The Greatest Books of All Time
There are a number of books that have stood the test of time and become timeless classics. From Greek mythology to modern-day stories, these are the most important novels of all time.
Whether you’re a literary enthusiast or just looking for some new reading material, these books are a must-read.
The Song of Achilles by Homer
Homer’s Iliad is a legendary epic poem that details the story of Achilles and the Trojan War. It is one of the most important works in world literature and has been retold by authors like Rick Riordan, Edith Hamilton and Stephen Fry.
It is a tale of love, loss, and immortal fame that is both action-packed and bursting with emotional power. It is an utterly unique and enthralling retelling of a myth that has been around for centuries and which, at its best, captures the untold stories of the ancient Greeks and their heroes.
In The Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller offers a fresh perspective on the legend of Achilles and his companion Patroclus. Unlike many other mythology retellings, Miller’s book is narrated in the first person by Patroclus himself, who is central to Achilles’s story. This allows the reader to see the events of the war through the eyes of a close and sympathetic character, and it is this aspect of the novel which has garnered the highest praise for Miller.
The Song of Achilles has a lot to say about what it means to be human, but at the heart of its message is the love of two people for each other. The two men, Patroclus and Achilles, fall in love at a very young age and become inseparable, even while risking the gods’ wrath.
As they grow up, they become skilled in the art of war and medicine. Despite the displeasure of Achilles’ mother, Thetis, the sea goddess who tries to break up their relationship, they remain fiercely loyal and faithful to each other. Their friendship becomes more than just a love affair; it is a life-long bond, a deep and abiding passion that will withstand the test of time.
When it comes to examining the theme of ‘honor’ in the poem, Miller’s reading suggests that Achilles is a hero who is initially more concerned with his own honour than with the sufferings of others. This is a very interesting take on the poem, as it gives a deeper, more tragic dimension to the tale and introduces consequences to the elements of the story that had previously been avoided.
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
First published in 1929, The Sound and the Fury is William Faulkner’s fourth novel and one of his most celebrated works. It is generally regarded as one of the greatest novels in English and a key element in Faulkner’s “major period” of writing.
Set in Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi, The Sound and the Fury is a tumultuous story about the gradual degeneration of the Compson family. It is divided into four sections, each narrated by a different character on a different date. This unique structure allows the author to explore the Compsons’ declining health and social condition through a wide range of perspectives.
The first section is narrated by Benjy, a mentally retarded man who struggles to understand his world. He narrates a stream of consciousness that often combines memories from his past with current events, creating a disjointed and incomplete version of the story. He is accompanied by Luster, a teenaged black caretaker.
When Benjy is thirty-three, he spends his birthday by the golf course with his teenaged black caretaker Luster. He recalls several past events, including the death of his grandmother, Quentin and Caddy playing in a creek, his attack on a passing school girl, and his first kiss. He is also reminded of his mother’s death when she tries to give him a birthday present.
In the second section, narrated by Quentin, the Compson family is on the verge of collapse. The brothers are in conflict and Benjy’s mental impairment is a source of shame for the family. He is treated kindly by Dilsey, the Compsons’ servant, but she and the other black servants are not as warm toward him as they would be in a different society.
The third section, narrated by Jason, is the most morally complicated and emotionally compelling. It is a depiction of the Compsons’ relationship to religion and the role of spiritual caretaker Dilsey. It is also a commentary on race relations in the South and the idea of incest.
Despite its initially being written off as a work of fiction, The Sound and the Fury has since been hailed as a masterpiece. It is one of the major works in the American literary canon and played a significant role in Faulkner’s receiving the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
Originally published in Hebrew as “A Brief History of Humankind,” this book by Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari became an instant best-seller in Israel. It was translated into English a year later and sold more than 1 million copies in the U.S.
The book is a fascinating look at the development of human cognition and how it has changed our lives, from the Stone Age to the present day. It is also a book that weaves together science and the humanities to answer the question of what it means to be human in this modern world.
Sapiens begins about 70,000 years ago, when humankind evolved into a new species called Homo sapiens. At that point, sapiens were physically weaker and smaller than other large mammals, but they could communicate and cooperate in a way that allowed them to spread throughout the Earth.
At the same time, they had a genetic mutation that allowed them to use language and imagination. This mutation enabled humans to think in ways that were far different from other animals, including the ability to create stories and myths.
These myths are what make us human, and the fact that we can share them with other humans allows us to build amazing networks of cooperation that would be impossible for ants or chimps to do. It is this ability that sets sapiens apart from other species and explains why they are so dominant in the world.
Despite the great importance of this ability, however, we are not perfect. Our morality is often prone to irrationality, and we are susceptible to temptations that would be impossible for other animals.
This is why we need our collective imaginations to keep us in balance, to help guide us on the path of evolution and to prevent us from destroying ourselves and our environment. The problem, however, is that most human cooperative networks have tended to be geared towards oppression and exploitation.
What makes Sapiens stand out is that it tries to explain the development of humanity in a way that is both accessible and understandable by the general public. It does this by combining a history of human evolution with insights from the natural sciences and the humanities, aiming to offer a complete picture of the human story in fewer than 500 pages.
Beloved by Toni Morrison
In Beloved, Toni Morrison explores the themes of race and slavery. Using the story of Margaret Garner, an enslaved woman who killed her daughter to spare her a life of slavery, Morrison constructs a novel that explores the psychological and historical impact of slavery.
In this essay, Judith Schapiro examines the ways in which Beloved depicts the relationship between mother and child. She argues that Beloved embodies a fundamental conflict between self-realization and alienation. She applies Jessica Benjamin’s conception of the autonomous self, which is defined by recognition, to this conflict.
The protagonist of the story, Sethe, lives in House 124 with her 18-year-old daughter Denver. The house is haunted by the spirit of Beloved, a child who was murdered by Sethe when she was young.
Sethe and Denver have to overcome their past before they can move forward in their lives. They are influenced by Beloved’s presence in their home and she is a powerful symbol of the legacy of slavery.
Throughout the book, Beloved symbolizes the struggle that Sethe and Denver face when they are trying to break free from their traumatic past. Beloved also serves as a symbolic representation of the legacy of slavery in America, which is still deeply ingrained in our society.
Beloved is a book that is important in American education and is a good tool for students to learn about the effects of slavery. Bell explains that this text is an incredibly valuable tool in classrooms because it exposes students to “familiar and unfamiliar elements of slave experience” (Bell 4).
One of the most notable things about Beloved is that it is based on a true story. In fact, the novel is a reworking of the true story of Margaret Garner.
While some critics have criticized the novel, many others agree that it is an essential work of literature. It is an example of the powerful influence that writers have on their readers.
In addition to being a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Beloved is a significant work of literature that has stayed relevant throughout the years. Its themes and language are still as compelling today as they were when the novel was first written.