When they think of literature, many people think of books considered “classics”. However, not all classics are worth reading.
Still, there are several classic books out there that are worth the time and effort to read and understand. These are rewarding and interesting stories that can tell us a lot about the present, even though they were written years ago.
Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”, published in 1960, is a story told by Jean Finch, a 6-year-old girl, nicknamed Scout. Scout’s widowed father, Atticus, is a lawyer defending Tom Robinson, a black man falsely accused of raping a white woman. Atticus takes the deal, although the townspeople know he has a slim chance of winning.
Lee tells an incredible story about anti-black racism and how it exists in the world, especially in the past. Although this novel is set during the time of the Great Depression, readers can learn how past events affect the present.
The novel is a classic, but it has been criticized for being a prime example of “white savorism,” that is, when a white person provides help to a non-white person for selfish purposes. Lee’s novel also denies black individuals in the book any sort of autonomy.
This story is told with strength and beauty, which is part of the reason why readers of all generations are drawn to this novel. It’s a story that reads easily and quickly, making readers forget that this story is a modern American classic.
“Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Brontë, published in 1847, is the type of novel that many people remember when they think of classic books. It’s a coming-of-age gothic story about the life of Jane Eyre, guiding her from childhood to her eventual marriage.
Although “Jane Eyre” is a story that seems simple, it is full of experiences and emotions that concern everyone, as the novel is about love, loss and morals. Readers, no matter who they are, can see themselves in Jane, or at least in one of the many characters.
This story, at the time of its publication, was revolutionary in its writing style, as it is told in first person, taking readers into an intimate account of the novel’s heroine.
“Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley, published in 1823, is a classic little book. It’s a story that follows scientist Victor Frankenstein and his creation of a sentient creature through a strange, untested science experiment.
This novel is masterful and although it is more of a tragedy than a thriller, it is a novel worth the reader’s time. Many consider it to be the first novel of the science fiction genre, although it is imbued with many romantic and Gothic elements.
Shelley’s novel is virtually flawless, told in a tight, action-packed fashion. Readers will browse this centuries-old classic for its fascinating and influential history.
“Les Misérables” by Victor Hugo, published in 1862, is the longest of these recommendations, ending at over 1,000 pages, but each page is worth the time. It is considered one of the greatest novels of the 19th century, telling the stories of several different characters in five separate volumes, although modern publications combine all five volumes.
Hugo masterfully weaves all the lives of these characters in a complex way without being confusing. Each character is dynamic and full of depth, with a story of their own. Readers will find themselves in at least one of these fascinating characters.
At the time of its publication, the novel received mixed reviews, but it is now considered a powerful and skilled classic novel.
“The Count of Monte-Cristo” by Alexandre Dumas, published in 1844, is a gripping adventure novel, telling the story of a wrongly imprisoned man and his plan of revenge against those who betrayed him.
It was the first true classic I had ever read, and I still love it with great passion. It’s a long but exhilarating and often very funny story that is now considered a literary classic. Dumas writes a fun and compelling story that is sure to please readers.
The novel is one of Dumas’ most popular works, and for good reason. It’s a novel that readers will love and come back to.