Top 10 Books To Read Before You Die

Riya Pant,   Blog   21 April 2022
Top 10 Books To Read Before You Die

Books are the way to a life we never lived. Books teach us a lot and they stay with us forever. But there are more books than us and if you started making a list of books everyone should read, it would never end. 

Of course, this list is not complete. There are so many more books that you can read and must read. It is impossible to curate a list of only 10 books as the most important reads.

So many books, so little time; but maybe with these 10 books you can kick off your journey on the magic of literature. 


Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen

Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is the epitome of a romance novel. Written in the late 1790s and still standing strong amongst readers all over the world, Austen calls this brilliant craft her ‘own darling child’. You’ll be missing out on literature if you miss this book. 

The romantic clash between our opinionated heroine Elizabeth Bennet who Austen calls ‘as delightful a creature as ever appeared in the print’ and the proud hero Mr Darcy, the subtle intrigue and flirtation between them along with the high society and witty banter in typical Austen style makes this one of the most celebrated books in history. 


1984 - George Orwell

Written in 1948, 1984 is a dystopian, social-science fiction about totalitarianism. This book was Orwell’s nightmarish prophecy about a bureaucratic system where the citizens are regulated so intensely and extremely. Everything is controlled by the system; waking, eating, working, talking, sleeping, everything. 

This book follows the story of a poor man trying to find some sense of balance and control in a world where even your closest people can betray you. Individualism is a crime; there is no freedom. Even the characters in the book seem so surfaced as there is not much depth to people in this world as they succumb to the system. 


Beloved - Toni Morrison

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Beloved is a critique of the slave trade in America. Sethe was born a slave and escaped Ohio, but 18 years later is still haunted by her past. Her house is haunted by her child who died nameless whose tombstone is engraved ‘beloved’. A mysterious teenage girl arrives claiming herself as ‘beloved’, and Sethe’s secrets are all revealed one by one. 

This book does an incredibly wonderful job at portraying how a hideous past can make its way back to someone and the people around them. 


The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald

A classic loved by many, this book is a must-read. This is a story of the young, mysterious but incredibly wealthy Jay Gatsby set during the Jazz Age or the Roaring Twenties in the dreamland of New York.

Told from the perspective of Nick Carraway, this story revolves around his mysterious neighbour Gatsby who is in love with Nick’s distant relative Daisy Buchanan. From hosting grand and loud though tasteful parties in hopes of seeing Daisy to the very symbolic green light across the bay, it is hard not to fall in love with the Great Gatsby.


We Should All Be Feminists - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Feminism has taken different forms and meanings throughout history. But what does it mean to be a ‘feminist’ now? In this personal, eloquently argued essay, Adichie offers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century, one rooted in inclusion and awareness. 

She highlights the institutional behaviours that marginalize women all over the world drawing extensively on her own experiences and understanding of the masked realities of sexual politics. This is a wonderful book that reasons why we should all be feminists, now more than ever. 


To Kill A Mockingbird - Harper Lee 

Told from the perspective of an 11-year-old (Scout) living with her sibling (Jem), her father (Atticus Finch) and a caretaker (Calpurnia), this book encompasses all childlike nature in its language. This book touches on heavier topics such as racism, the upheaval between classes, rape and justice as perceived by a child trying to find a way in life. 

It is not hard to believe why it is on this list and is considered to be one of the most loved and celebrated American literature. 


 Frankenstein - Mary Shelly

In her 1818 novel, Mary Shelly tells the story of a young scientist, Victor Frankenstein who creates a sapient ‘monster’ in an unorthodox scientific experiment. Frankenstein has never become more relevant since the dangers posed by the Big Tech and cloning techniques are now more than ever. 

This wonderful novel asks an important question about what it means to be a human and the cost when technology interferes with nature and human values. 


Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe

First published in 1958, Things Fall Apart has been translated into more than 50 languages all over the world. This book takes us deep into the Igbo culture, rich in culture as well as superstition. In the pre-colonial life in the southeastern part of Nigeria and the arrival of Europeans in the 19th century. 

Okonkwo is a very intriguing character; abusive, misogynistic, impatience and has very little regard for others. Still, we can’t help but feel pity for him as the life of his ancestors is being taken away cruelly by the British settlers. This book is ‘uniquely and richly African’ and a one-of-a-kind read. 


Born A Crime - Trevor Noah

Born a Crime: Stories From A South African Childhood is a coming-of-age memoir by Trevor Noah. This book begins with a criminal act: his birth. He was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by 5 years. 

It tells a story of a mischievous boy, who grows on to become a strong, restless young man during a tumultuous time, who was never supposed to exist in the first place, raised by a strong, rebellious mother. This is an exceptional book to read and one you should not miss. 


Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind - Yuval Noah Harari

If there is any book that you should read in your lifetime, it should be about how it started; how we came to be. 

100,000 years ago, at least six human species inhabited the Earth, Today there is just one; us. Homo Sapiens. How did our species succeed in the battle for dominance? How were our ancestors able to build a civilization?

In Sapiens, Dr Harari spans the whole of human history. Drawing insight into biology, anthropology, palaeontology and economics, he explores how the currents of history have shaped our human societies. And we should all read this book to understand our influence on human civilization for centuries to come. 


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