Read this only if you’re not normal

Apparently I’m being punished by living in the hipster era. Will it never end? I was born earnest and have never found my place in this world. Which is why I get excited when I find people expressing enthusiasm for the stories they love—people who seem authentic and honest and who make me want to read the ten works in this list that I haven’t already read.

If you’re all about being in style, just go away. Don’t watch these videos. Don’t click through, and don’t read on.

Invitation to World Literature

“The passionate loves and longings,
hopes and fears of every culture
live on forever in their stories.”

The Epic of Gilgamesh
Sumerian, 2600 BCE and older

My Name Is Red
Turkish, Orhan Pamuk, 1998

The Odyssey
Greek, circa 8th century BCE

The Bacchæ
Greek, Euripides, 405 BCE

The Bhagavad Gita
Sanskrit, 1st century CE

The Tale of Genji
Japanese, Murasaki Shikibu, circa 1014

Journey to the West
Chinese, Wu Ch’êng-ên, circa 1580

Popul Vuh
Quiché-Mayan, circa 1550s

Candide
French, Voltaire, 1759

Things Fall Apart
English, Chinua Achebe, 1959

One Hundred Years of Solitude
Spanish, Gabriel García Márquez, 1967

The God of Small Things
English, Arundhati Roy, 1998

The Thousand and One Nights
Arabic, circa 14th century

Kay Nielsen art
Illustration: Kay Nielsen

Invitation to World Literature was funded by Annenberg Media, which offers resources for the professional development of K-12 teachers in the United States. The website is a companion to the television series produced by WGBH Boston.

Thanks to Project Gutenberg’s Facebook page for sharing this and many other links to the best of the web.

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