Heart of Darkness is one of those novels that everyone has
to read, but it's also one that everyone should
read. Conrad is much subtler than Golding in his depiction of human nature, meaning you're not getting beaned on the head with a rock called "HUMANS ARE EVIL" every five pages (Lord of the Flies, anyone?). It's all the more impressive when you realize that Conrad wasn't even a native English speaker.
Heart of Darkness is one of my favourite novels. It certainly isn't a fun book, but I think it's a necessary examination of the human soul.