Reading lengthens life. We don't say it. Researchers say so. It does not matter whether it is on paper or in electronic format. According to the Yale University School of Medicine, readers have a survival rate of more than two years compared to those who do not touch books or with a stick.
But this is not the only reason why we would recommend reading. We have a thousand and one to do it. One of the most important: that reading will make you free , because you will be informed and will have in your hands everything you need to have to face ignorance.
Furthermore, books are an inexhaustible source of stories and adventures. A destination for which you do not need a passport, no suitcases, or money. And since we don't want it to cost you a penny, today we have proposed to give you up to 20 recommendations of literary classics that you can download and read for free.
Are you ready for this adventure? We are looking forward to starting. 1,2, 3, go!
1. Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes
It is the classic par excellence. A book whose magnitude must be embraced and understood, because it helps us better understand all literature. And why not, also the human race. Its central axis is the demystification of the chivalric novel , but the truth is that different issues related to the society of the time converge in the work. Issues that, on the other hand, are perfectly exportable today.
However, both the first and the second part have become one of the greatest works of world literature. The first modern novel . The book to read.
2. Lazarillo de Tormes, Anonymous
Written in the first person and in epistolary style, La vida de Lazarillo de Tormes and his fortunes and adversities is an anonymous novel, which is framed within the genre of the picaresque novel . In fact, this was its forerunner. In this the story of a child is told, who is Lázaro de Tormes himself, from birth to adulthood.
The story reflects the vices and the most hypocritical attitudes of the society of the time , with a harsh criticism of the clergy. The Inquisition forbade it and it did not come into the hands of readers again until well into the 19th century.
3. The dog in the manger, Lope de Vega
And we are going for another Spanish classic: Lope. The dog in the manger is one of the most famous plays in Spanish literature. A palatine comedy in which Diana, who cannot love Teodoro, does not let him love anyone or be loved by another person .
The story is accommodated in the expression of "Being like the dog in the manger, who neither eats nor lets eat . " Because, although the dog does not want to eat the vegetables that grow in his master's garden, he does not let other animals eat them either.
4. The Seagull, Anton Chekhov
It is one of the most celebrated dramas of the Russian author Anton Chekhov . Written in 1896, it focuses the romantic conflict on four characters: Nina, Irina, Konstantín Treplev and Trigorin. At its premiere, La Gaviota was an absolute failure, but later rose to stardom thanks to the production of the famous Stanislavski.
With explicit references to Shakespeare's Hamlet , the play is, in fact, highly linked to Shakespearean tragedy. In this the fall from grace of a young woman with a magnificent voice is narrated, in love with a bullfighter who is killed in the square.
5. Desolation, Gabriela Mistral
If we talk about Gabriela Mistral , we have to talk about Desolation. Its first publication was in New York in 1922. And that is how Mistral, at that time very young, began to be recognized internationally. The work is divided into five sections: Life, School, Children, Pain and Nature, although the Chilean edition includes a couple more: Prose and Prose Escolares y Cuentos.
With "The Sonnets of Death", Mistral won the Floral Games of 1914 . In 1945 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature and in 1951, the National Prize for Literature in Chile.
6. The haunted house and other stories, Virginia Wolf
And let's continue with another great author. In this case, Virginia Wolf. The haunted house and other stories is a posthumous edition, in which eighteen huge stories are collected . In all of them we observe the unrepeatable mark of the writer, because in all the feelings and emotional troubles that she experienced are reflected.
Wolf suffered from depression and bipolar disorder. However, it was absolutely productive on the literary level, almost to the end. On March 28, 1941, she filled her coat pockets with stones and jumped into the River Ouse, near her home. If you want to read Virginia Wolf you can start with the stories that we propose . But you also have at your disposal a room of your own and the lighthouse.
7. La Celestina, Fernando de Rojas
Let us now continue with a must-see classic of Spanish literature. It's La Celestina, by Fernado de Rojas. The Tragicomedy of Calisto and Melibea is a composition dating from the 15th century. Its success was immense, but the truth is that the work was banned in 1792.
It is, both due to its characteristics and its composition, a reference humanistic comedy. In fact, from La Celestina many other works were developed, linked to its characters and its plot.
8. The Flowers of Evil, Charles Baudelaire
Let us now turn to France. And let's go back to the genre of poetry. The Flowers of Evil by Charles Baudelaire is one of the key works of modern poetry . The definitive and complete edition was published in 1968, with 151 poems. There were missing the censored, which would not appear in the volume until 1940.
The Flowers of Evil explore beauty, poetry, life, death, and passions . They exerted a very important influence on other great poets, such as the cursed Verlaine, Mallarmé or Rimbaud.
9. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
He quickly became famous. And it is not strange. The Christmas Carol is a novel written by Charles Dickens, published in 1843. In this it tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge , a selfish miser who undergoes a great transformation on Christmas Eve, after being visited by ghosts.
It is a short story that will leave you time to read many other wonders of the British writer . You can also download David Copperfield, The Edwin Drood Mystery, Little Dorrit or Hard Times.
10. The Divine Comedy, Dante Allighieri
And we got proposal number ten. Which is neither more nor less than Dante's Divine Comedy. A masterpiece of literature that no one can miss. It is believed that Hell, Purgatory and Paradise could be between 1304 and 1321 compounds, when the poet died.
It is a masterpiece of Italian literature , but logically, also universal, in which it passes from medieval to Renaissance thought. Although at first it was baptized by Dante as Commedia , Bocaccio added the adjective Divina to it after having read and commented on it publicly in different Italian cities.
11. The Sinking of the House of Usher, Edgar Allan Poe
We had to choose one and the truth is that, by Edgar Allan Poe (as with all greats) we could have selected many. We have chosen The Sinking of the House of Usher because it is surely one of the least popular stories, but one of the favorites of the experts.
Roderick Usher, an eccentric artist who lives with his sister Lady Madeline, invites a young gentleman to his old mansion. Everyone fears for the life of Lady Madeline who is seriously ill. When she dies, her remains are deposited in a crypt. From there, a series of horrible events will unleash that will make the reader shudder.
Don't waste any more time. Download The Sinking of the House of Usher and read it like there's no tomorrow. Then you can continue with The Raven, The Well and the Pendulum, Premature Burial or Morella. None will disappoint you.
12. Bohemian lights, Ramon María del Valle Inclán
If we are talking about masterpieces of Spanish literature, we cannot fail to include in this selection (and in none). Because Luces de bohemia is, albeit with acid and grotesque, one of the works that best defines Spain at the beginning of the last century . And probably today too.
Because the character that Valle Inclán printed in his characters, Max Estrella or Don Latino de Hispalis, are part of what we still recognize in the flesh today. A grotesque that leaves your heart in a fist . Then you can continue with Tirano Banderas or Beatriz (Satan).
13. Medea, Euripides
If today we want to understand something of our civilization, we must go directly to the Greeks. In them is everything. Recommending a classic is certainly complicated. So we went straight to one of our favorites. Euripides' Medea.
If you are interested in other classics , you can also go to Plato's Republic, Aristotle's Poetics, The Iliad or Homer's Odyssey.
14. Mariana Pineda, Federico García Lorca
The tragedy imprints the character of many Spanish works. Especially that of Federico García Lorca. In the networks we already have countless works as important as Blood Weddings, The prodigious shoemaker, Gypsy ballads or Poet in New York. But today we especially want to recommend Mariana Pineda.
Mariana Pineda was considered a symbol of the fight for freedom . One of the most important figures in the resistance to the absolutist restoration in Spain.
15. Crime and Punishment, Fiodr Dostoevsky
If you haven't read Crime and Punishment yet, here's a golden opportunity. The work is considered, along with Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace, one of the most influential in Russian literature . And is not for less. Stefan Zweig himself considers it one of the most prominent signs of world literature.
If after reading this masterpiece you want to continue delighting yourself with Dostoevsky , you can continue with The Brothers Karamazov, The Player or Memories from the Underground.
16. The metamorphosis, Franz Kafka
Another essential of universal literature is Kafka's Metamorphosis. Gregorio Samsa is the protagonist of this existentialist story . He is a cloth merchant who lives with his family, whom he supports. One fine day he wakes up turned into an insect. But nobody saves him.
One of the most generalized interpretations has to do with the isolation of the individual, due to their difference, in an egalitarian and authoritarian society . From Kafka you can also download Prometheus, The Doom or The Silence of the Sirens.
17. Faust, Goethe
No selection of world literature would be complete without Goethe's Faust. We are facing a truly complex work, in which man is shown in search of absolute knowledge . A circumstance with which he will even be able to compete with God.
The work is divided into two parts. The former is more mythological and existential , while the latter largely describes the society of the time.
18. Madame Bovary, Gustave Flaubert
You could read it a thousand times. And I would never ever bore you. It is Madame Bovary, by Gustave Flaubert. A classic work of French literature , within the realistic genre and late romanticism. This is, in fact, one of the reference novels within the movement, also close to naturalism and epic.
Madame Bovary is, in addition to being one of the best worked great novels, a faithful reflection of 19th century high society. A story that did not leave indifferent the highest writers of this time and ours: Mario Vargas Llosa, Henry James, Marcel Proust or Vladimir Nabokov.
19. Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare
We also did not want (and could not) exclude Shakespeare. The reference work is Romeo and Juliet, but if you have read William Shakespeare regularly, you will know that Othello, King Lear, Hamlet, The Tempest or Richard II are unmissable classics that you will not be able to stop rereading.
Romeo and Juliet is the tragic story of two young lovers who, despite the opposition of their families, manage to marry in hiding. Fate will make them unable to achieve it and that in the end, they would rather commit suicide than be apart.
20. Niebla, Miguel de Unamuno
This selection comes to an end with one of our favorite novels: Niebla, by Miguel de Unamuno. Published in 1914, Niebla is a nivola (novel) in which Augusto Pérez, the main character, falls victim to love. It is an existentialist story in which the character talks with the author, Miguel de Unamuno.
This reminds Augusto that if he wanted to, he could kill him. But that being inside the novel, it will be able to revive whenever someone reads it. Diference are he. So let's make that character come alive and Unamuno do it together with him, while we think about life. Life and destiny.
When you finish you can continue with La Tía Tula, í bel Sánchez, The tragic feeling of life or San Manuel, martyr.