101 in 1001,  General,  Reading

5 classic books

I’m trying to make my list of the 5 classic books that I’ve never read that I want to read. I read Brave New World by Huxley. I’m going to read Jane Eyre by Bronte. Jane Eyre is the book that started this list for me. I read The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde and the rest of that series without knowing the story of Jane Eyre. It made the book much more suspenseful since I honestly didn’t know if Jane was going to change her plot or not since I didn’t know what the “real” story was. (If that makes no sense whatsoever I recommend The Eyre Affair highly!)

But I can’t decide what else to read. I’ve thought about Shakespeare but I’ve read many of the plays so that seems like repeating myself. I thought of Dickens but I’ve never liked anything I’ve read of his.

I thought about picking books from 5 different centuries. 20th Brave New World and 19th Jane Eyre. It gets harder when you get older though. Frankenstein, Vindication of the Rights of Women, Don Quixote, etc?

I was wondering what you would pick if you had to make your own list. I may have read your books or you may have read mine. But the more I think about this list the more interested I am in going back and reading the books that have held up for many years.

If you get stuck here’s a couple of all time great lists from Guardian Unlimited and Blue Pyramid.

10 Comments

  • S Dey

    Many of these books are hosted in WebLiterature.Net.

    People tend to read the following 5: Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Huckleberry Finn, The Scarlet Letter, Wuthering Heights.

    Interesting, 2 out of these 5 are by the Bronte sisters.

  • Franco

    Some that I loved:
    Dorian Gray’s portrait – Oscar Wilde
    Hamlet – Shakespeare
    Oedipus the king – Sofocles
    Caligula- Albert Camus
    Faustus- Goethe

    Not “classics” but…fantastic..
    R. psirg – Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance
    Shogun – James Clavell

  • Bie

    Very late, perhaps… but like Lucette, I just can’t help but give my own list:

    1. Adam Bede by George George Eliot
    2. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
    3. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
    4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
    5. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

    Please feel free to visit our website for book summaries -classics, love stories, etc.

  • lucette

    CAn’t resist replying even though this post is a week back. I highly recommend Anna Karenina–it’s long but really gripping in its story of the consequences of adultery (and so much more). Makes you grateful to be living in the 21st century, imperfect though it is.
    And if you decide to read Zane Grey, my pick is Riders of the Purple SAge, which I love.

  • Pennie

    My very favorite writer from back in the day was Wlla Cather (I can’t believe her books didn’t make any of the lists you linked to). My very favorite is “The Song of the Lark”.
    Very powerful women characterize her books, and I’ve always like the way she portrays women…especially when you think about the time period she was writing in.
    I think you’d enjoy anything by her…

  • spirit

    Those are some really great suggestions!

    I recently read “Catcher in the Rye” for the first time and absolutely hated it too.

    Nio, Thanks! I’ll read anything you want to send.

  • Kati

    Well, having read a lot of the “classics” in HS, my pics are the not-so-ancient classics like “A Handmaiden’s Tale”, “Fairenheit 451”, “A Brave New World” (which I haven’t read yet), anything by HG Wells, anything by Jane Austen (I actually have Pride & Predjudice, but have never read it)…. Lots of others that I can’t think of right now. “Handmaiden’s Tale” and “Fairenheit 451” are both somewhat relevant to the current political atmosphere, though. Which is why I recommend them. Of course “1984”, but that’s kind of a given. Oh, and I highly recommend “Beowulf”, just because (how much more “classic” can one get?!?!).

    Tell ya what books would NEVER be on my “recommended classics” list: “Catcher in the Rye” or “The Great Gatsby”. Both of them are horrid books with little to no point other than the narrarator and/or main character feeling horribly sorry for themselves. (And, “The Cider House Rules” (author John Irving) as a modern classic is very avoidable if you don’t like anything Charles Dickens ever wrote. I found it very much like reading a more current Charles Dickens story. Depressing as hell!)

  • Nio

    City of Ladies by Christine dePizan (late 14th, early 15th centuries). Actually, she wrote a bunch of books but this one is her most ‘popular’.

    Castle Rackrent by Maria Edgeworth (said Ma-riah) (late 18th, early 19th century).

    Other Romantic writers of Edgeworth’s era: George Crabbe, John Galt, Elizbeth Hamilton, Mary Leadbeater, and Mary Russell Mitford.

    Up from Serfdom: My Childhood and Youth in Russia 1804-1824 by Aleksandr Nikitenko*

    Till M Tale is Told: Women’s Memoris of the GULAG edited by Simeon Vilensky*

    Russia Through Women’s Eyes: Authobiographies from Tsarist Russia Edited by Toby W. Clyman and Judith Vowles*

    Remembering the Darkness: WOmen in Soviet Prisons edited and translated by Veronica Shapovalov*

    *I have these books and will send them to you if you want them.

  • Brandy

    Ulysses by Joyce – I’ve tried and tried to make it thru, but it’s tough. However, if I really wanted to accomplish something, I’d read it. Also, older literature, in college we read The Diary of Margery Kempe or some such title. It was really a good read and pretty old.

    Oh, but fiction, right? So Grapes of Wrath by Steinbeck or Of Mice and Men. Dostoyveski’s Brothers Karamazov oh….and Ethan Frome by Wharton (awesome read!). I think I’d have to do Madame Bovary too since it set the model for the novel. And a woman after my own heart, George Elliot’s Middlemarch.

    Best of Luck! (and forgive the spelling, it’s late!)

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