Everyone has their favourite novels, but every so often a book comes along that has a long-lasting impact on society in general.
Whether it is because the story wins awards and critical acclaim, brings long-dead history back to life, garners a huge fan base, generates controversy, or all of the above, there are a few titles that have, quite simply, changed the world.
A comparison could be drawn to the effect that Vingt-et-Un, popular in France in the early 1700s and ancestor of the online blackjack we know and love today had on the world of real money gambling!
To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
This Pulitzer prize-winning masterpiece details questions of honour and justice in the Deep South region of the United States of America by telling the story of one man facing down blind and violent hatred.
Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
The first sentence of this book, stating that it’s a universally acknowledged truth that single men who possess good fortunes need wives, is one of literature’s most quoted, and sets up this timeless tale perfectly.
Its a humorous look at the difficulties of proper English society and all its unspoken intention, but luckily true love triumphs!
The Jungle, Upton Sinclair
This definitive protest novel revealed the harsh working conditions and filthy practices in the meatpacking industry in the United States of America in the early 20th century.
Native Son, Richard Wright
Bigger Thomas is doomed to a life in the penitentiary from the word Go. It could well have been as a result of assault or petty larceny, but ended up being for murder and rape. Native Son chronicles the story of this young black man and the downward spiral he’s caught in after he slays a young white women in a brief, panic-stricken moment..
War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
Hailed by many as the greatest novel ever written, War and Peace is not just an epic documenting the Napoleonic Wars, but a study in philosophy and a celebration of the spirit of Russia, too. Tolstoy’s genius is revealed in his meticulous detailing of the mass of characters in this enormous tome, each fully realised and as memorable as the next.
On the Road: The Original Scroll, Jack Kerouac
This edition is published word for word as Kerouac originally composed it. He typed it out on one long, single-spaced paragraph of eight sheets of tracing paper that he taped together to form a roll of paper measuring 120 feet. It is among the most celebrated, provocative, significant artifacts in the literary history of the USA.
Tropic of Cancer, Henry Miller
Celebrated as an American classic these days, this Henry Miller triumph was initially banned for being obscene for 27 years following its Paris publication in 1934.
One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez
Original, entertaining, fascinating, sorrowful, and peopled with unforgettable characters, One Hundred Years of Solitude is abrim with authenticity, sympathy, and the kind of lyrical magic that stays with you long after you close the book. Truly a tour de force in the art of fiction.