Having majored in English lit for 6 years at uni ensured a decent amount of a classics have been read and accumulated over the years. For a long time, I even favored reading classics over easier reads as that’s what I had most experience with and I wasn’t quite sure what else to read. Today I’m sharing 7 of my favorites that are definitely worth a read if you haven’t gotten round to them yet.
J.D. Salinger – Catcher in the Rye
Jane Austen – Pride and Prejudice
Charlotte Brontë – Jane Eyre
Bram Stoker – Dracula
Edgar Allen Poe – The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Writings
Willa Cather – Song of the Lark
Arthur Conan Doyle – The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Apart from Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye all these books were part of school or uni assignments at some point in time. Jane Eyre is a bit of an odd one out as I only read an abridged version in highschool back when I hardly knew any English, but I still feel that counts. And I read Austen for a course on Romanticism, but we read Persuasion rather than Pride and Prejudice.
All other books were part of courses, some even twice. Dracula was part of my Victorian as well as Gothic fiction courses. I read Edgar Allen Poe for an American Gothic course and Sherlock Holmes for a course about London in fiction. Willa Cather’s Song of the Lark may be the least know book on this list, but it’s one of my all time favorites and was part of a course on American Regionalism.
J.D. Salinger – Catcher in the Rye – Salinger’s book is one of my all time favorites and one that I have read and reread the most from these. It’s the only book written in the 20th century on my list too. This was one of the first books I ever reviewed on this blog.
Charlotte Brontë – Jane Eyre – Jane Eyre is one of those books I had heard loads about, but didn’t know much of anymore. Having read this when I was 14 and still learning English it didn’t have much of an impact on me yet. I finally read the full version in 2015 and fell in love. From the bleak onset to the dark and dreary setting: I love a good gloomy atmosphere in the book. Plus I liked Jane as a character.
Jane Austen – Pride and Prejudice – I was not that kind of girl who studied English because she read Pride and Prejudice and fell in love with Mr. Darcy. In fact, I didn’t read this until much later. It took ages to finish as it isn’t an easy read, but I loved the language of it. Each sentence is like a little poem and even though it was a struggle for me, I felt it was worth it.
Willa Cather – Song of the Lark – A good coming of age novel will be a story I love any time and Cather’s Song of the Lark is just that. We follow Thea Kronberg as she grows up in Moonstone Arizona and into the woman singing in New York. I loved the setting of this novel and the fact that Thea isn’t always a very likeable character felt very refreshing too.
Bram Stoker – Dracula – As I said above, I read this book twice at uni and even used it to write a paper. It nearly became my thesis too. I’ve had a ‘thing’ for vampires since the beginning and I think the story is just brilliant. What Stoker did was take something that had been used in cheesy romance stories up to that point, placed it in contemporary London which in the age of fin de siecle stirred up quite the rage.
Edgar Allen Poe – The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Writings – Edgar Allan Poe is one of those authors who you love to hate. Some of his stories are brilliant, others read like the ramblings of a madman. Still, you have to appreciate his skill with painting bleak pictures and making sinister scenes come to live that truly grasp the imagination.
Arthur Conan Doyle – The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Of course the Sherlock stories have been restored to fame following the successful series with Benedict Cumberbatch, however I started reading this years ago. First for a class, then on an interrail trip through Europe. These stories are great as you can just read a few here and there and let that be that.
What is your favorite classic to read?
6 responses to “Classic books worth a read”
I liked Catcher in the Rye, everyone else in my class hated it for some reason lol. I don’t know if the following book is classic per se but it is somewhat in that area- “Germinal” by Émile Zola. I’ve read that book three times by now and I still love it like the first time I read it.
Never heard of that book, but will have to check it out. 😉
Good to see that you read so many English books!
I read also books in this language.
I only read English. It’s the only way to keep up my language game. 😉
I read Jane Eyre for the first time when I was 13 & it was like all of my mother’s soap operas rolled into one gloriously bleak 19th century north English masterpiece. I’d say it’s what really solidified my love of British Literature & reading in general. Like I never knew so much could happen on the page until I read that book. It’s what lead me to give Jasper Fforde a go & I found my favorite author of all time.
I love Gothic stories and Jane Eyre definitely fits that category with its bleak setting and Jane going through such hardships. The crazy lady in the attic helps to add to the setting too. That’s why I loved it and it was the only thing I remembered from reading the abridged version all those years ago.