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"The Divine Comedy, "Illiad", "Moby Dick", "Pride and Prejudice", "Frankenstein", "Ursula", "The Second Sex", "1984"...These are just some of the many books that have influenced the world with their ideas and enchanted generations. 

Classics are a great portrayal of their times and usually discuss important and timeless topics. With their memorable characters and stories, these works never lose their importance and are always being remembered by readers all over the world.

So, check out ten classic books that everyone should read here. 

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"Jane Eyre" - Charlotte Brontë

Anne, Charlotte, and Emily Brontë were famous British writers who brought to life many different literary classics. Adopting the pseudonym Currer Bell, their sister Charlotte Brontë published in 1847 the romance "Jane Eyre", one of those renowned and acclaimed works. The book is a fictional autobiography of the main character that the title refers to "Jane Eyre". It tells of the protagonist's life experiences since childhood and is therefore considered a "formative novel". The plot then brings Jane's family problems, loves, and sensitivity at the same time as it deals with serious social issues like sexuality, the status of women, and religion. It also carries different secrets and tragic events that lend mystery to the narrative.

"The Great Gatsby" - F. Scott Fitzgerald

In 1925, "The Great Gatsby" was written by the famous F. Scott Fitzgerald with remarkable masterful skill. The book has marked characteristics of the American society of the 1920s, with its huge parties and extravagances that marked the period after the First World War. It is in this background that we meet Nick Carraway, a young aspiring writer who begins a friendship with his neighbor: Jay Gatsby. Among mysteries, wealth, parties, treachery, passion, and luxury, the book tells the story of Jay, Daisy, and goes through all of Nick's admiration for the great elite. The work is amazing and world-renowned to this day. However, it is a well-formed critique of the "American dream" so prevalent at the time of its being written.

"Vidas Secas" - Graciliano Ramos

The novel was written by Graciliano Ramos in 1938 and is a Brazilian classic that has survived for generations. In the story of a family fleeing from the drought in the backlands of Brazil's Northeast, the author relates facts about the historical context of that time and touches the readers. Fabiano, Vitória, the children, and the dog Baleia captivate people, and each chapter is a contact to a new challenge of the journey. The family's search for survival portrays a period of the northeastern history of much misery. It brings up important social topics such as misery, neglect, and the precarious labor market.

"The Little Prince" - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Written in 1943 by French author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, it has become essential literature for children, young people, and adults. The book is narrated by a pilot who opens the story by telling about his plane accident in the middle of the Saara Desert and the beginning of his new friendship with an eccentric little prince who lived on an asteroid in space. Throughout the story, the Little Prince recounts his adventures to his new friend and talks about his fox and his darling rose. Extraordinary is probably one way to describe them. The classic is one of the most translated in the world and has been adapted several times. Full of reflections and surprises, the author shows us in a few pages that "the essential is invisible to the eyes".

"Quarto De Despejo: Diário De Uma Favelada" - Carolina Maria de Jesus

Carolina de Jesus was a black and marginalized woman who lived in a troubled period in the Brazilian context. She suffered from racism and discrimination, but never stopped writing. The book is from 1960 and reproduces the diary in which she told her daily life and stories about the environment in which she used to live: a slum in São Paulo during the 1950s. With powerful stories full of suffering and that show the daily difficulties, Carolina has made a mark in literature and denounced these problems. Her work has already been translated into ten languages and discusses issues ranging from inequalities and social injustice to the racism of societies.

"To Kill a Mockingbird" - Harper Lee

A timeless classic about racism and injustice that was written in 1960 by Harper Lee. Since its release, the book has surprised the public and even won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1961. The book relates a case of racial injustice in the United States of the 1930s, a society steeped in racism. The story is narrated by Scout, the daughter of a lawyer who must defend a black man accused of raping a white woman. The acclaimed work has aspects that go through necessary themes such as tolerance and justice, as well as dealing with serious issues such as rape and racism.

"Cien Años de Soledad" - Gabriel García Márquez

The small village called Macondo located in Latin American is the setting that surrounds the plot of the Buendía - Iguarán family, the founders of the place. Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez is the writer behind the 1967 classic that still surprises readers all over the world today. The story is full of characters and features a large family tree of the protagonist's family. The first family generation is made up of José Arcadio Buendía and Ursula Iguarán, who together have had three children with quite different personalities and are foster parents to an orphan girl who arrived in the village. Soon the grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and other generations of the family come into the picture. The book is considered a classic of Latin American Literature and was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1982.

A Hora da Estrela - Clarice Lispector

Clarice Lispector doesn´t need long presentations because of her greatness and significance for Brazilian literature. "A Hora da Estrela" is a 1977 novel and Clarice's last work. Nevertheless, the novelist innovated by approaching aspects of life and death with a mysterious delicacy that only she was capable of conferring on her writings. The book contains the story of Macabéa, a girl who never really knew what it was to live. From Alagoas, she moves to Rio de Janeiro and becomes a typist. Between different events, Macabéa's life is sad and, sometimes, miserable, but a turnaround may be the chance to change this cycle. With a curious protagonist and a remarkable plot, the work dialogues about reality and reflects about writing, inequalities, and the different rights of women.

"The Color Purple" - Alice Walker

Released in 1982, "The Color Purple" is a memorable epistolary novel that won author Alice Walker the Pulitzer Prize. It has been the basis for acclaimed film productions. In telling the story of Celie, the book deals with necessary issues like racial and sexual discrimination. At 14 years old, Celie is sexually abused by her father, gets pregnant by two children, and is forced to accept a marriage with her abuser. The plot is set against the background of the southern U.S. society of the time: embedded with machismo, racism, patriarchy, and various injustices against women.

"Ensaio sobre a Cegueira" - José Saramago

By the Portuguese writer José Saramago, "Ensaio sobre a cegueira" is a 1995 novel that is still acclaimed today. The book narrates an outbreak of white blindness that affects a town and brings with it countless problems, causing people to unite and destroy themselves at the same time. The author does not distinguish the characters by names, but by each person's particular characteristics. This detail makes the story even more fascinating. The spectacular work generates different reflections about society and human behavior.


The article above was edited by Marina Ponchio.

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Karina Almeida

Casper Libero '23

Journalist from São Paulo, Brazil. Passionate about books, cinema and culture.
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