I love books. Some might even say I’m obsessed. I will devour a good book in a few hours and than go on to read another one. I’ve been wanting to share some of my favorite books with y’all for a while but I have so many, it seemed impossible. So I’ve decided to share my top 5 favorite books in a whole number of categories, from mysteries to YA to who knows what else. Today, I’ve decided to talk about my top favorite classic books (in no particular order!)
Keep in mind that I have not read all the “classic” books. Also your idea of a “classic” might be completely different than mine. I try to list books that are either a) older and well-known or b) slightly more recent but still well-known/have won an award. But let’s let the books do the talking, shall we?
1. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
I’ve read Jane Eyre twice, once when I was 13 and again last year. The second time around, I understood it much better and therefore had a lot more appreciation for it. The writing, although old-fashioned at times (it was, after all, originally published in 1847), is beautiful. I became very invested in the characters and especially felt the passion between Jane and Rochester. It is not however, in my opinion, just another forbidden love story.
What I love most about Jane Eyre is that Jane is a spunky character who holds her own and I feel is very realistic (you know, considering the situation. Crazy ex-wife anyone?) But it is not perfect (no book is.) It starts out rather slowly but once she arrives at Thornfield, the plot quickly picks up. Yeah, think crazy ex-wife.
Find it here.
2. Gone with the Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
I didn’t read Gone With the Wind until last year although I had watched the movie many times. At over a thousand pages, it’s a little overwhelming to say the least. But don’t be scared (okay, be a little scared…I dropped it on my foot once and it wasn’t pretty!) Once I got into the story, I was swept away (or maybe gone with the wind would be a better way to put it.)
Scarlett is one sassy character, with an eye for attracting men and causing much jealousy among other women. Rhett Butler is a bit of a scalawag with a scandalous past (he was seen riding in a carriage with an already engaged woman…shutter.) From the moment he meets Scarlett, it’s obvious that’s it’s meant to be; she throws a statue and almost beheads him.
Okay, maybe not so obvious.
But again, this is more than a love story (or in Scarlett’s case, more than multiple “love” stories.) It also deals with many issues of that time, such as the Civil War and slavery. At times, the plot does get rather slow but it is most definitely worth the (rather lengthy) read.
And if you don’t like it, well frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.
(It’s really okay if it’s not your kind of book; I just had to get that line in there somewhere!:)
Find it here.
3. Black Beauty (Anna Sewell)
This was the first “classic” book I ever read (I was probably around 9 or 10) and that is one of the reasons why it remains so close to my heart. Black Beauty is more than a children’s book though. It covers many issues centering around animal welfare and how we treat other people in general (although my 10-year-old self realized none of this.) But even at 10, I sympathised with Black Beauty and all the trials he went through.
Young or old, animal lover or not, this book is quite thought-provoking and might even jerk a few tears (of course, you can’t go by me; I’ll cry about pretty much anything.)
Find it here.
4. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
The book is different from the others on my list because of the fact that it is neither a love story nor is it an “animal story” (although it does contain both at some point.) It is a story centered around family and the trials of growing up (there are plenty, I can assure you!)
In my opinion, we can all find a little bit of ourselves in Jo, Meg, Amy, and Beth, which is what makes the story a true classic. I particularly recognized the realistic portrait of what sisterhood can look like (hint: it ain’t always rainbows and sunshine.) Some parts of it are not always reality, at least for me, but it’s what I wish reality could be.
Little Women covers a wide array of themes; family, friendship, love, joy, and yes, tragedy. It’s a story of a family, specifically four sisters, through many stages of their lives. We get to watch as they mature and we get to see events from different points of view.
This is not just a “girly” story; it’s a story for anyone who has experienced any human emotion (which I sincerely hope you have!:)
Find it here.
5. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
I almost forgot to include Anne of Green Gables when compiling my list of favorite classics, which is insane because it is most definitely one of my favorites. Anne is a very unique character and she is what makes this book different from the many other “orphan stories.” She turns even the most ordinary things (like a mirror) into wonderful, almost magical things.
But she’s not the only interesting character: Marilla, the woman who takes her in, is very dimensional and we get to see the different sides of her personality as the story advances. At first glance, she seems to be stern and even cold-hearted. As we get to know her, we see that she really is a warm-hearted and downright kind person.
I also have a lot of respect for Lucy Maud Montgomery as she went through some pretty difficult things throughout her life (not to mention, Anne of Green Gables was rejected multiple times before getting published.)
What can I say? I love Anne (with an E of course:)
Find it here.
Read some interesting facts about L.M. Montgomery here.
You probably weren’t expecting that one, were you? Yeah, neither was I until I read both the original version and the Spark Notes version. I included it not so much for the book itself (because it’s really a play and not meant to be read like a book) but because of the story and the questions it brings up. To Shakespeare’s first audience in 1596 England, it probably seemed pretty straight forward. The Jew was obviously the bad guy and all the Christians were completely right in whatever they did (even if that included publicly mocking a Jewish merchant.) Now, it’s a little more complicated.
On one hand, Shylock (the Jewish merchant) wants to collect a pound of flesh from Antonio (the Christian merchant) even when his friend offers to pay six times the amount he owes. Seems a little unreasonable. But than again, Shylock has been mocked, spat upon, and judged by Christians his whole life. Now his daughter has eloped with a, you guessed it, Christian. I’d be a little bitter too.
So many questions!
Find it here.
Spark Notes version here.
So there you have it: My top 5 favorite classic books (plus one honorable mention!) Hope you enjoyed and keep reading:)
-What’s your favorite classic book (or what’s one that you want to read?)
-Have you ever read any Shakespeare? What’s your take on The Merchant of Venice?
-What category of my top favorite books do you want to see next?