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The 25 best books of all time

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Discover the 25 best books of all time, essential for those who love to travel and be inspired by authentic treasures.

Choosing a book is not an easy task and there is some subjectivity involved in putting together a list of the best books of all time. Thus, there is nothing better than reading them and checking for yourself whether or not the best books of all time deserve a place in your library.

The list of the 25 best books of all time

1. Dom Quixote, Miguel Cervantes

The first of the best books of all time is a masterpiece signed by the Spanish novelist playwright and poet Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. It was published in two volumes launched in 1605 and 1615, respectively, and is considered the best work of all time.

This novel is a satire that tells the story of a knight who, accompanied by his faithful squire Sancho Panza, decides to leave and relive the adventure felt by the knights who roamed the mountains and valleys in the region of La Mancha , in central Spain. In the name of justice, they fight against windmills and knights who are just a figment of his imagination. 

2. In Search of Lost Time, Marcel Proust

The work “In Search of Lost Time” is one of the best of all time, divided into seven parts during which Marcel Proust tackles themes that end up being common to all the works. Those who have read all the books, do not feel like they have wasted their time traveling through the scenario of an incomparable literary work, in which the author brings to life various characters and adventures that bring nostalgia and a feeling of closeness to a narrator who has been preparing, from an early age, to become the writer of his work. 

3. Ulysses, James Joyce

This book is about Thursday, June 16, 1904, in the city of Dublin. On that day and at dawn, the author crosses paths with the lives of different people who talk, discuss amorous intrigues, travel, dream, drink and reinvent life, all centered around three main characters. Without a doubt, one of the best books of all time. 

4. Homer’s Odyssey

The Odyssey tells the story of Odysseus’ adventures. Divided into four parts, this work has triggered great influences in the Western imagination over time. The story goes that after the destruction of the city of Troyes, a hero seeks to return to his island of Itaca. However, the power and the will of the Gods, made him walk towards another destiny which obliges him to face many dangers. 

5. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy

Considered a monument in universal literature and one of the best books of all time, this work addresses the wars waged by Napoleon against the monarchies of Europe. A reflection on the origins and consequences of conflicts. 550 figures, excluding elements from aristocratic families, bring to life this epic setting which is a realistic portrait of Russian society at the beginning of the 19th century. Tolstoy, both writer, philosopher and defender of minorities and the most disadvantaged, invites us to reflect on the meaning of life, feeding it with philosophical questions as he denounces the prejudices and hypocrisy of nobility, in contradiction to the miserable conditions in which soldiers and servants lived and were treated. 

6. Moby-Dick, Herman Melville

Moby Dick is the name of the white whale that Ahab wants to hunt, but for that he needs the help of the crew to start his revenge. This work, mentioned as one of the main novels of North America, accompanies the final voyage of the whaler Pequod, to whom Herman Melville confers the influences of various literary genres ranging from theater to scientific description, with a touch of philosophical meditation.

7. The Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri

There is no certainty about the year of writing of this work, between 1304 and 1321 (the year of Dante’s death), but one thing is certain: it is indisputably a great classic which accompanies and goes beyond generations. Divided between the three realms beyond the grave, Hell (it would be the depression of the Dead Sea, where all the waters converge), Purgatory and Paradise (for those, the segments of the concentric circles which, together , respond to celestial mechanics), it is these three parts that compose it.

8. Hamlet, William Shakespeare

A tragedy by William Shakespeare about how Hamlet tries to avenge his father’s death, with themes of betrayal, revenge, incest, corruption and morality. The poet and playwright gave birth to a piece that accompanies the maturity of the thought of a character who is represented in the person of a young prince. The culmination is when he becomes able to understand what is time, death and individual responsibility, since power is a factor of disturbance and confusion. It is precisely thanks to this reflection that he becomes an adult. 

9. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain

The first work of Mark Twain, a writer who according to Hemingway, “is an innovation, a new discovery of the English language”. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn tells the story of a boy (Huckleberry) and a river, recounting his travels and adventures with the slave Jim, odds and misfortunes, harassments and friendships, fueled with comedy and irony. A current book on racism, violence and freedom. 

10. The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

Novel about the prosperous and crazy years after the First World War, where Jay Gatsby and Daisy are the main characters chosen by the American writer to embody his love story between a naval officer who is at the start of his career and a pretty young lady. When she ends up marrying an extremely rich man, Jay Gatsby also decides to become rich, to be able to win back his beloved. And it will get there.

The Great Gatsby is a portrait of a world of extravagance, wealth and impending tragedy. 

11. Iliad, Homer

A work that still today maintains its ability to move and disturb the reader and is considered the Bible of ancient Greece. In a lively and true scenario in the feelings, it is about fights provoked by the rage of Achilles against Agamenon, stopped in front of Troyes, just like the family relations which did not manage to escape the effects of the War.

Undoubtedly, one of the best books of all time. 

12. One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez

You may take years to read it, but it certainly won’t be boring. Soar in the adventure of the Buendia – Iguaran family, high in miracles, fantasies, obsessions, tragedies, incests, adulteries, rebellions, discoveries, and condemnations that bring to life myths and history associated with tragedy and to love, with the presence of a century-old character named Ursula. 

13. Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert

Published in 1856, this book was continued by its sensual character and the provocative beauty granted to the main character: Ema Bovary. For Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert was almost condemned to prison, for what was, for him alone, a beautiful love story. In reality, these are royal facts that fueled and inspired the adventures that took five years to be written but which had great repercussions on the society of the time.

Indeed, it is a devastating critique of the French bourgeoisie of the 19th century.

14. Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoevsky

The masterpiece signed by the famous Russian author gave rise to the figure of the poor and desperate student Rskolnikov. He leads a life of deprivation and difficult living conditions that lead him to commit acts and behaviors that are not very rational. In order not to be punished for his crime, he argues that great men like Napoleon were assassins whom history took on the task of absolving. 

15. The Karamanov Brothers, Fyodor Dostoyevsky

A book that had a great impact on the literary world. It is, once again, a crime (homicide on an ascendant) whose culmination is marked by anti-theistic nihilism which is represented by one of the characters who give life to a catchy story named Ivan Karamazov.

16. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

It is from the work Pride and Prejudice that is constituted a love story full of innuendo that takes place at the end of the 18th century. Thus, it is the world of the English petty bourgeoisie of that time, which lives on class prejudices, petty interests and social vanities which destroy or prevent natural and spontaneous relationships like love. Of the five sisters whom the parents seek to marry in order to ensure a future for their daughters, Elizabeth is highlighted by her rebellion, her intelligence, and her persistence on social rules, which will not dictate her life.

17. Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte

Wuthering Heights is Emily Bronte’s only novel. Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw’s passion and tempestuous love eventually infect and affect the various lives of everyone around them, as if it were a curse they could not escape.

18. The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner

The tragedy of the aristocratic Compson family, residing in the south of the United States of America and the lives devastated by history and heritage, are linked in this novel considered one of the best of the 20th century.

William Faulkner created with this book “the little girl in his eyes” – the beautiful and tragic Caddy Compson – and the author, Nobel Prize for Literature, claimed that it caused him a lot of pain and anguish during the writing. 

19. Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov

Vladimir Nabokov has written a romantic, sensual and refined tale that denounces the American way of life represented by an older man and a young girl who, although she is only twelve years old, is anything but ingenuous. Lolita refers to the obsession of a grown man and the wickedness of a child, united by the chemistry they feel for each other. 

20. 1984, George Orwell

The author shows how an oligarchic society succeeds in reprimanding any individual who opposes it. He became famous for the denunciation made on the taxation and the control of a collectivist and socialist regime on its citizens, as well as on the invasion made on the rights of each one. Orwell, who suffered from tuberculosis, fought against death to be able to finish this work which represents a metaphor on the power and action of communist regimes. 

21. Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

Alice in Wonderland is a fantastic book that lives on for generations, and has been present in the childhood of many of us. For little Alice, the country where she lives allows her to make everything possible and marvellous, providing an inexhaustible world of characters that feed this little girl’s childhood dreams. A way to hide behind this infantile work nonsense and logical enigmas. 

22. The Lighthouse Walk, Virginia Woolf

The Ramsay family is on holiday on the Isle of Skye in Scotland, with guests. Mrs. Ramsay assumes the role of wife and mother in the presence of her hosts, in the company of her absurd and tragic husband, Mr. Ramsay. It all begins with the wish of James, their youngest son, to take a boat trip towards the lighthouse, a wish which the author takes advantage of to generate intrigues and build a moving narrative about the tensions and loyalties that exist in a family.

23. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens

Raised with his sister who lives with pious Joe in a small Kent village, young orphan Philip Pirrip, better known as Pip, is one day invited by the mysterious old lady, Mrs. Havisham, owner of the richest mansion in the whole county, to be Estelle’s companion. This last character is the young protege of Mrs. Havisham who, in the end, gives her a most Machiavellian education: to take revenge on all the men of this earth, by tearing their hearts. Great Expectations is Dickens’ most famous work of literature and one of the best books of all time. 

24. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy

Anna is a heroine of noble rank condemned by her destiny which led her to marry a man she did not love, a situation which she accepted until the day when she is surprised by a passion which she does not love. can’t control. It is not only a beautiful love story that Tolstoy tells us. The author takes this opportunity to underline his interest in moral questions that persist today at every age of humanity.

25. The heart catcher, Jérôme David Salinger

Last on our list is represented by anti-hero Holden Caufield, an iconic figure of nonconformity. Between his wishes and his anxieties, he tackles themes of identity, sexuality, alienation and the fear of existing.

A novel full of freshness and rebellion that makes us think of the sweetness of childhood which contrasts with the hypocrisy of adulthood.

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