Monday, June 30, 2014

Top Ten Favorite Classics

Top Ten Classics

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
Pride and Prejudice was the start of my adult reading career. Okay career is a big word. It was the first classic that I read and loved for both it's historical context and the influence it's had on modern society. I expect to see Jane Austen, and especially Pride and Prejudice, on a lot of lists, but that's okay. It's a gateway book. The kind that make people love reading. 
2. The Unbearable Lightness of Being - Milan Kundera
 Sometimes you read a book at the right time and your whole world changes. I can't put into words what this book means to me. It lit a fire in me. It made me think about the person I was and the person I wanted to be.  My copy is marked to hell. Entire pages are underlined with different pen colors from different rereads. It's dogeared with a loose spine. It's what love looks like in book form.
3. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy 
I give myself reading projects. As an adult I find I need to have goals, even small ones like reading Leo Tolstoy, to get me through the tough times. Anna Karenina was a goal two years ago. I'm glad I fought through all the unnecessary descriptions of farming and morals. I loved this book so much. I'd watch it in soap opera form!
4. The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
Hello I went to high school in America so I've read this book. Okay I didn't actually read The Great Gatsby in high school. I'm glad I didn't though. If I had there would have been a sparknotes tab open while I wrote whatever paper would have been assigned. I was too busy then to appreciate it. Instead one of my best friends bought me a copy of Fitzgerald's masterpiece for Christmas one year and between the trip to the airport and my actual flight home I devoured the entire thing.  
5. Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
Catch 22 was another lesson in Sarah's self-guided reading. Only this time I was sixteen and looking for something more than The Chocolate Wars and Huck Finn. Back then I remember thinking I was learning so much from Heller, that maybe I was finally starting to understand the world as a whole. Now I'm not so sure if that was true or not but I did love Yossarian's story. I should give my beat up copy another read.
6. Dead Souls - Nikoali Gogel
 What can I say? I must have a thing for sad dead Russians. Dead Souls is inherently interesting. The first half is a fascinating story, the later is Gogel's decent into madness. What's not to love?
7. Franny and Zooey - JD Salinger
I was 20 when I read Catcher in the Rye. I was too old to relate to Holden but I understood that Salinger was something special. When I picked up Franny and Zooey I found that his star really shines with short stories and the glass family. I want a movie of the Glass's and a TV series. I want radio programs and websites dedicated to fanfiction and fanart. All of which are things Salinger would have vetoed. I still hope that some of his unpublished work will find it's way to the public eye.
8. Romance of a Shop - Amy Levy
Romance of a Shop doesn't get enough love. I had to read it for a Victorian Lit class during college and loved it. It's really progressive and feminist.  Check it out!
9. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
Emily is the only of the Bronte's I can stomach. I love how complex Wuthering Heights is. When I first read it it was nothing like what I expected. I like it when classics do that. I didn't fall in love with Heathcliff, and I didn't identify with Cathy, but I still enjoyed their story and it's one I'm glad has lived on.
10. The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupery
The Little Prince is one of those stories that stays with you. It's technically a children's book but it's themes are really heavy. Sometimes when I'm feeling really low I reread it and it helps me put my life in perspective. If nothing else it helps to remind me that my feelings are not new or unique. That might sound pessimistic but it makes me feel connected.

I really enjoyed this prompt. The best part about book blogging is writing about books that I love.  Many of these deserve a label more than love. They're the reason I'm the way I am today.


Cheryl said...

I didn't care for The Great Gatsby in high school and I keep wondering if I would feel differently reading it as an adult.

Hope you'll visit me at

Melody Simpson said...

Seeing Catch 22 on many lists! Can't wait to read that!

Angela's Anxious Life said...

I can't believe I didn't put the Great Gatsby on my list! I just didn't think about it for some reason.

Top Ten Tuesday

Anonymous said...

I really need to read The Little Prince. I hear such good things about it! Great list!

Anonymous said...

The Unbearable Lightness of Being! Yes, that's a wonderful book and I had forgotten all about it.

Krystianna said...

Awesome picks! I haven't read any of these yet, though I've heard great things about all of them. I'm hoping to read some classics soon.
Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian

Kimmy @ Pingwing's Bookshelf said...

Now I need to go look up Dead Souls - it sounds fascinating!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Such wonderful choices! I feel the same way about Anna Karenina and also Franny and Zooey. I was too old for Catcher and just wanted to smack Holden, but F&Z was perfect and I've gone on to read and loev his other books.