Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
This week is a freebie week, so I chose to talk about my favorite classics! As I’ve explained before, I’m using the term “classic” loosely to mean anything in the recommended canon of literature (what you might read in English class).
Ben-Hur is one of the first classics I read (6th grade, I think) and it was a good introduction. It’s a bit heavy on the history and description, but also contains lots of intrigue and romance, so I didn’t mind too much.
The Count of Monte-Cristo
Read this back to back with Ben-Hur on a dare from my now-husband. The juxtaposition made an interesting study in revenge stories. Monte-Cristo was my first experience with the lovely classic tradition of weaving multiple storylines and not tying them all together until the end. Also full of intrigue and excitement.
The Scarlet Pimpernel
Scarlet Pimpernel is a great early intro to classics. It’s short, relatively easy to understand, and super dramatic. I’ve nearly memorized one of the scenes (in the garden after the party, if you’ve read it) and I read as many of the sequels as I could get my hands on.
Wuthering Heights is like watching a soap opera play out on the heaths. Or watching a train wreck. Whatever the simile, you can’t look away. I’ve read it twice now and loved it both times. Better than Jane Eyre, I think.
The Hunchback of Notre-Dame
Mmm, I’m in love with stories set in France. Hunchback is extremely depressing, but beautifully sad. The descriptions alone are worth the read. But the characters, for the most part, are completely unrelatable. Still like it, but fair warning.
A Tale of Two Cities
French thing again. Probably Dickens’ best work, in my opinion. Bit sappy toward the end, but it will keep you on your toes. And there are some really gruesome descriptions, so that’s cool.
You can’t love books and not love Bradbury’s classic. This is another easy one for people unaccustomed to classics.
The Divine Comedy
I’m not going to lie: I don’t think I would ever manage to read through Divine Comedy for fun. But it was required as part of my English program and I’m happy it was. Even though it includes way too many references to Italian history and Dante’s personal feuds. The level of skill in the lyricism is incredible and the entire reading is a good rumination on life and values.
Pride and Prejudice
Austen is stinking funny and this is the easiest classic you’ll ever read. In a completely heretical twist: I actually prefer the 2004 movie (Matthew MacFayden and Keira Knightley, guys!), which pulls significant sections from the book.
This book is possibly one of the most thought-provoking reads I’ve ever had. Shelley creates a literary masterpiece through depth of story and also moral quandary. It is a painful read in ways, but only because it is so sad.
What are your favorite classics?