Hope you’re all well?
I seem to always want to make my life stressful by writing these blog posts that call for a difficult decision…
If you know anything about me, you’ll know that I LOVE classics – they’re my favourite kind of books to read. So choosing my favourite ten was a veeerryy difficult choice for me. Every time I thought I had my list nailed, I thought of another book that definitely deserved a place on the list.
Perhaps a better title for this post would be “My 10 favourite classics that could be changed around at the drop of a hat, as and when I read more”… (doesn’t quite have the same ring to it).
But here we go… My 10 favourite classics in no particular order.
#1 Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
I truly believe that, besides being one of my favourite classics, Frankenstein is one of the greatest books of all time. It is a book that has truly locked itself into popular consciousness. The Monster is perhaps one of the most iconic characters. Mary Shelley created a whole new genre of fiction at just the age of 20. Besides the story overflowing with creativity, imagination and talent, Mary Shelley’s own story is just as interesting and I would definitely recommend researching her life!
“There is love in me the likes of which you’ve never seen. There is rage in me the likes of which should never escape. If I am not satisfied int he one, I will indulge the other.”
#2 Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
I remember falling in love with Great Expectations at the age of 12 when I first read it for English class. I’ve re-read it a couple of times since then and I love it more and more every time. Though Charles Dickens famously said that David Copperfield was his favourite book, Great Expectations was actually voted the nations favourite Dickens novel with 24.9% of the reader poll. I have to say, I definitely agree.
“Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts. I was better after I had cried, than before–more sorry, more aware of my own ingratitude, more gentle.”
#3 Dracula by Bram Stoker
I always really enjoy reading Dracula every Autumn/Halloween – it really is the perfect book for that time of year. The characters are really well developed, it’s a timeless story of good vs evil and has inspired so many other stories after it.
“I am all in a sea of wonders. I doubt; I fear; I think strange things, which I dare not confess to my own soul.”
#4 1984 by George Orwell
I remember the first time ever reading 1984, I was completely hooked and on the edge of my seat for the entirety of the book. Since then I have read the book a few more times and even watched a play of it at the theatre. It was the first book I ever read by George Orwell, and the book that started my love affair with all of his works. If you want to freak yourself out about where our society is headed, what could potentially happen, and how crazy it is that Orwell predicted this 70 years ago then I would definitely recommend picking it up.
“For, after all, how do we know that two and two make four? Or that the force of gravity works? Or that the past is unchangeable? If both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is controllable – what then?”
#5 A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Another Dickens and probably one of his most famous and most well-known. The characrers and story are embedded in all of our brains. I love to read this every year at Christmastime to humanise the holiday season, remind me of what’s important and to get cosy under blankets and read a great book. Some of the adaptations of A Christmas Carol are also great too! (It feels very weird to be mentioning Christmas in July…)
“It is a fair, even-handed, noble adjustment of things, that while there is infection in disease and sorrow, there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humour.”
#6 Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
This book took me AGES to read and I remember never feeling bored or fed-up of the storyline; my mind never wandered whilst I was reading it. With such an imaginative and uplifting story going hand-in-hand with interesting social commentary on class, politics and revolution, it’s such a great book to read and well-worth the time it takes! At 1,400 pages it’s definitely a commitment.
“He never went out without a book under his arm, and he often came back with two.”
#7 Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Jane Eyre might be one of my favourite characters in these 10 classics I have mentioned. Though I love the writing of all three Brontë sisters equally, Jane Eyre is definitely one of my favourite Brontë books. Jane is so headstrong, independent and I love that Charlotte created a character that was equal to any male characters that were being written at the time.
“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”
#8 Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
I said in my “Jane Austen Books Ranked” post that my favourite would always be changing around between Northanger Abbey and Pride and Prejudice. Today when I’m writing it, it seems that it is Northanger Abbey. If you couldn’t tell from this current list, I love me a Gothic book and Northanger Abbey is a satire of this genre and is great fun to read!
“If adventures will not befall a young lady in her own village, she must seek them abroad.”
#9 The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
Probably the least well-known book out of all 10. Believed to the be one of the first mystery books ever written, The Woman in White is definitely full of darkness, secrets and treachery. I picked this book up for the first time on a whim about 5 years ago and really, really enjoyed it (when I say really, really enjoyed it I mean I literally couldn’t put it down). The BBC adaptation was also great!
“No sensible man ever engages, unprepared, in a fencing match of words with a woman.”
#10 Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Though slightly more complex and difficult to read than Jane Eyre, I absolutely loved Wuthering Heights. For me, there’s something almost as mysterious and secretive about Emily Brontë herself as there is about the novel. Despite its huge success, Wuthering Heights and some great poetry was all that Emily Brontë left behind- comparitively less than her sisters. There’s little information on Emily and she lived a very short life. To me, it’s amazing that with such a short life she ended up writing one of the greatest novels of the English language.
“I have dreamt in my life, dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas; they have gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the color of my mind. And this is one: I’m going to tell it – but take care not to smile at any part of it.”
Have you read any of these? What are your favourite classics?
Thanks for reading.