Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on July 23, 2019

30 Books Everyone Should Read At Least Once In Their Lives

30 Books 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’s a perfect reading list for you. Even if you aren’t so much into reading, here’re 10 reasons to love reading.

Everyone should read at least once for these 30 books — some are well known classics, others are modern giants.  All are well worth reading at least once in your life!

1. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

50-anniversary-cover1

    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.

    Print | eBook | Audiobook

    2. 1984, by George Orwell

    1984

      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.

      Print | eBook | Audiobook

      3. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, by J.K. Rowling

      harry_potter_and_the_Sorcerers_stone_adult_usa

        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.

        Print | eBook | Audiobook

        4. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien

        9780618640157_custom-s6-c30

          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.

          Print | eBook | Audiobook

          5. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

          Penguin-2

            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.

            Print | eBook | Audiobook

            6. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen

            pride_and_prejudice_book_cover_by_fourblackbirds-d533108

              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.

              Advertising

              Print | eBook | Audiobook

              7. The Diary Of A Young Girl, by Anne Frank

              diary-of-anne-frank-postcard-front_0

                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.

                Print | eBook | Audiobook

                8. The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak

                71h2sjik5al-_sl1380_

                  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.

                  Print | eBook | Audiobook

                  9. The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien

                  Hobbit_book

                    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.

                    Print | eBook | Audiobook

                    10. Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott

                    9780147514011

                      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.

                      Print | eBook | Audiobook

                      11. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

                      tumblr_nd4wnpO3ZS1tv8vcro1_r1_1280

                        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.

                        Print | eBook | Audiobook

                        12. Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte

                        cvr9781416500247_9781416500247_hr

                          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.
                          Print | eBook | Audiobook

                          13. Animal Farm, by George Orwell

                          Advertising

                          Print

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

                            Print | eBook | Audiobook

                            14. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell

                            gone-with-the-wind

                              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.

                              Print | eBook | Audiobook

                              15. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger

                              97803167694881

                                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.

                                PrintAudiobook

                                16. Charlotte’s Web, by E.B. White

                                image_35

                                  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.

                                  Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                  17. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis

                                  il_fullxfull.346024210

                                    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.

                                    Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                    18. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck

                                    9780141185064

                                      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.

                                      Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                      19. Lord of the Flies, by William Golding

                                      previous_Lord_of_the_Flies

                                        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.

                                        Advertising

                                        Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                        20. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini

                                        kiterunner

                                          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.

                                          Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                          21. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck

                                          bookcover2

                                            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.

                                            Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                            22. A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens

                                            twocities

                                              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

                                              23. Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare

                                              cvr9781451621709_9781451621709_hr

                                                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.

                                                Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                                24. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams

                                                h2g2-01 copy

                                                  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.

                                                  Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                                  25. Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte

                                                  216215

                                                    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.

                                                    Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                                    Advertising

                                                    26. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker

                                                    purple

                                                      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.

                                                      Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                                      27. Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll

                                                      alice_cover

                                                        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.

                                                        Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                                        28. Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley

                                                        frankenstein_book_cover_by_mario0357-d6rszr0

                                                          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

                                                          29. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain

                                                          Huck-Fin

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

                                                            Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                                            30. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut

                                                            9780385333849_custom-s6-c30

                                                              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.

                                                              Print | eBook | Audiobook

                                                              Featured photo credit: Prasanna Kumar via unsplash.com

                                                              More by this author

                                                              Anna Chui

                                                              Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the editor of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

                                                              How Self Doubt Keeps You Stuck (And How to Overcome It) 26 Useful Things to Learn Now That Will Change Your Life 30 Books Everyone Should Read At Least Once In Their Lives How to Detect a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing The Desire to Be Liked Will End You up Feeling More Rejected

                                                              Trending in Communication

                                                              1 Why an Attitude of Gratitude Is Essential (And How to Develop It) 2 Procrastination Is a Matter of Emotion, Here’s How to Stop It 3 What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It) 4 How to Get Unstuck in Life and Live a More Fulfilling Life 5 What Will Happen When You Surround Yourself With Positive People?

                                                              Read Next

                                                              Advertising
                                                              Advertising
                                                              Advertising

                                                              Last Updated on March 30, 2020

                                                              What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

                                                              What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

                                                              Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

                                                              You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

                                                              This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

                                                              What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

                                                              According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

                                                              Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

                                                              There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

                                                              How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

                                                              When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

                                                              Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

                                                              Advertising

                                                              1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

                                                              One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

                                                              The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

                                                              Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

                                                              2. Be Honest

                                                              A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

                                                              If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

                                                              On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

                                                              Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

                                                              3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

                                                              Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

                                                              Advertising

                                                              If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

                                                              4. Succeed at Something

                                                              When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

                                                              Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

                                                              5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

                                                              Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

                                                              Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

                                                              If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

                                                              If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

                                                              Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

                                                              Advertising

                                                              6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

                                                              Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

                                                              You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

                                                              On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

                                                              You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

                                                              7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

                                                              Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

                                                              Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

                                                              Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

                                                              When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

                                                              Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

                                                              Advertising

                                                              In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

                                                              Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

                                                              It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

                                                              Final Thoughts

                                                              When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

                                                              The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

                                                              Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

                                                              Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

                                                              Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

                                                              More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

                                                              Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

                                                              Reference

                                                              [1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
                                                              [2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
                                                              [3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
                                                              [4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
                                                              [5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
                                                              [6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
                                                              [7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
                                                              [8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

                                                              Read Next