1984 – George Orwell
It is a dystopia . Winston Smith works as a censor at the Ministry of Truth. His work consists of a constant review of history to adapt it to the circumstances and alliances of the present. He and his companions are controlled by Big Brother: in the year 1984 the television screen is watching you and everyone is spying on everyone. With this book, Orwell opened our eyes to see how totalitarian regimes work . However, today a different reading can be made . Aren’t there now screens that collect every gesture, every purchase, every comment we make on the internet, and that collect data deciding what our preferences are going to be?
Nothing – Carmen Laforet
Andrea is the protagonist of this story, a university student recently arrived in Barcelona to complete her academic training in Literature. However, the house of her relatives, in which she will spend her stay, is an environment that brims with hardship. In the post- Franco war period, coexistence becomes conflictive, and only thanks to the support of her university classmates will she be able to withstand these obstacles. Nothing shows us several themes: social inequality, domestic abuse, revenge, love disappointments, deceitful plots… However, beyond social criticism , this novel is worth not only for what it tells but for the way to tell: her literary walks through Barcelona, the illusion through the eyes of a girl in her first steps towards adult life.
es Miserables – Victor Hugo
Les Miserables occupies a privileged place in the history of literature . Set in 19th century France, it tells an emotional story of sacrifice, unrequited love, passion, revenge and broken dreams. Victor Hugo manages to create an immortal character in Jean Valjean, a former convict who rises socially thanks to a false identity , his enemy and persecutor, the policeman Javert and his adopted daughter Cosette. Along with them there is a whole parade of characters that reflect the different social classes and a series of historical moments that are perfectly reflected in this novel. And it is that the miserable ones are a reflection of societyof one of the most convulsive times in the history of France within the framework of the romantic ideals of the novel.
The Alchemist -Paulo Coelho
Santiago is an Andalusian shepherd who embarks on a journey through the desert sands in search of a treasure. That search will take him much further, becoming the discovery of his true inner treasure . The Alchemist is a novel that has dreams and destiny as protagonists, reflected through the eyes of Santiago. His journey invites the reader to reach his goals and overcome adversity . It is a deeply human story that shows the power that dreams can have, how valuable it is to listen to oneself and the ability we have to decipher language beyond words . Success has a domino effect.
The Divine Comedy- Dante
The Divine Comedy is a fundamental work of the transition from medieval to Renaissance thought. This poem is one of the masterpieces of universal literature and despite having been written in 1307 it is still considered an arsenal of knowledge . If you stop to analyze it, you will see that the work includes different references to the classical world, a language full of symbols, historical and mythological characters, and even Dante’s own philosophical and moral convictions. Thanks to the great capacity for synthesis of the poet, The Divine Comedy can be read according to different meanings , something that has meant that throughout history numerous artists have used it as the core of their works.
One Hundred Years of Solitude- Gabriel García Márquez
Considered a masterpiece of Latin American and universal literature , One Hundred Years of Solitude tells the story of an imaginary village, Macondo, and the Buendía family over 7 generations, a family that, as you will see in the book, is condemned to loneliness. . This novel has been defined as the most perfect manifestation of “magical realism” whose most visible feature is the naturalness with which the everyday mixes with imaginative events . This story is not narrated in a literal or realistic way, but constant jumps in time are used that merge reality and fantasy.
The Little Prince- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
It will take you little time to read it. The Little Prince tells the story of a little prince who leaves his asteroid on a journey through the universe. He discovers the strange way adults see life and understands the value of love and friendship . Although it is true that its direct and simple style has made it an ideal book for children, its reflective nature about society , love and life has made it a must-read for any age. The Little Prince is considered one of the best books of all time, it has been translated into dozens of languages and adapted to different formats.
The portrait of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
It is a philosophical novel that represents the obsession with the power of youth and beauty and reflects on the nature of art and aesthetics . Dorian Gray is a beautiful and presumptuous young man who is portrayed in oil by a friend. It will be a cynical philosopher who manages to convince him that his most valuable possessions are his beauty and his youth. From then on, the protagonist will try to maintain his youth at any price. This novel represents the tension between morality and hedonism and is considered one of the most ingenious books of all time .
A happy world – Aldous Huxley
It is one of the most famous dystopias of the 20th century . Aldous Huxley presents a utopian, ambiguous and even ironic world in which humanity is permanently happy. People are always in a good mood, they are healthy and technology is not an obstacle for them, there is no poverty, nor wars… However, the reality is that it is a dehumanized future world in which society, divided in a caste system, it is made up of individuals who are genetically created and altered. It should be a must read book for everyone.
In Cold Blood – Truman Capote
On November 15, 1959, in a Kansas town called Holcomb, the Cluttler family was savagely murdered in their home. When Truman Capote read the news of this crime , he was so shocked that he decided to travel there to learn all the details of that massacre firsthand. It was not about writing the chronicle of a crime, but the story of a family , their way of being, their kindness and their decency and how in the middle of the night they were assaulted by two murderers who were out of control.
Wuthering Heights- Emily Bronte
Wuthering Heights tells of the passionate and terrible love story between Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw. With this novel the author wanted to present the inner world that she had and suffocated her, something that can be seen in the strength that emanates from each of the characters, their ability to move through brutality, at the same time that they manage to seduce the reader and wrap him in his story. Wuthering Heights tells us about a life of love, hate and revenge .
Hopscotch – Julio Cortázar
Do you know what is the genius of Hopscotch ? There is a break in the linearity of reading with jumps backwards and forwards, however what is really curious is that Julio Cortázar breaks with the traditional conception of narrative turning the novel into a game . It is the reader who composes the reading, organizes the fragments. That is why many have described it as the anti-novel . It is surreal: it does not have much plot, nor suspense and the truth is that it lacks descriptions, however its genius is due to its experimental cases of time discontinuity and its ability to avoid chronology .
Little Women – Louise May Alcott
Thanks to this novel, Louisa May Alcott managed to cause a great impact on society. She gave young women strong referents of feminism and female empowerment . It should be noted that in order to understand the intrinsic feminism in this work, one must place oneself in the context of the time . The thoughts of the protagonists are conditioned by the mentality of the moment, marked by injustices, patriarchy and inequalities between men and women. Still within her restraint, she was a revolution in the 19th century , giving young girls a new vision.
14. The Diary of Anne Frank
Between June 12, 1942 and August 4, 1944, a 13-year-old girl wrote a diary in which day after day she narrated the situation she was experiencing from the perspective of the girl she still was. After the invasion of Holland, the Frank family, of Jewish origin, was forced to hide from the Gestapo in an attic. It was there that Ana captured in her diary a unique testimony about the horror of Nazi barbarism and how they lived through it, their feelings and experiences of it.
15. El gran Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
This novel narrates the life of a mysterious millionaire . Jazz, luxury, his numerous parties and alcohol create the framework for this plot in which the protagonist’s past creates a lot of mystery. What at first glance might seem like a frustrated love story between a man and a woman, actually comes to cover a much larger and less romantic scope. This novel is full of symbolism about life in the United States in the 1920s and how the American dream was disintegrating in what seemed to be an era of prosperity and material excess.