There are books that are revered because of their effect on art, and there are books that are remarkable because they literally change the very society from which they came. Here is a list of ten books that radically changed or shaped American society. I’ve excluded all religious texts because those are just too obvious. So without further delay, here’s the list! Leaves of Grass Walt Whitman, 1855
What a daunting task it would be to write a list like this, but fortunately for us, Norton (of the Norton Anthologies) asked 125 of the greatest living writers to select their top 10, and then (using statistics) produced a final list of the ten greatest books ever written. I certainly agree with the majority of the selections. This is a list of the top 10 fictional books of all time – needless to say, if you have not read these books, you probably should. 10. Middlemarch George Eliot
Postmodernism has become widely recognized as a movement consisting of an epic scope, innovative techniques and wide ranges of psychological and intellectual impact. The beginning of postmodernism is uncertain, but for the sake of continuity, James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake has been chosen as the chronological starting point for this list. Books have been decided upon by overall excellence rather than impact. Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable Samuel Beckett A triple-whammy from the master abstract minimalist, whose technique of viewing objectively the subjective world was taken to its zenith in this trilogy of meta-fictional neurosis, in which characters lives and situations seem to splice together until it becomes apparent they were the fictions of one person all along.
The ten novels on this list all substantiate the belief that books are the most elastic, introspective, human and entertaining form of media that exist. Not movies, not music, not art, not the theatre. A famous author once said that novels are the best way for two human beings to connect with each other. I believe this, and I believe that people who do not find pleasure in words have never had the opportunity to read one of the great novels.