A Dozen Books That Make Us Human

May 20, 2021
Written by:
Joy Capps

What does it mean to be human? It’s a deep question but the “human condition is the characteristics, key events, and situations which compose the essentials of human existence, such as birth, growth, emotionality, aspiration, conflict, and mortality”. (Wikipedia)

The “human condition” in literature can be used to describe literature that places characters in situations that the average person faces day to day or will at some point face in their lifetime. Often called an “everyman”, this type of literary character brings books to life for us.

The benefits of reading about these literary characters facing similar circumstances even though they may occur in a different time and place are many. It can help us to better understand our world and see it from different perspectives which can result in knowing a different degree of empathy for one another and society in general. Listed below are a dozen books that have the ability to do just that!

The Bible

Lord of the Flies


Of Mice and Men

Animal Farm

The Old Man and the Sea

Into the Wild

Moby Dick

The Kite Runner

Divine Comedy

Great Expectations