Throughout history, notorious authors have been writing books that are meant to open society’s eyes to the various ills of the world. Interestingly enough, no matter what year the book was written, almost of these eye-opening books are sure to have some relevance to your life today.
1. 1984 by George Orwell
In this fictional dystopian novel, citizens live their lives as slaves to the workforce, while never-ending war rampages endlessly. To better understand what you will be reading, here is possibly the most famous quote from the book, “War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength.” Of course, many people are beginning to believe that this book is beginning to look a lot like non-fiction, based on our world today.
2. Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts
In a world of uncertainty, horror, anxiety and suffering, as you read deeper and deeper into this novel, you will begin to see a puzzle come together. This novel is a topsy-turvy roller coaster ride that will provide you with a visceral picture of metropolitan India in which an escaped Australian bank robber will constantly keep you on edge.
3. The Doors of Perception by Aldous Huxley
In this philosophical essay, Aldous Huxley describes his experiences while taking mescaline. By recalling his intuitive thoughts which he explains range from “purely aesthetic” to “sacramental vision”, Huxley will make you question the meaning behind everything you once held as true.
4. Brave New World
Similar to 1984, this book appears to be a prediction of the year 2540. In the book, Huxley predicts a time when reproductive technology is at an all-time high, and almost everyone is born inside of a test tube. Other advancements are also explained in the novel, such as sleep-learning, classical conditioning, and other forms of psychological manipulations that completely change society into an entirely new world. While reading this book, just imagine if this is really what life will be like in the soon to be future.
5. The Giver
The Giver is yet another dystopian novel, however, it is aimed at a younger audience. But, don’t let that stop you from reading it, as it is insightful no matter what age you are. In the book, you follow along with 12-year-old Jonas who lives in a society that has been removed from any pain or hardship. When children reach a certain age, they are granted their lifelong career. Jonas is the receiver of memory and it is his task to hold every memory of the times before. Included in these are excrutiating pain, disturbia, deep sadness, and a world that no longer exists.
6. Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle by Carl Jung
As stated in the book review, “Jung was intrigued from early in his career with coincidences, especially those surprising juxtapositions that scientific rationality could not adequately explain. He discussed these ideas with Albert Einstein before World War I, but first used the term “synchronicity” in a 1930 lecture, in reference to the unusual psychological insights generated from consulting the I Ching. A long correspondence and friendship with the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Wolfgang Pauli stimulated a final, mature statement of Jung’s thinking on synchronicity, originally published in 1952 and reproduced here.”
7. Anthem by Ayn Rand
In this novel, man has entered yet another dark age. All individualism has been destroyed, and children are raised in a collective home after being taken from their parents. As the book continues, he is told that he is cursed because he can learn quickly and asks many questions. As the book continues his life experience is only made worse, due to his “curse.” Soon, he hatches a plan to make everything better, for himself, and for everyone else.
8. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
In this novel, the main character is a slave to his job. He constantly works to have material things to make him happy, yet he is plagued by emptiness and insomnia. Later, he meets Tyler Durden while traveling for work. As their friendship transpires, Tyler becomes somewhat of a guru to our main character, or so he thinks. They start a fight club, in which they not only fight, but they learn about the true meaning of life. With plenty of satire, shenanigans, and all out mayhem, this book is sure to open your eyes, while keeping you constantly entertained.
9. Plant Intelligence and the Imaginal Realm: Beyond the Doors of Perception Into the Dreaming of Earth by Stephen Harrod Buhner
According to Buhner, all life on planet Earth is sentient, intelligent, has a language, as well as a sense of self. Furthermore, all life can dream. In order to show this, he explains that we are constantly opening the doors of perception consciously, and by doing so we can all reconnect with Nature in order to become whole again.
10. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
In a dark and grim dystopian world filled with teenage violence to the extreme, young Alex describes his graphically brutal experiences with inflicting violence on others. He and his “droogs” constantly bring hell down on society by indulging in their taste for “ultra-violence.” As you read, it becomes strikingly obvious that Alex is a sociopath. He is intelligent, witty, loves Beethoven, and sips on “milk-plus” or milk laced with chosen drugs. Later, Alex is caught brutally murdering a woman and receives 14 years in prison. While in prison, a technique is tried on him, which through graphic images, and nausea inducing injections works as an aversion technique to make him sick when he thinks of anything violent. As it continues, he is released, and encounter what can only be described as karma, unfortunately, it isn’t long lived. Many have described this book as a questioning of morality itself.
11. Magicians of the Gods: The Forgotten Wisdom of Earth’s Lost Civilization by Graham Hancock
In this book, Hancock presents information and evidence that he believes supports his theory that a global cataclysm wiped out a once great and technologically advanced global civilization in the past.
12. Candide by Voltaire
In this satire novel by Voltaire, young Candide has been schooled on optimism most of his life and has lived a very sheltered life. Soon, he learns that the world is not what he was taught to believe. Instead, he experiences pain and hardships in the world which show him a much different picture than what he had been indoctrinated with. This book has been considered quite scandalous throughout time, however, it definitely has something to teach each reader who picks it up.
In this world, we are constantly told many different things, and oftentimes, these ideals are in conflict with one another. But, the one thing we do have is thought. Oftentimes, well, more often than not, a book has much more to teach us than words. Why? Books inspire us to think, and whether we agree with the premise of the book, you will never finish a book without understanding at least one subject in a different light. All of the above-listed books are guaranteed to open your eyes to an entirely different view on almost everything. If not all of them, at least most of them will touch your soul.