Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Classics I Recommend to Non-Classic Readers

Hosted as always by the wonderful people at The Broke and the Bookish.

Today's topic is Books I Would Recommend to People Who Have Never Read X. And my X today is Classics.

One of the major reasons people avoid Classics is because they are just so dang loooooong.
So here are some nice short ones to start you non-classical folks off with!

1. Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier.
Full of suspense, romance, mysterious death, creepy housekeepers, a title character who is DEAD for the entire book (not a spoiler) - oh yes, this book is perfect. So perfect, in fact, that Alfred Hitchcock made a movie of it.

2. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith.
I could gush about the writing in this book forever. Forever!
And it deals with life so straightforwardly and candidly. I definitely need to reread this book sometime soon.

3. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.
One of the greatest heroines in all of classic literature, in my opinion. Quite the strong lady.

4. Any book by H.G. Wells.
Some of the greatest Sci Fi. And very short reads, too! (Here's my review of The Island of Doctor Moreau.)

5. Any Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. 
Who doesn't know who Sherlock Holmes is?
There are four novellas, but if you want something even shorter, there are the 56 individual short stories.

(And then you can watch Sherlock and feel awesome when you catch the show subtly referencing the original book.)

6. Treasure Island by Robert Lewis Stevenson.
In my opinion, the best of his books, though Kidnapped and The Black Arrow aren't too bad either. And Black Arrow has better female characters than any of the others.
(Also, can I say that the Disney movie of Treasure Island sucks? The 1934 one is even worse. The best is the one with Charleton Heston.)
(Can I also say that my sister had a humongoid crush on main character Jim Hawkins for practically the first twelve years of her life? She was so ready to marry him. :-D )

7. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
Because guys, these are some of my favorite books ever! There's so much more to them than meets the eye... (even going beyond the whole Christian thing)

8. Edgar Allen Poe's creepy stories, such as:
(the creepiest, imo)

9. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Adorable and deep at the same time.

10. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Well, this one's not exactly short, but... it never slows, that's for sure. The plot twists and turns in a thousand different directions, and neatly ties up in the end. It is some of the greatest plotting ever done by humankind.
But be sure to get a good translation. I read the one below.

(The Modern Library Classics, translated by Lorenzo Carcaterra)

Do you read classics? If so - which would you recommend to non-classic readers? And - if you have one - what's you're favorite classic?
If you don't read classics - any particular reason why not?



  1. Dear Sophia,

    The Count of Monte Cristo is perhaps the greatest revenge story. Is the translation you read done by the same man who wrote Sleepers [a truly great and sad modern revenge story] who refers to Dumas's book in his semi-autobiographical novel.

    Take care!



    1. Oh, I didn't know that! I looked up Sleepers and it looks like it is the same man - how interesting!

  2. Great list, Sophia! The Count is a fabulous read and what more can one say about C.S. Lewis? You've reminded me that I need to branch out and read more of H.G. Wells --- I've only read The War of the Worlds. Sadly, I absolutely hated Rebecca (and I rarely say that about a "classic"), but I know that there are many people who like it. I've never read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. It's going in my TBR pile right now!

    1. Oddly enough, out of the four HG Wells on my list, I've only NOT read War of the Worlds. That one's got to go on my TBR!

      Aww, that's too bad that you didn't like Rebecca! But I do have a few classics that I didn't like as well (ahem, Moby Dick), so I think it's too much to ask that we like every single classic. Seriously - there are thousands!

  3. How fun suggesting classics to non-classic readers.

    My kids and I are reading The Chronicles of Narnia right now. (We are in The Silver Chair). The Tell-Tale Heart is my favorite Edgar Allan Poe short story. I think I would be intimidated by The Count, however, if I had never read classics before. Isn't that one a chunkster? Nonetheless, that is on my TBR list.

    1. Yay for Narnia! :)

      The Count is the one chunkster on the list. I was running out of ideas and my sister begged me to put it on - it's one if her favorites.


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