I always find it hard to pinpoint my favourite genre- I love them all: romance, real-life, fantasy, historical. But one of my favourite books to read is classics.
I’m not one of those people who reads classics just because they’re classics- in my opinion classics are still the same as any other book. Just because a book is revered by the critics doesn’t mean it is a) something you will like or b) something you should feel forced to read.
I am personally a firm believer in reading what you want, when you want- and apart from school reading there are no books you should feel obliged to read! However, there are some classic reads that I really do love, and would recommend to any classic literature lover.
Below is a list of my 5 favourite classic reads
1. ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ by Oscar Wilde
I read this book at the recommendation of one of my friends and it is one of my favourite classics because of the complexity of the characters and the dramatic element of the ending!
For those who haven’t read this book, it’s about a young, handsome man who becomes incredibly vain and makes an ‘accidental’ pact with the devil where a magnificent portrait of himself ages, while he stays young and handsome. This begins to cause its problems, in a way that something so good can never actually be true.
I never studied this classic read but I imagine it would be very interesting to learn about, as the message within it is deep and meaningful- and what English lit student doesn’t like those two things?!
2. ‘Rebecca’ by Daphne Du Maurier
I know, I always have to link every post back to Daphne Du Maurier– but I absolutely love her work! The characterisation and plot twists of this book are so great and the whole book just makes for a great classic read.
Some might argue that this genre or type of book doesn’t fit the classical mould but I would beg to differ. I think that Du Maurier’s style of writing is brilliant- her writing is so atmospheric.
3. ‘The Bell Jar’ by Sylvia Plath
Although this list is in no particular order I would have to say that as favourite classic reads go, this is right there at the top for me! This is a fairly recent classic, and it is very relatable for modern readers when it comes to mental health, female roles, and growing up.
The trials Esther goes through in ‘The Bell Jar‘ can be related to any young girl growing up now.
4. ‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Jane Austen
Okay, so I realise this is so typical, and it would be on everyone’s list- but I love this book! It’s easy-to-read, funny and enjoyable. Despite the fact that ‘Pride and Prejudice’ is set far back in the past, its themes are still in many ways relatable and its humour is hilarious.
For those who don’t know this classic read, it’s about five sisters living at home with their family. Their mother is desperate to get them married off to rich men. This may sound like a boring plot, but the characters they meet along the way make this novel funny and enjoyable.
5. ‘Ballet Shoes’ by Noel Streatfield
‘Ballet Shoes’ was the classic read of my childhood and technically it is a children’s book- but I would put it up there with the classics. The novel is about three girls that are adopted by one family. They’re part of a very poor family and they end up going to a dance and performance school where they can work on the stage and earn money for their family.
The youngest sister, Posy, is a brilliant ballet dancer and is constantly showing off- making her a funny and precocious character. The eldest sister, Pauline, wants to be an actor and thrives in roles such as Alice from ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and the fairy godmother in Cinderella.
But the most interesting character is Petrova, the middle child. She hates the stage and wants to be a pilot like Amy Johnson. She is at the height of her fame when the novel is set- and this just makes her so much more interesting and exciting as a character. The fact that she still has to attend the school and act and dance like the other sisters makes her miserable, but she will do anything for her family.
I love how close all the sisters are in this book and all three characters are just so different but they have a lovely bond. This is a fantastic classic read, and I really recommend checking it out.
What do you think of my favourite classic reads? Do you enjoy reading classic books? What was your favourite read as a child?
Let me know all your thoughts in the comments below 🙂
Happy reading x