Some books have themes so big that they stand out from all the millions of books ever written. Magister Ludi, or the Glass Bead Game is such a book for me.
Herman Hesse wanted to write a story that involves the essential ideals of learning with a puzzle that asks the reader to get involved.
Education is seen by many as some kind of punishment, a prison for innocent children who should be out in the world playing games. Hesse presents an institution that has mystery like Hogwarts has for Harry Potter. But the Glass Bead Game reveals more wisdom than the escapist fantasy of the Potter books. Wisdom is shown to be worthwhile, noble, and enticing. Learning is valued and shown to bring rewards that are unexpected and precious.
If you've had a bad or poor schooling where education seems like poison, this book might open you to the idea that life is more than brute struggle and chasing money while emotionally empty. If you believe life is only chaotic survival, education and literature have not reached you.