At some point in our lives we come across specific things, objects, stories, places, etc. that make such an impact that they stick with us forever.
Something that has always had an impact on people in a strong way is stories – more specifically books. There are trillions of books out in the universe that cater to something and someone different. Endless amounts of different stories (both fact and fiction) that tell tales, that draw us in and that sometimes completely change our outlook on something. Whether you’re too cool to admit it or not, the power of reading someone else’s words is pretty cool.
With just about everything, there are “must see,” “must read,” “must watch,” etc. books, shows, movies, music, plays, vacation – you get the picture. People will always have their opinions on these topics, but everyone takes in the artistry different. Each individual takes away a different feeling, meaning or lesson from their experience; and that’s what makes it so special.
This specific blog is covering 5 classic books that we believe every man should read (if you weren’t already forced to in high school – and if you were, read it again). These books are bold, sad, honest and brave. They each tell a remarkable story that will be sure to stick with you forever. They are books that make such an impact it’s extremely difficult to walk away from reading them feeling like you haven’t learned anything. And every time you read them, you can easily take away something different. They are stories that men can relate with. They are stories that dig deep and make you think.
So, put the phone down. We’re not cutting corners with Spark Notes on these classics. Take some time for yourself and read (or re-read) these classics. You’ll be so glad that you did.
The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
A true regal classic (to say the least), The Great Gatsby is a story that almost everyone has read at some point or another. The story of Nick Carraway who was the neighbor of Jay Gatsby in the summer of 1922. Nick was new to town; a town that is full of wealthy, prestigious and established people that attend extravagant parties every weekend (hosted by Gatsby). We won’t go into too much detail, but the story takes a turn as Nick finds out more and more about the people living around him (including his cousin Daisy). There is drama, deceit, paranoia and death. The lesson: Money doesn’t always equal happiness.
Lord of the Flies (William Golding)
Taking place at a time of war, Lord of the Flies tells a story about a group of schoolboys from Britain that end up on a deserted island after the plane they were on was shot down and the pilot died from the crash. This intense, story turns into a frightening tale of hallucination, backstabbing, our impulse reactions as humans, wanting total power over socialism, and their ultimate transformation into total barbarity. The lesson: The constant internal struggle as individuals over what people believe to right vs. wrong; and how that influence impacts us internally and mentally.
The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
There’s a strong possibility that at some point in high school most of you reading this blog have either come across this book, written a paper on it, and have actually read it yourself. This classic novel by J.D. Salinger is a story told by the main character Holden that is presumed to “currently” be in some sort of mental institution getting treatment. The story focuses on Holden’s teenage years at his prep school and the struggles with being a student, expulsion and exploration of the “truth” about adulthood. The lesson: Growing up is confusing, scary and unpredictable but an incredible journey.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Mark Twain)
Mark Twain being one of the most famous writers in history crafted this story about two boys named Huck and Jim that are both trying to “free” themselves of circumstances in their lives. Huck, feeling controlled by society, and Jim from being a literal slave; their goals end up conflicting at first, but then realizing the only way to get what they both want is to work together. Over time, Huck puts aside his “learned views” of Jim, and begins to see him as a human and an equal rather than a slave. The story is full of inner conflict, life lessons and ultimately friendship on the journey of emancipation. The lesson: The conflict between what is viewed as “natural life” vs. cultivation – and our development as individuals through experiences with others not like us.
Slaughterhouse Five (Kurt Vonnegut)
This intense, but memorable novel tells a story about a character named Billy Pilgrim who is thrusted into war and taken prisoner by the Germans when he was a teenager. As the story progresses, things get a big strange after Billy returns home to continue his studies and practices in optometry. Moments of PTSD, kidnapping, other planets, “time travel” and philosophies on the matter, and Billy’s sharing of everything he has been through. The lesson: The deep and tough question relating to if “free will” actually exists or if it’s just an idea we have created.
Although the list of classic and timeless novels could go on for pages beyond pages, these are five that have made major impacts in many people’s lives. These stories all have themes that make us think about ourselves, our lives and the universe around us. Which, sometimes is something we need to be brought down to reality on. They’re novels of inner conflict and how that leads to personal growth. Something we can (as humans) can relate too. Plus, they’re just really great, entertaining and thought-provoking novels that everyone should experience (of course, in our opinion).