Classics; for many people that word is followed by a shudder as well as general distaste towards the entire genre and 3 years ago that would have been me as well. But now that I’ve actually read classics outside the English classroom, I find that they’re not all that bad. Sure they are sometimes dense and hard to follow but once you get used to them they’re actually pretty great. So for anyone who isn’t a huge fan of classics these books I’m about to recommend you should hopefully make you more inclined to read them as they did for me. So now here are some classics you NEED to read.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Orphaned into the household of her Aunt Reed at Gateshead and subject to the cruel regime at Lowood charity school, Jane Eyre nonetheless emerges unbroken in spirit and integrity. She takes up the post of governess at Thornfield, falls in love with Mr. Rochester, and discovers the impediment to their lawful marriage in a story that transcends melodrama to portray a woman’s passionate search for a wider and richer life than Victorian society traditionally allowed.
With a heroine full of yearning, the dangerous secrets she encounters, and the choices she finally makes, Charlotte Bronte’s innovative and enduring romantic novel continues to engage and provoke readers
I first read Jane Eyre a couple of years ago and It was actually one of the first classics I decided to read on my own. This book definitely opened my eye up to this whole world of books and shattered all my preconceived notions of what classics were. It was surprisingly easy to read and the plot was very engaging. When my scope of classics had been previously limited to Of Mice and Men and Red Badge of Courage a classic where I actually liked the story and plot were completely new to me. And so for anyone who wants to get into the genre but doesn’t know where to start Jane Eyre is definitely for you.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Wuthering Heights is a wild, passionate story of the intense and almost demonic love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, a foundling adopted by Catherine’s father. After Mr Earnshaw’s death, Heathcliff is bullied and humiliated by Catherine’s brother Hindley and wrongly believing that his love for Catherine is not reciprocated, leaves Wuthering Heights, only to return years later as a wealthy and polished man. He proceeds to exact a terrible revenge for his former miseries. The action of the story is chaotic and unremittingly violent, but the accomplished handling of a complex structure, the evocative descriptions of the lonely moorland setting and the poetic grandeur of vision combine to make this unique novel a masterpiece of English literature.
This is definitely my favorite classics! Not only was it not super difficult to read (barring all of Josephs dialogue) it was very engaging. Both of the main characters were extremely flawed and the plot and storyline were unique and interesting. The story was also told in as series of flashbacks and it was such as great read.
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
In what may be Dickens’s best novel, humble, orphaned Pip is apprenticed to the dirty work of the forge but dares to dream of becoming a gentleman — and one day, under sudden and enigmatic circumstances, he finds himself in possession of “great expectations.” In this gripping tale of crime and guilt, revenge and reward, the compelling characters include Magwitch, the fearful and fearsome convict; Estella, whose beauty is excelled only by her haughtiness; and the embittered Miss Havisham, an eccentric jilted bride.
I actually first read this back when I was in the 5th grade but I re-read it more recently and it was just as great as the first time. There’s just something about this book that’s really fun to read.
Macbeth by William Shakespeare
Macbeth, Thane of Glamis, is one of King Duncan’s greatest war captains. Upon returning from a battle, Macbeth and Banquo encounter three witches. A prophecy is given to them: Macbeth is hailed as Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor, and King; Banquo is hailed as the father of kings to come. With that, the witches evaporate into the mists. Both men nervously laugh off the prophecies until Duncan informs Macbeth that he is to assume the traitor Cawdor’s title as a reward for his service to the king. When Lady Macbeth is informed of the events, she determines to push her husband’s resolve in the matter—she wants him to take his fate into his own hands and make himself king. If Duncan happens to be inconveniently in the way….
I’m a huge Shakespeare fan, but understandably a lot of people aren’t. Out of all his plays that I’ve read Macbeth is without a doubt my favorite. Something about the entire play just grips me. I love Macbeth because it takes place in Scotland and Shakespeare’s writing is beautiful but Scotland is a big plus.
Harry Potter by J.K Rowling
Harry Potter’s life is miserable. His parents are dead and he’s stuck with his heartless relatives, who force him to live in a tiny closet under the stairs. But his fortune changes when he receives a letter that tells him the truth about himself: he’s a wizard. A mysterious visitor rescues him from his relatives and takes him to his new home, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
After a lifetime of bottling up his magical powers, Harry finally feels like a normal kid. But even within the Wizarding community, he is special. He is the boy who lived: the only person to have ever survived a killing curse inflicted by the evil Lord Voldemort, who launched a brutal takeover of the Wizarding world, only to vanish after failing to kill Harry.
Though Harry’s first year at Hogwarts is the best of his life, not everything is perfect. There is a dangerous secret object hidden within the castle walls, and Harry believes it’s his responsibility to prevent it from falling into evil hands. But doing so will bring him into contact with forces more terrifying than he ever could have imagined.
Full of sympathetic characters, wildly imaginative situations, and countless exciting details, the first installment in the series assembles an unforgettable magical world and sets the stage for many high-stakes adventures to come.
This book was first published in 1997, exactly 20 years ago and I think by now it can be considered a classic. Harry Potter was such a fixture in my childhood that it’s hard to imagine that so many people haven’t read them but it’s never too late to read Harry Potter. A lot of people think of them as just children’s books but they are classics so if you’ve yet to read them now is just as good a time as any.
These are just a few of the classics that I think everyone should read. Are there any classics that you love that you think people should read? I’d love to know!