This week's category is "Top Ten Books I'd Recommend To Someone Who Doesn't X." I'm looking forward to reading everyone's lists, since every participant is going to fill in something different for X!
Obviously, since I am a classics blogger, I will be talking about 10 classics that I think are great introductions into authors and larger works. Hopefully if classics aren't your thing, you'll find one or two to add to your TBR. :)
These are in no particular order...
- Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury: This is actually one of my favorite books, and I think it is a great little classic for people just starting out a classics journey. What really works about this novel is that it also ties into the big "dystopian" trend going on right now. The novel takes place in the future, where firemen don't put out fires, but start them to burn books. This is a must read for all you book-lovers!
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte: I put off reading this one for a long time-partly because I thought it wouldn't live up to the hype, but also because I thought I wouldn't like it! I was surprised by how much I loved the novel and how easy it was to read. This would be a great choice for those of you who love romance.
- The Crucible by Arthur Miller: I know that some of you don't read plays on a regular basis, but this is a great and passionate play that will grab you from the beginning. A fictionalized account of the Salem Witch Trials, this is a fast-paced and emotional play that will suck you in. It isn't difficult, but it is deep and moving.
- The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: Sherlock Holmes is one of the most recognizable characters from literature, but many have never read one of the stories that made him famous! I read the whole collection in the first year of my project and really loved all of them. The stories are diverse and fun. They are a great choice for mystery lovers, or those who are just looking for a small piece of classic literature.
- Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier: This is a fabulous novel and one that I have recommended often in the last year. It is not only a mystery, but a great story of love and intrigue. I was unsure going into this one, but it doesn't read as old and stuffy at all! This is one that grabs you right away.
- Persuasion by Jane Austen: Since people normally recommend Pride and Prejudice, I want to give another option. This is a more mature book that P & P, giving a deeper and more lasting impression of love. It is also a little shorter, and, in my opinion, better than P & P. :)
- Hard Times by Charles Dickens: Of the Dickens titles I have read, this has by far been my favorite (except for A Christmas Carol). This one isn't as complex as some of the bigger titles and is on the shorter side. For anyone not used to reading Dickens' sometimes convoluted language, this is a great introductory read. It still has bits of what makes Dickens so popular, but it is far less intimidating.
- The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway: This is a beautiful little book about perseverance and hope. It is short, simple, and a different perspective of Hemingway's writing. I think everyone should read this at some point.
- The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath: To be honest, I haven't read this one in a long time, but it is a fascinating read and one that a lot of female readers will connect to in some way. It is a more modern classic, so that may make it more approachable for many.
- The Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton: I adore Wharton, so I was trying to think of a title to recommend (and I think I have raved about The House of Mirth enough). In Custom, Wharton creates the most amazing character in Undine Spragg (lovely name...and it suits her if you know what I mean). The novel is about upward mobility and what measures people will take to get there. This is a GREAT book. :)
What other classics would you recommend?
I included Rebecca and The Bell Jar on my list too! I thought about The Old Man and the Sea but didn't know if some people would like it. And I wanted to put Jane Eyre on there but I know the prose trips some people up. I tried to stick with easy-to-read books, though I wasn't able to resist adding Grapes of Wrath, haha! :DReplyDelete
Boo to Old Man and the Sea (for this particular category, not in general). YES to Grapes of Wrath!!!Delete
I haven't read The Grapes of Wrath yet, so I can't say much about it. :) I debated adding Of Mice and Men, but I know a lot of people read it in school!Delete
Awesome list! I will have to read them all! F451 is a favorite, and one I have taught many times over. I'm a huge Brit-Lit fan as well and am on both a Dickens and an Austen "pilgrimage" to finish both authors' works completely this year.ReplyDelete
Edith Wharton was a woman before her time. I love how she exposes "bones" that were not supposed to be left open for the general public to see during the time period in which she lived and wrote.
And, major bonus! I recently acquired a first-edition of The Custom of the Country...it is tatty and musty and all those good things all old books possess...can't wait to read, especially now!
I created a unit plan for Fahrenheit 451 when I was in school, and I would love to use it one day.Delete
And I agree with you completely on Wharton. She's amazing and a long-time favorite of mine. I am so jealous of your edition!
I just bought the Complete Sherlock, so I'm glad to know I didn't make a mistake there. Now if I could only find time to read it. :)ReplyDelete
Definitely no mistake! The Sherlock Holmes series is so good.Delete
They are all amazing. I liked all of them, but of course some are better than others. Of the novels, Hound of teh Baskervilles is by far the best!Delete
What a fantsatic list! I've read all but Hard Times and The Custom of the Country, but have read and love other books by both authors. Persuasion is my favorite Austen. I actually have P&P in my list for today, but prefer Persuasion. I also just reread The Bell Jar last year and got even more out of it the second time around.ReplyDelete
Oh, Custom is awesome. It is a bit different from Wharton's other works, but I love it just as much.Delete
I haven't read The Bell Jar in a few years, but when I did, I absolutely adored it!
Excellent choices! I read several of these in my early days of classics reading, and they certainly hooked me. Especially Fahrenheit 451. Love it!ReplyDelete
Bradbury is amazing, isn't he?Delete
YES Rebecca is so wonderful and not stuffy at all.ReplyDelete
ALSO Sherlock looks so awesome and it just seems to be blowing up lately. I'll have to read it, stat.
I was blown away by Rebecca. It was not what I was expecting.Delete
And yes! Read Sherlock!
Great list of accessible classics!ReplyDelete
A great list and well thought out. I would include "My Antonia" by Willa Cather. It remains a favorite for many of my non-reading friends who were forced to read it in high school or college.ReplyDelete
I was thisclose to putting that title on, but left it off to keep the number at 10. :) I rediscovered Cather recently and can't wait to read more of her work in the future.Delete
A Lost Lady would definitely be my Cather choice, if we were going to include Cather. :)Delete
These are all awesome, of course, but I don't think "The Complete Sherlock Holmes" is fair... how 'bout just one of the novels? Like, the first one.ReplyDelete
I'm going to be starting The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes soon. Looking forward to reading some of the short stories, now that I've read the first two novels.
Hahaha. Well, I couldn't pick just one!Delete
I didn't like the first two novels as much as the rest of the collection. The two short story collections you are getting into (Adventures and Memoirs) contain my favorite of the whole series. Enjoy them!
I LOVED A Study in Scarlet, but I didn't like The Sign of Four as much (I still liked it, but not nearly as much).Delete
Great list! In my mind I hate The Old Man and the Sea, but haven't read it since high school so I need to tackle it again. I also need to read some Sherlock Holmes. So many classics, so little time!ReplyDelete
Try Hemingway again! You might be surprised!
I enjoyed Old Man and the Sea much better on my second read through... definitely suggest giving it another go.Delete
Wonderful recommendations....I always include To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee) in my great books list.ReplyDelete
I can't believe I forgot that one! Shame on me! It is a great classic and one that I recommend all the time.Delete
I must read The Crucible - I saw a great open-air performance of it last summer and promised myself I would read it but never got around to it. Thanks for reminding me :)ReplyDelete
Great recommendations Allie.
Oh, The Crucible is so powerful, isn't it? My sophomores said it was their favorite last year. We had such a great time reading it and acting it out in class.
Hooray for Custom of the Country! That is one of the books I will be reading this year, earlier rather than later.ReplyDelete
Yay! You'll love it! Like I said, the main character is AMAZING.Delete
Oh man, I love so many of these books! I really can't deal with Dickens though... But maybe I'll give Hard Times a try if it's a more accessible one!ReplyDelete
I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Dickens, but I really loved Hard Times. And Oliver Twist. I don't think I'll ever like Great Expectations!Delete
Great Expectations is my FAVORITE Dickens!Delete
Go read it again.
Consider yourself ordered.
I've read it twice-once in high school and once for this project. I hated it both times. But MAYBE I'll give it one more shot once I finish my list. Fair? ;)Delete
I've read a lot of Dickens, but never Hard Times. Great Expectations is my favorite (ha, to the comment above:)), although I loved A Christmas Carol much more than I thought I would.ReplyDelete
Lol. My ninth grade English teacher has ruined it for me forever. But maybe I'll try again. I loved A Christmas Carol when I read it last month! Such a great little book!Delete
I always find Zola to be fast-paced and also fascinating. And his subject matter is usually really accessible -- well, actually, sometimes very sensationalist, like Pot-Bouille which is sort of a trashy soap opera set in a bourgeoise apartment building, and also La Bete Humaine, which is about murderers. Zola explores the human condition AND makes social commentary, is easy to read -- what's not to like?ReplyDelete
My only complaint is that so many of the translations are lousy, you can't get good accurate translations of all his books yet. They were so shocking that they were heavily edited, otherwise the publishers would have gone to jail.
Oh Zola! I've only read Germinal, but I have some of his other work on my shelf. I can't wait to dive into more of his work-I was BLOWN away by Germinal!Delete
Ah! I want to read SOOO MANY of these!! Especially #s 3, 5, 7, 8, and 10. :DReplyDelete
ooo I've suggested THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA before. I think it's great, but others seem to indicate they think it doesn't have a plot? Huh? lol I guess hunting a fish isn't enough for some people.ReplyDelete
I like the list very much. I'm surprised but pleased to see Hard Times. I've heard such bad things about it and heard it is so depressing (even in the Dickens bio I just read!). I've been putting it off, aiming for some other Dickens novels instead. But glad you liked it. I won't worry so much now...