It’s an evergreen story; anyone who has ever bickered over money with a loved one will see themselves in it.
The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne One of the most complex novels ever written, dealing subtly with issues of sin, justice, shame, and religion, this is one of those novels that many people encounter first in school.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll Lewis Carroll’s nonsensical story of a young girl falling down a rabbit hole and entering the strange, perilous world of Wonderland is so influential, so commonly referenced, reimagined, and reinterpreted, it transcends time.
The Red Badge of Courage, by Stephen Crane Many books have explored the true terror and dread of combat, but one of the first and most powerful to subvert the cliché of glorious warfare is Crane’s 1895 masterwork.
Captains Courageous, by Rudyard Kipling Kipling’s 1897 novel is the story of a spoiled rich American teenager named Harvey who is washed overboard in a storm and rescued by a fishing boat.
The crew doesn’t believe his stories of wealth, but the Captain takes him on as a crew member.
What makes it so interesting is it explores the subject without succumbing to the temptation to become an anti-war screed, presenting the protagonist, Henry, as a young man who dreamed of glory but finds his first experience in combat to be terrifying.
After fleeing the battlefield, he returns to his regiment seeking the “Red Badge of Courage”—that is, a wound—and behaves more bravely, only to discover his whole unit is considered expendable.