and welcome back to another installment of Keky Recommends. I have decided to start this series to share with you some books that have meant something to me in a particular way, and I am happy to know if you have read any of these and what you thought about them. So today I decided to talk about a tricky category of books: Classics. Some of us love them, some of us think they are boring, and some of us have been assigned them at school and just despise them. Being an English major I always read Classics, and they have definitely grown on me since I started high school, so much that now they are one of my favorite fiction category. Classics have a denser style to them, and they take a little more time to get through, but other than being a rewarding read, they are interesting in terms of content and depth of themes. If you are a beginner, here are five Classics you should read to enter the scary realm of older fiction.
- The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Start off with a children’s book, so then if the language is a bit outdated, you will be able to still pick up on it. This novel tells the adventures of orphaned Mary Lennox, who is taken in by an uncle in his big house, and everyone is cold to her. One day, she discovers a secret garden, and while she goes there to play, she develops a relationship with her sick cousin. Definitely a good read to start entering the world of the early 20th century.
- Animal Farm, by George Orwell. This novel is a little masterpiece. It tells the story of the animals that live in a farm and one day they decide to take over the humans and establish their own government. If it does not sound appealing to you, read it anyway. Thought to be a tale for kids, I think that if read by an adult the insight on this little book can take you long ways: it is an implicit guide to how a totalitarian regime can ascend to power. Pure genius.
- Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen. This is the classic of Classics and for a good reason. Austen manages to give a good portrait of English society at the end of the 1700s, through irony and wit. An underlying criticism lingers throughout the whole novel, and if you find it hard to get into, listen to the audiobook red by Rosamund Pike. You will have some good laughs.
- Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë. One of my all-time favorite Classics, I have read it countless times and I own at least 4 different editions of it. I always recommend this novel because it is very modern in its themes (what is the distinction between good and evil? Is there any distinction at all?), and also because it has some gothic/mystery elements to it. I read it when I was 15 not knowing what it really was, and it kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. I read it in a day and a half. Definitely worth it.
- Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley. Yes, I know, you will say, why? It’s so boring! Well, it is not. Delete everything you think you know about Frankenstein that has been transmitted to you through pop culture and start with a blank slate. This is a tale of self-identity and perception, of love and loss, and it explores the bioethical question: what is the difference between creature and monster, and what does make someone human? Fairly fast-paced, another amazing read.
This is my 5-books Classics guide for beginners. I hope it was helpful and that it will inspire you to read more classic literature. By reading things that pertain to a distant past, we understand what makes us human, and I think that is a beautiful thing. Please let me know if you have read any of these or if you plan on doing so!
Until next time,