It is a truth universally acknowledged that I don’t read many classics. Of course I spent years reading them for school, but the amount of classics I’ve read for pleasure are few and far between. Lately, however, I’ve found myself acquiring beautiful editions of classics, stories I’m drawn to now that I would have passed by before. This is probably in part because I’m following more and more classics readers in the book community that are inspiring me to read outside of my usual YA box.
Today I have five books to share with you, either recently acquired or long possessed, that I want to read soon.
1. Persuasion by Jane Austen. The only Jane Austen novel that I’ve read is Pride and Prejudice (I know, shame on me), but Persuasion has really appealed to me lately. A book about second chances, Anne Elliott’s story really appeals to me as someone else who wants another shot. This is my friend Amanda’s second-favorite Austen (after P&P, duh), and she promises me this is wonderful and romantic.
2. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell. I watched the BBC miniseries of North and South last year, and I immediately knew I’d have to read the original. North and South is probably best described as the northern, industrial version of Pride and Prejudice, with more socio-economic themes and conflict. Southern and genteel Margaret Hale is forced to move north with her family, where she meets John Thornton, the cotton mill owner who seems to embody all of her prejudices against the north. They obvs have some quips and misunderstandings and ultimately fall in love, but lord knows there’s nothing I enjoy more than a “from hate to love” story. Plus, if you haven’t seen the BBC miniseries, you need to. Richard Armitage as John Thornton is SO DREAMY Y’ALL.
3. Villette by Charlotte Brontë. This is 100% because of Alycia at exlibris. She reviewed this book on her channel and I immediately knew I needed to read it. Villette is lesser known in comparison to Charlotte’s beloved Jane Eyre, but it’s a story that I can relate to more personally. Lucy Snowe moves to a small village in France to teach at an all girls’ boarding school. While there, she struggles with isolation and loneliness, as well as a romantic subplot. Lucy is apparently an unreliable narrator, which always makes for an interesting reading experience. We’ll see if I end up enjoying this more than Jane Eyre.
4. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. I mentioned this in my 2016 TBR Challenge post, and I still haven’t read it, whoops. I’ve had it for ages and at this point, it just needs to be read. I don’t have anything particularly inspired to say, other than I keep seeing this on my shelf and think, “yes, I know I’m neglecting you. Some day soon I’ll get around to it.” Plus, this is such an iconic book with intriguing themes, so I do genuinely want to read it. It’ll happen.
5. A Room of One’s Own and Three Guineas by Virginia Woolf. Way back in the day, younger Jane did not get along well with Virginia and Mrs. Dalloway, to my professor’s eternal frustration. Years later, I never thought I’d be this excited to read anything by Woolf, but I am so looking forward to reading A Room of One’s Own and its sequel of sorts, Three Guineas. Adapted from lectures, A Room of One’s Own is arguably Virginia Woolf’s most famous, and most feminist, essay. In the extended essay, Woolf argues for women to have their own (literal and figurative) space in the male-dominated world of literature.
Those are the five classics at the top of my TBR! What are some of your favorite classics? Do you have any recommendations of classics you think I’ll enjoy? Let me know in the comments!