Reading is a joy, especially when it comes to classic books. There is something about them that makes us read them time and time again: the characters, the settings, the messages that lie underneath the story. Here are eight classic books that will take you on a journey that will keep you reading and reading until you get to the last page.
1. Pride and Prejudice
One of the greatest novels ever written, Pride and Prejudice is set against the backdrop of Regency England and tells the story of Elizabeth Bennet, a young and intelligent woman who enters a battle of wits with the brooding Mr Darcy. With characters you either love or hate, Jane Austen explores the importance of equality in marriage in a time where money and status reigned supreme.
Considered to be one of George Orwell’s most famous works, 1984 tells the story of Winston Smith and the dystopian world he lives in, one that oppresses individuality and free thinking. In this novel, Orwell cautions readers about government surveillance and the threat of a totalitarian regime, something that is becoming clearer and clearer in today’s society.
3. Blood Meridian
A Western novel, Blood Meridian tells the story of a nameless boy – who is only referred to as “the kid” – as he travels with a gang of scalp hunters. This novel is not one for the faint-hearted; Cormac McCarthy delves into the heights of violence man can reach, and the loss of innocence in a world of cruelty, as shown by the antagonistic Judge Holden and the atrocities the scalp hunters commit.
4. Jane Eyre
Considered a great amongst the classic books, Jane Eyre delves into the life of Jane Eyre, an orphan who becomes a governess to the ward of the Byronic hero Rochester, and eventually falls in love with him. In addition to the love story, Charlotte Bronte explores the significance of freedom, independence and morality.
5. The Great Gatsby
Another staple of classic books is F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Set in the Jazz Age, the novel tells the story of Nick Carraway and his friendship with the mysterious and enigmatic Jay Gatsby. In this novel, Fitzgerald explores the disillusionment of the American Dream, and how chasing this dream will bring nothing but discontent.
6. The Big Sleep
Set in Los Angeles, The Big Sleep is a hard-boiled crime novel that delves into the story of private investigator Phillip Marlowe. This novel has all the trappings of a crime novel: plot twists, a femme fatale figure and red herrings. Moreover, the novel explores how corruption takes over society, corroding morality and justice.
7. To Kill A Mockingbird
Another great classic that everyone should read is Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird. Set in southern America, this novel explores the life of the Finch family, and the lessons Scout and her brother Jem learn from their father, lawyer Atticus who decides to defend a black man who is accused of raping a white woman. This novel explores the theme of racism and the loss of innocence, but also the power of courage and compassion.
8. Les Miserables
A literary masterpiece, Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables is an epic novel that centres on the life of ex-convict Jean Valjean and other various characters. In addition to exploring the history of Paris and the June Rebellion in 1832, Hugo delves into how anyone is capable of redemption if they truly want it, and the importance of compassion and forgiveness.