Most Innovative Books

Most Innovative Books

Our team took votes on our top 5 most innovative books.

5. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

An American classic and Pulitzer Prize winner in 1953, The Old Man And The Sea is a novella and tells the tale of a fisherman and a young boy. In less than 130 pages, Hemingway has wrapped his characters so tightly in the description and quirky traits that you can’t help but wonder what the story is truly about is it the fisherman, the boy, their relationship, the old man’s relationship with the sea, etc. This is a very short story, but it is intended to be read slowly. Its writing style speaks of the story as much as the words themselves. Its rhythm moves like a tide, its sentence structure vast with a depth and yet still so very simple. The book is a reflection of the sea and should be taken as such.

4. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

Often confused with H.G. Wells’s science-fiction novella of nearly the same name (just subtract a “The”), Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man is a groundbreaking novel in the expression of identity for the African American male. The narrator of the novel, a man never named but believes  “invisible” to others socially, tells the story of his move from the South to college and then to New York City. In each location he faces extreme adversity and discrimination, falling into and out of work, relationships, and questionable social movements in a wayward and ethereal mindset. The novel, renowned for its surreal and experimental style of writing that explores the symbolism surrounding African American identity and culture. Invisible Man won the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction in 1953.

3. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Harper Lee believed to be one of the most influential authors to have ever existed, famously published only a single novel (up until its controversial sequel was published in 2015 just before her death). Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird was published in 1960 and became an immediate classic of literature. The novel examines racism in the American South through. The innocent wide eyes of a clever young girl named Jean Louise (“Scout”) Finch. Its iconic characters, most notably the sympathetic and just lawyer and father Atticus Finch. Served as role models and changed perspectives in the United States at a time when tensions regarding race were high. To Kill a Mockingbird earned the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1961. Later made into an Academy Award-winning film in 1962, giving the story and its characters further life and influence over the American social sphere.

2. The Great Gadsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is distinguished as one of the greatest texts for introducing students to the art of reading literature critically. The novel is told from the perspective of a young man named Nick Carraway. He has recently moved to New York City. Then befriended by his eccentric nouveau riche neighbor with mysterious origins, Jay Gatsby. The Great Gatsby provides an insider’s look into the Jazz Age of the 1920s in United States history while at the same time critiquing the idea of the “American Dream.” Perhaps the most famous aspect of the novel is its cover art—a piercing face projected onto a dark blue night sky and lights from a cityscape—an image that is also found, in a slightly different configuration, within the text itself as a key symbol.

1. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote, perhaps the most influential and well-known work of Spanish literature, was first published in full in 1615. The novel, regarded as one of the best literary works of all time. Tells the story of a man who takes the name “Don Quixote de la Mancha.”. He then sets off in a fit of obsession over romantic novels about chivalry. Therefore, to revive the custom and become a hero himself. The character of Don Quixote has become an idol and somewhat of an archetypal character. Influencing many major works of art, music, and literature since the novel’s publication. The text has been so influential that a word, quixotic, based on the Don Quixote character. Created to describe someone who is, “foolishly impractical especially in the pursuit of ideals; especially. Marked by rash lofty romantic ideas or extravagantly chivalrous action.”

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