Hi everyone! As a Literature student I’ve read a lot of classic literature in the past couple of years. Before starting university I had only ever read a handful of classics. I thought they were boring, difficult to read and understand. I thought they were too long and would be too hard to access. My opinions have completely changed. By discussing books in lectures and seminars as well as looking at what other people have said about the texts the plots and themes become accessible. Recently I’ve been a part of the Let’s Get Classical Book Club set up by Jessica from Stuck in the Book (both can be found on Instagram, Twitter and the book club has a dedicated Facebook group). Knowing that there is a whole group of people reading the same classic book and having a space to discuss your ideas is a great tool for enjoying classic literature! This blog is my Top Five favourite classic novels that could help you get into reading classics! I’ll also be adding a score out of five for the difficulty of reading language, so you can gauge where you want to start!
- Pride and Prejudice– Jane Austen. This book lives rent free in my mind and my heart. The characters are amazingly written, the discourse around marriage and gender is sublime. This is Austen’s best novel in my opinion. Difficultly out of five: 3.
- Jane Eyre– Charlotte Bronte. The Gothic novel is one of the best literary inventions in the Victorian period. Jane Eyre also tracks a life from childhood to adulthood (bildungsroman) so you really get to know Jane. Difficulty out of five: 2.
- Animal Farm– George Orwell. On one level a story about farm animals. On another, a discourse around Communism in Russia. This is short book but there is so much contained with it. Difficulty out of five: 1.
- Frankenstein– Mary Shelley. Mary Shelley is a literary icon. She is the mother of science fiction and Frankenstein is an amazing novel. Unlike the film adaptations the Creature is an incredible character in the novel and reading this classic might change your entire opinion of the “monster.” Difficulty out of five: 3.
- Great Expectations– Charles Dickens. Similar to Jane Eyre, Great Expectations describes a person’s life from innocence to experience. Pip’s journey and experience of social mobility in Victorian England is a great discourse to start amongst readers. Difficulty out of five: 4.
So there are five great Classics to check out if you’re looking for a new read or are trying to dip a toe into the waters of Classic novels. I do think that having a shared reading experience and discussion is a great way to make classics seem less daunting so find someone like minded and get reading!