I don’t know about you, but I am hardly ever disappointed when I read a “classic.” I know that classics are hard to define, and I’m not even going to try defining it. But, in my mind, these ten books I’m about to list are classics and well worth a read for anyone who is hesitant about the classic book.
By the way, I should mention officially that this is a list for Top Ten Tuesdays, a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is to create a list of must-read books for people who don’t read the genre of ___________ (in my case, I picked classics as a genre). So, here are ten books people who don’t typically read classics should read:
1) The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
True, I’m a bit biased here because this is my favorite book, classic or otherwise. Highlights of this book are an escape from prison, traveling around Europe and on the high seas in the early 1800s, and non-fatal revenge (the kind that will haunt those who did wrong forever). I would recommend the abridged version to those who really aren’t for long books–even though abridged is long, too. But I decided on the abridged that it was my favorite, so obviously it’s okay.
2) anything by Jane Austen, but I’d definitely recommend Pride and Prejudice
I know, I know. But I don’t think it’s cliche to have this on a list of classics to read. If you can make it past the 100+ words per sentence Austen liked to write, the story behind the run-ons is great. I warn you though, all of her books follow the same pattern, just with different characters, who do have different personalities.
3) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
I think if I don’t say anything more than this next sentence, it won’t really give anything away in the story: crazy lady locked in the attic. What could be a better teaser?
4) Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
This story holds a dear place in my heart, because ever since I can remember, my three sisters and I have pretended to be the March sisters. But I think this is an easier classic to read. It’s simple to read–not a different style of writing, like Austen. It’s a very warming and family-oriented story, the sort of story I like to read on a snowy winter day, because it’s so cozy.
5) Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Who doesn’t like a good pirate story? I think adults like this as much as children.
6) Peter Pan by JM Barrie
Again, who doesn’t like a good pirate story? Not that all of this is a pirate story. But I think any adult will like the story of a kid who didn’t want to grow up. How many of us wish we could be kids again, even for just a day or two?
7) The Time Machine by HG Wells
I’m sure that this is not the first novel in which there is time travel, marking it as a sci-fi story. But, for me, this will always be the original sci-fi story. And this isn’t a time travel where you go backwards, but a traverse so far in the future that “society” has reverted back to neanderthal-esque living, no humans left.
8) Dracula by Bram Stoker
Remember that one time that vampires weren’t a common thing to make TV shows and write books about? I do! Not that I was alive when this was published, but I can remember when vampires weren’t such a large part of pop culture. This can be a little tedious at times, but it’s the birth of vampires as a topic of interest in literature, as far as I know.
9) The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
The book is much better than the musical. I love the musical, love the songs, love the recent film of it. But I still think the book is better. It’s so much easier to understand how complex the phantom is in the book–he’s more than a creeper who lives in the opera house’s basement.
10) The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy
Most of you probably haven’t even heard of this book. And I wouldn’t have either, if I hadn’t started reading a series about five years ago that was a spin-off of this book. And while the series is more modern in its style of focus, the original Scarlet Pimpernel was its own series by Orczy. If you like espionage and scandal amidst Regency England/France, you’ll like this book.