Reading is something that virtually all of humanity recommends. The importance of literary pursuits offers endless possibilities for those who take reading and imagination seriously. Yet with a huge volume of works already out in the world and even more being added to the shelves on a daily basis, it can be hard for readers to get into the spirit of constantly searching for what to read next that will spark their curiosity and bring joy into their lives.

For readers of all ages and backgrounds, a diverse set of literature is always the best approach to a book list, and indeed some of the most influential people of our time spend much of their own time reading all manner of books, journals, and news media in order to better understand the world around them. Reading allows for detailed insights into the mindset of our peers and those who influence the very spirit of the time and place that we occupy in this life. With these five books in mind, finding inspiration and imagination in every page is a given.

1. “The Alchemist,” by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist is often found near the top of lists of most recommended books. This is a great book written by a Brazilian author, and it’s been translated into around 100 languages beyond his native Portuguese. The odyssey of the protagonist in this short novel takes him from the fields of Spain all the way to the pyramids in search of treasure. This is a book for the inner philosophers within us all, and there is an abundance of passages that make for excellent quotations in this particular book.

2. “Atlas Shrugged,” by Ayn Rand

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Atlas Shrugged is a dystopian-esque novel that follows the great innovators of the world into a strike against those who are unwilling to produce for themselves. While Rand lies philosophically at the far end of the Libertarian spectrum and many will point to cracks within the logic of her arguments, the reality of all her novels remains towering works of great scope. She builds worlds that fascinate and entertain the reader while giving them glimpses into alternative futures for society. Ayn Rand is a great storyteller, and her novels today form the basis of famous essay contests with great prizes for students all across the world.

3. “Midnight’s Children,” by Salman Rushdie

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Salman Rushdie is a prolific novelist who fuses modern social context with magical realism. This novel follows the arc of history as India became independent from Britain through the eyes of the children born at midnight on August 15th, 1947: the exact moment that the transition into the new era of independence became a reality. The book is a masterpiece for anyone searching for realistic, historical fiction with flair.

4. “Guns, Germs, and Steel,” by Jared Diamond

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Diamond is a university professor, and his work to uncover some of the technological (and biological) breakthroughs in human history is one of the most expansive and elaborate in the canon of social exploration. This work will challenge the notions that you hold dearest and provide you with a brand new outlook surrounding many of the elements that have come to define your life.

5. The Bible

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The Bible is another piece of writing that is often recommended by influential people all around the world. In the U.S., Barack Obama, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Maya Angelou, and Kanye West are just some of the names that have touted this book as a must-read. Whether for spiritual purposes or for research into the human condition, this offers great source material for a huge variety of purposes.

Consider these great reads for your next selection.