5 Must-Read Books from the 20th Century






The last century is known to be a bridge between the old and the new, ‘Modern’ in the truest sense. But apart from the technological boom, this time period also acted as a treasure trove for literature lovers… so many iconic works were published during this time, so many legendary tales. And though it was a tough task to undertake here are 5 of those works that every story-lover must check out at least once in their life.


Originally in German, this coming of age psychological thriller written by Hermann Hesse, though published a hundred years ago still remains relevant in more ways than one. The themes this book covers and the way it is executed is worthy of being applauded as a classic. 

The reason I think that this book is a must-read is because there are a lot of things one can learn from it. Honestly, there were a lot of times when I had to put the book down while reading and just stare off into the space thinking about the meaning of life… but rest assured it’s not a really heavy read and is quite enjoyable.


If you haven’t read The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery you are seriously missing out on a lot. Though this 1943 novella is considered to be Children’s literature but its magic transcends age and time. Such poignant themes and philosophy told in a fantastical way- you don’t simply read this story... you go on an adventure full of nostalgia and fantasy with it.


Bypassing works like The Catcher in the Rye, Fahrenheit 451 and even the Great Gatsby, I chose Flowers for Algernon to be a part of this list for one reason alone- I can’t get over it. It’s actually tough for me to express what’s so good about this one but believe me it’s one of the stories that need more recognition.

Flowers for Algernon is a 1959 story written by Daniel Keyes and is told from the perspective of Charlie Gordon, the protagonist who is differently abled. This science fiction incorporates the theme of ethics, morality and human behavior in a narrative that makes one think… and think hard.


Any list of must-reads is incomplete without adding something by the Queen of Mysteries who in a sense dominated the 20th century popular literature. Though Agatha Christie wrote many, many amazing tales of sleuthing, there are a few of her works that stand out in how they manage to surprise the reader with their sheer brilliance. 

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is one such work and one of my absolute favorite mysteries. The entire book just moves on so naturally that when the truth is eventually revealed, it hits harder than what the readers prepared for. It’s a book one must absolutely give a try to, whether or not a fan of the genre.


And how can we forget the series that took the world by storm? So to end our list of choice books we have the book that started it all! Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was published in 1997 and though it’s essentially a children’s book, it is loved by people of all ages because of the unique setting and relatable characters. 

This franchise which includes 7 main books, at least half a dozen supplementary works and 8 movie adaptations defined the childhoods of millions of people around the globe and if you haven’t read it yet… what are you waiting for?

So here we are at the end of our list of five 20th century books that are a must-read. Of course, these 5 are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the vast literary treasure of the 20th century. Books like 1984, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Narnia Chronicles, The Grapes of Wrath, Love in the Time of Cholera and Animal Farm are some other timeless reads that the past century gifted us, with each being more entertaining, more thought-provoking and even more delightful than the other. 

Happy Reading!

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