Many readers have their favorite books, and they often enjoy finding others who share those favorite books. Other readers enjoy discovering new books and appreciate the recommendations of friends and family. Here’s a list of ten beautiful books to read.
1. The Great Gatsby
The gilded tragedy of Jay Gatsby is a frequent choice on the list of most beautiful books to read. Narrator Nick Carraway relates the story of Jay Gatsby, who used his wealth to craft the life he’d always dreamed of. Gatsby held court at his elaborate parties – each as lavish as a holiday party. Yet, Gatsby longed to possess Daisy Buchanan – a married woman he’d courted years ago.
Jay and Daisy are brought back together at one of Jay’s parties. Their passion is reignited, and their love seems as fleeting and ornate as Jay’s parties. With Daisy, Jay had reached the pinnacle of all his dreams. But that dream came at a price.
Even a life as charmed as Jay’s has its share of human frailties. Slowly, sadly, the tragedy of the story overshadows the glamour. In the end, the enchantment of Fitzgerald’s world begins to slowly slip away. In the end, their glamour only flickers, like the embers of a campfire.
2. Fahrenheit 451
For a book lover, Fahrenheit 451 may seem like a tragedy. However, with careful reflection, the book can serve as a cautionary tale for today’s media-loving society. Instead of being a story of the destruction of books, we can see Guy Montag as a crusader who ultimately triumphs. With this viewpoint, Ray Bradbury’s engrossing tale becomes one of many beautiful books to read.
Guy Montag is a firefighter who has been assigned to burn books. He begins to question this role after meeting a free-thinking girl named Clarisse. Guy’s wife has a quasi-relationship with the media; to her, they’re her faithful companions. Guy grows apart from his wife and makes a fateful choice that separates him from his coworkers.
It seemed as if their firefighters’ increasing inhumanity blotted out the pride formerly conveyed by their fire department patches. The frightening images of so many books burning reminds us of we all need to prioritize our literacy rather than passively immerse ourselves in a media overload. Ultimately, we can be thankful that Guy emerges, at the end, with freedom of thought.
3. Red Mars
Science fiction lovers have embraced this story of a voyage to the Red Planet. Author Kim Stanley Robinson has crafted a story that belongs on the list of beautiful books to read. Robinson’s captivating style allows the reader to imagine they’re one of the story’s intrepid colonists. Yet, the issues faced by the new inhabitants of Mars will seem familiar to us today.
Frank Chalmers is a character we want to like, because he seems to have the good of humanity in mind. When our hero becomes an assassin, he still seems to have society’s freedom in mind. As the colonists divide into factions, their disparate ideologies become opposites. Despite the book’s setting of Mars, the two sides appear to echo the current political climate of 2023 America.
To the reader, those who favor a Martian water filtration system are sensible. The Martian climate is depicted by Robinson as too harrowing without an influx of water. However, the benefit of revising Mars’ terrain to provide water also results to a threat to the colonists’ existence. Chalmers does become society’s hero in the end, although his outcome is far from what he dreamed.
4. Brave New World
Most of us have wished to live in a world where we could fulfill every desire. Aldous Huxley brings us a world like that – albeit with a price. In that world, Huxley shows us people being grown in bottles. They’re born as captives, with proscribed roles in society. Although their slavery is alleviated by consistent access to their favorite pleasures, the main characters seem discontented.
Huxley’s world shows us a society where people have no choices in their work – yet acquire whatever they want in their private lives. In this new world, the more the characters have, the more they want. Eventually, the citizens become disgusted by the sight of a woman named Linda – a woman who has aged naturally rather than opt for face lift surgery or other accepted alterations.
Brave New World presents another cautionary tale of a world where well-meaning leaders impose their ideas on everyone else. Despite it being written almost 100 years ago, it remains relevant today. Huxley’s skilled prose is reason enough for this to appear on the list of the most beautiful books. In the end, its lesson becomes a warning: Those with everything they want are sure to eventually become jaded.
5. Jurassic Park
If you’ve seen the movie but have yet to read the book, you’re missing out on many details that may let you enjoy the story in a brand-new way. Michael Crichton’s spellbinding words were too vivid to remain on their pages. The story begins with a seemingly scientific basis: DNA of dinosaurs, found in fossils, can be used to recreate the dinosaurs. This idea sparks as quickly as a firecracker but ends with catastrophic consequences.
Scientists Alan Grant and Ellie Sattler begin their stories with pure motives but are swept into the momentum of the enterprising investor, John Hammond. It’s easy to imagine why the park seemed too good an idea to resist. But the dinosaurs become hellbent on evolving into new versions of themselves. This becomes not just their glory but their doom – and the doom of others.
On Isla Nubar, the team of professionals welcomes Ellie and Alan to the newly formed staff of the island, including an ambitious veterinarian. Efforts by the team to stem the tide of the resilient wave of dinosaurs proved insufficient. The consequences seem both tragic and inevitable. Capturing imagination like the best novels do, Jurassic Park is a worthy selection to add to a list of beautiful books to read.
6. The Godfather
The movie version of “The Godfather” is usually listed on a list of ‘Best Movies,’ so it’s not difficult to imagine the story must be on the list of beautiful books to read. Mario Puzo introduces the lives of a Mafia family: the Corleones. Puzo’s words allow us to look at Don Vito Corleone and see the essence of his humanity.
Puzo persuades readers to see themselves in the souls of men who include murder on their daily ‘to-do’ lists. In this saga, most characters brandish a firearm as casually as a briefcase. Many of us can relate to feeling frustration when newer, younger coworkers want to phase out those of us with seasoned experience. As the story unfolds, the actions of the family become more sinister as son, Michael Corleone, assumes the mantle of Vito’s leadership.
Those who’ve seen the movie may enjoy superimposing the movie’s actors with the book’s characters. In this case, it may enhance the reader’s enjoyment of the book. (It also helps to keep the movie’s musical theme inside your head.) The tale of these larger-than-life characters will entertain you and leave you glad their world was a visit – but not a destination.
7. Life of Pi
Sailing all day in a boat might seem to be an idyllic life. For Pi, the protagonist in Yann Mattel’s ‘Life of I,’ being stranded in a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger is a radically different experience. Pi’s father was a zookeeper and raised him to be familiar with animals. Yet, even Pi’s father was unlikely to imagine that a tiger would one day be Pi’s only companion.
Pi’s tale is one few can imagine: a shipwreck that lands him in a lifeboat with a hyena, a zebra, and an orangutan. The zebra and orangutan meet an inevitable fate from the hyena, while the hyena is soon dispatched by Pi’s old friend, the tiger. After that, for 227 days, Pi and the tiger learn to coexist in the lifeboat. Pi finds himself supremely grateful for having taken swimming lessons.
The lessons he learns in the lifeboat challenge the limits of Pi’s moral and spiritual boundaries. The experience must have been harrowing, yet Mattel’s prose elevates the experience to seem like an ethereal dream. We long to see Pi arrive safely home, yet we are enchanted by his journey. This enchanting tale is one of the most beautiful books to read.
8. The Old Man and the Sea
Ernest Hemingway is considered a masterful author for a reason. In The Old Man and the Sea, Hemingway weaves an allegory about an aging fisherman and a formidable fish into a lesson about life. Hemingway’s robust writing style lands this book on the list of beautiful books to read.
Santiago (the old man) is an empathetic protagonist. It’s easy to see how his life evolved into its present situation. Essentially, this becomes the story of the futility of fighting the inevitable toll of aging. Santiago wants to keep fishing since it’s the only life he knows.
Even when Santiago finally outmaneuvers a giant marlin and catches it, his quest for survival isn’t over. When the marlin is eaten by predators, Santiago’s efforts seem to have been for nothing. Ultimately, the reader sees the book as much more than a fishing guide. We can dream, with Santiago, of another adventure, no matter what age we may be.
Author J.G. Ballard relays the unique tale of a group of people who are fascinated by car crashes. Their fixation with celebrity car wrecks can be challenging to comprehend. However, the book is an example of how this skilled author can depict something completely out of our comfort zone. Ballard miraculously does so; in a way that we can become fascinated by it — even while being horrified.
Narrator John Ballard (named after the author) meets his idol, the sinister Dr. Robert Vaughn, after becoming the victim of a car crash. Vaughn is a charismatic group leader fascinated by the reenactment of the car crashes of celebrities like Marilyn Monroe. Vaughn’s ultimate ambition is to die in a head-to-head crash into Elizabeth Taylor.
Many injured car crash victims might call an auto injury attorney immediately, but John becomes obsessed with videos of other car crashes. This obsession begins to take on a more intense nature. This book may seem an unusual nomination for the list of beautiful books to read. However, suppose the reader can put aside the more extreme elements of its provocative nature. In that case, it becomes a fascinating saga of how our innermost desires can become our undoing if we are not vigilant.
10. Pride and Prejudice
Romance novel lovers often cite this as one of the most beautiful books. Jane Austen’s novel is the inspiration for countless future tales of brooding heroes who deny their feelings until they can no longer resist. The book introduces the five Bennett sisters, whose mother wants each to acquire a wedding ring. Mrs. Bennett fears the family fortune will soon be diverted to someone who won’t use it to care for the girls.
The five sisters meet several suitors. Among them is Fitzwilliam Darcy, who discourages a match between the eldest sister, Jane, and Charles Bingley. Bingley eventually leaves for England, and Bennett’s sister Elizabeth becomes angry with Darcy. Darcy comes to admire Elizabeth’s passion- but she wants no part of his attention.
The book’s ending is an intricate carousel of courtships and their dissolution. Ultimately, three of the five sisters become engaged to the man of their dreams. That one of them is Elizabeth and her fiance; Darcy should be no surprise to anyone paying attention to Austen’s skillful prose. These happy endings for the Bennett sisters are a satisfying conclusion to this beautiful story.
Any of these books would be an excellent choice for a reader looking for beautiful books to read. Each of them has a unique point of view, and some may strain your credulity. But all the authors of these books have woven worlds that can transport our senses for the duration of their pages. As we inhabit the world of these stories, we may discover new aspects of ourselves.