                  The Book Thief

                  by Markus Zusak

                  Set in Germany during 1939, The Book Thief follows Liesel as she rescues books from the tyranny of Nazi rule. Meanwhile, her family has hidden a Jewish fighter in their basement and death looks down on the family, narrating our tale. Experience bravery that is rarely found in the world, and friendship that is formed in the most unlikely of situations.

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                    The Hobbit

                    by J.R.R. Tolkien

                    Although the movies are inexplicably long, The Hobbit was originally written as a short children’s book. Meet your favourite characters for the first time as the unforgettable Bilbo Baggins traverses the harsh landscapes of Middle Earth to challenge a dragon.

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                       Little Women

                      by Louisa May Alcott

                      Join four sisters, each with their own prominent personality, as they come of age in charming 19th Century New England. Experience their struggles and revel in their flaws, as these girls become strong women.

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                         Fahrenheit 451

                        by Ray Bradbury

                        Books are forbidden, and it is our main character Guy Montag’s job to burn any books he comes across. Often compared to George Orwell’s 1984, Ray Bradbury’s dystopian world is an unsettling commentary on Western societies’ addiction and dependence on the media and conformity.

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                           Jane Eyre

                          by Charlotte Bronte

                          Arguably one of the most influential fictional heroines of all time, Jane Eyre is a strong, unbroken women despite her troubled childhood and repressed Victorian society.
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                            Animal Farm

                            by George Orwell

                            This famous 1945 satire, examines the realistic risks of revolution and the dynamics animals will inevitably give in to.

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                               Gone with the Wind

                              by Margaret Mitchell

                              Set in The South during The Civil War, chances are if you love the movie you’ll love the book. Although the main character and the world she lives in is loathsome, readers’ opinions are twisted as this novel dishes out a fated justice when both Scarlett and The South lose their wars.
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                                The Catcher in the Rye

                                by J.D. Salinger

                                Starring the original cynical adolescent, The Catcher In The Rye explores the challenges and isolation of adolescence. Decipher your own message as you follow sixteen-year-old Holden Caulfield, in this novel that has split audiences for decades.
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                                  Charlotte’s Web

                                  by E.B. White

                                  Team up with Charlotte, a loving and generous spider, and Fern, a farmers daughter as they try to save Wilbur the piglet from becoming breakfast. Charlotte’s Web is a compelling reminder to bask in the simplistic wonders of everyday life, and to be kind to all living creatures.
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                                    The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

                                    by C.S. Lewis

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                                    Another renowned fantasy world, Narnia is the home of hundreds of magnificent creatures each with their own origins, morals and ideals. Let you imagination run wild as you enter the wardrobe and meet some of the most famous literary characters in history.
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                                      The Grapes of Wrath

                                      by John Steinbeck

                                      Published in 1939, this novel set during The Great Depression follows one Oklahoma family as they are forced to travel to California. Experience America in a tale where it’s people are divided into the haves and have-nots, the powerful and the powerless.
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                                         Lord of the Flies

                                        by William Golding

                                        This classic novel follows the lives of boys marooned on an island as they regress into savages; and their beautiful, enjoyable island existence collapses into a primitive and cruel nightmare.
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                                          The Kite Runner

                                          by Khaled Hosseini

                                          A story of true friendship, The Kite Runner follows Amir as he tries to find the only true friend he’s ever had – despite abandoning him due to ethnic and religious differences that were prominent in Kabul, Afghanistan.
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                                            Of Mice and Men

                                            by John Steinbeck

                                            Of Mice And Men is a complex story of a friendship between two migrant workers: George Milton and Lennie Small, in California. Watch their friendship develop as the pair work towards their modest dreams of owning their own land and pets.
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                                              A Tale of Two Cities

                                              by Charles Dickens

                                              Following eighteen years as a political prisoner, Dr Manette is released and returns to England with his daughter Lucie. There, two very different men fall in love with Lucie and become entwined in a tale of love and sacrifice.
                                              Print | eBook | Audiobook


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                                                Romeo and Juliet

                                                by William Shakespeare

                                                Perhaps the most famous love story ever written, Romeo and Juliet is an epic tragedy that explores the euphoria of desire and the tragedy of revenge.
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                                                  The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

                                                  by Douglas Adams

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                                                  Grab a towel and accompany human Arthur Dent on a fantastic adventure across the galaxy. Learn not to take the universe so seriously and forget any meaning you’ve applied to anything in your life, because we all know the real meaning of life is 42.
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                                                     Wuthering Heights

                                                    by Emily Bronte

                                                    Published in 1847, this passionate and harrowing story of love, rivalry and revenge follows Catherine Earnshaw and her father’s adopted foundling Heathcliff as they grow into very different adults.
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                                                      The Color Purple

                                                      by Alice Walker

                                                      Winner of multiple awards, The Color Purple is a devastating tale that tackles the lives of colored women in 1930s USA. Censored and challenged, the harsh reality displayed in The Color Purple will leave you shaken.
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                                                        Alice in Wonderland

                                                        by Lewis Carroll

                                                        Bizarre and curious, Alice In Wonderland explores the potential of imagination and the reality of fiction. If you’re a fan of escaping the real world, this is definitely the book for you.
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                                                          Frankenstein

                                                          by Mary Shelley

                                                          A combination of gothic thriller, cautionary tale and romance novel, Frankenstein is a story like no other. Written by Mary Shelley when she was just eighteen, Frankenstein prompts readers to ask themselves some truly shattering questions: what makes us human? What do we owe to one another as living creatures? How far can science push the boundaries of nature?
                                                          Print | eBook | Audiobook


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                                                             The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

                                                            by Mark Twain

                                                            Often titled The Great American Novel, The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn is a deep and complex tale of friendship, adolescence and shifting societal norms.
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                                                               Slaughterhouse-Five

                                                              by Kurt Vonnegut

                                                              Although Vonnegut himself admits there are few characters or confrontations in this book, the impact of his novel is undeniable. We travel through life with our protagonist Billy Pilgrim as he experiences World War II from a rather unique perspective – that is, he’s been abducted from his home planet of Tralfamadore. Rich and deeply funny, this tale aims to discourage us from war and murder that the authorities force the public into.

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                                                              Featured photo credit: Girl Reading A Book | Picjumbo via picjumbo.com

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                                                              1The Gentle Art of Saying No 217 Ted Talks for Kids to Inspire Little Minds to Do Big Things 310 Toxic Persons You Should Just Get Rid Of 4Striving Towards Secure Attachment: How to Restructure Your Thoughts 5Being Self Aware Is the Key to Success: How to Boost Self Awareness

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                                                              The Gentle Art of Saying No

                                                              The Gentle Art of Saying No

                                                              No!

                                                              It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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                                                              But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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                                                              What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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                                                              But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

                                                              1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
                                                              2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
                                                              3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
                                                              4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
                                                              5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
                                                              6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
                                                              7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
                                                              8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
                                                              9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
                                                              10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

                                                              Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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