Top Five Classic Books You Should Read
Classic books are usually given as a reading list for school. On occasion, we either liked the book, to begin with, or revisit them later in life. This list will be the first of a series. There are too many books out there to boil it down to just five. In this first set, you will see a commonality with a few. Dystopian stories. I have a soft spot for these, mainly because I see correlations with our reality. Beyond that, they are well-written. For someone like me, who needs to be snapped into the story right away. I’m done if the first few pages are a chore to get through. All these novels catch from the first sentence. From beginning to end they suck you in. While you may have heard of these, but perhaps never read, I suggest you give them a try. They could turn into your next favorite.
Brave New World
By Aldous Huxley
The story is set in a futuristic world where people are genetically engineered and conditioned to be content with their assigned roles in a highly structured society. The central character, Bernard Marx, is dissatisfied with the shallow and conformist nature of his world and seeks a deeper meaning to his existence. Through his experiences and interactions with other characters, the novel explores themes such as individuality, freedom, and the dangers of a totalitarian state.
A common theme you will find is that life in these books looks for people to become compliant. Whether it is with drugs or misinformation. Freedom is an illusion. This is a well-written book, one that makes you feel emotional, anger, sadness, and everything in between. If you can feel something from just words on a page, the author did an excellent job.
By George Orwell
The story is set in a totalitarian society where the government, known as “the Party,” controls every aspect of citizens’ lives through surveillance, propaganda, and torture. The central character, Winston Smith, is a member of the ruling Party who begins to question its authority and seeks to rebel against it. Through his experiences and interactions with other characters, the novel explores themes such as government oppression, individualism, and the power of language to control thought. The novel’s portrayal of a bleak and oppressive future has had a lasting impact on popular culture and political discourse.
I like this dystopian tale because it reminds me a lot about the social media of today. Misinformation and “fake” news that goes around. Thankfully, at least for now, we have people that dig deeper and get the right information across. However, it does make you wonder, how much hasn’t been found to be untrue.
North and South
By Elizabeth Gaskell
The story follows the protagonist, Margaret Hale, as she moves from the South of England to the Industrial North after her father leaves the Church of England. Margaret finds herself in a very different world, with new challenges and people to understand, including John Thornton, a wealthy cotton mill owner with whom she initially clashes before developing a complex relationship. Through Margaret’s experiences and interactions with other characters, the novel explores themes such as social class, industrialization, and the changing role of women in society.
We all know about Jane Austen. We have probably seen the mini-series and multitude of movies done on her books. But have you read Gaskell’s book? It has the same feel as a Jane Austen novel, however, the main character, Margaret, has a stronger personality. She likes her individuality, taking care of her family, and accepting the situation she has come to be in. It also gives you a look at how different the north and south of England were. One being more industrial and the other full of “gentlemen” owned land and big houses. Good story and yes, there is a mini-series. Check both out.
By Ray Bradbury
The story is set in a future society where books are outlawed, and “firemen” are tasked with burning any that are found. The central character, Guy Montag, is a fireman who begins to question his role in a society where critical thinking is discouraged and conformity is enforced. Through his experiences and interactions with other characters, the novel explores themes such as censorship, individualism, and the power of knowledge. The novel’s warning against the dangers of authoritarianism and the importance of free thought has made it a classic of science fiction literature.
Let me just say that Ray Bradbury has a beautiful way to bring a scene to life. I aspire to be as good as he is bringing description in depth, but not overly so. I have loved this book since reading it in middle school. I have a copy of it, I reread it occasionally, and I quote from it. I love my quotes. What I took from it was don’t conform, don’t change to be like everyone else, be that difference, and bring that uniqueness. While we live in a time where we want to believe we are embracing diversity, all the while we are censoring. Just a thought.
By Roald Dhal
The story follows a young orphan boy who discovers that witches are real and that they are planning to turn all children into mice. With the help of his grandmother, the boy sets out to stop the witches and save the children. The novel combines humor and horror in a distinctive style that has become a hallmark of Dahl’s work. The Witches has been praised for its imaginative world-building and its empowering message of standing up to bullies and fighting for what is right.
Maybe it is because it was published in 1983 when I was born. But this is one of my favorite books. I have read it far more than any other book. I love most Roald Dahl books. He had such a way to build a childlike world with issues that needed to be worked through. While both movies that have been released for this are not exactly like the book, most movies aren’t, my favorite is the Angelica Houston one. She will always be the grand high witch to me.
Like I said there is no way I can go over the classics in a reduced list of five. So, I plan to do more. But these are the top ones that I would read more than once. I have copies of these books on my main bookshelf. That means something. I hope this expands your library and the list of books that you have read. Until the next list!