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  • Writer's picturejessica bruyere

Classic Books You Should Read (Part I)

I was recently browsing a popular site where you can “pin” your favorites to a board and I came across a list of 140+ classic books you should read. I found there were quite a few I hadn’t read, so let’s get started with the first 10 on the list.


First 5 books

1. A Christmas Carol: surely everyone has read this one or seen the movie(s) during the winter holidays. It’s been years since I’ve read it all the way but I might have to re-read this one. It’s a classic tale of a curmudgeon who learns the value of human connection and generosity in the face of his past deeds or lack thereof.

2. The Stranger: this one was unfamiliar to me, so I had to look up the premise. It’s about a cop who tries to gain rapport with a murder suspect who is detached from his own emotions. It was made into several movies. It’s now on my to be read (TBR) list.

3. To the Lighthouse: another unfamiliar book. This is a 1927 novel by Virginia Woolf. The novel is set in Scotland, a place I love to read about. It’s about a family that consists of a mother, father, and their eight children. According to Wikipedia, its plot consists largely of thoughts and small problems of a family that misses a trip to a lighthouse local to their summer home in Skye.

4. The Wind in the Willows: this is a children’s book written in the early 20th century by British novelist Kenneth Grahame. It’s a series of short stories that center around the characters and adventures of Toad, Rat, Badger, and Mole. The author conceived the stories as he was comforting his sick child and later converted the stories into a novel.

The Secret Garden: I remember reading this book by Frances Hodgson Burnett as a child. I was captivated by the thought of a secret garden which opened with a key. I was always reading books outside and thought it would be lovely to have a place to go where I could lock myself in but still be outside. The premise of the novel is about a spoiled young girl who meets a boy who’s been treated as an invalid his whole life. Together they change into better versions of themselves.


Second 5 books

1. Charlotte’s Web: another children’s novel, this one written by E.B. White, published in 1952. It’s about the characters of a pig named Wilbur and his friend, the spider Charlotte. Charlotte befriends Wilbur and tries to help save him from slaughter through her careful and painstaking writing in her webs. I’ve seen the movie but I don’t think I’ve ever read the book.

2. Peter Pan: there have been many movie and play adaptations of this book by Scottish novelist and playwright J.M. Barrie. I don’t think I’ve ever read the book but I’ve seen a couple of the movies. The story is about a young boy who will never grow up and who lives in Neverland with his friends the Lost Boys. He befriends a young human named Wendy and her brothers and brings them to Neverland, where she meets the jealous fairy Tinker Bell.

3. Anne of Green Gables: I’ve read the book and watched the BBC production of it. The novel was written by L. M. Montgomery in 1908 and is about a plucky young redheaded girl who goes to live with an older brother and sister who intended to adopt a boy to help Matthew with the farm. The sister, Marilla, insists that they return Anne but Matthew convinces Marilla to keep Anne and Anne thrives in school and in her friendships. She ends up becoming a teacher in a nearby town and helping Marilla on the weekends.

4. The Last of the Mohicans: I’ve seen the 1992 movie but not read the book. The novel was written by James Fenimore Cooper in 1826. It follows a military family as they’re escorted through early America and their interactions with American Indians. It was set in the French-Indian wars and portrays the end of a way of life.

5. The Scarlet Letter: I read the book in high school, as many people did. It was written by American author Nathaniel Hawthorne, published in 1850. The main character is Hester Prynne, a woman who conceives a child out of wedlock by a married man, a scandal that forces into wearing the letter A for adultery and into a life of solitude with her daughter. Hester’s husband returns and attempts to find the father of Hester’s daughter, whose identity Hester keeps close.

Read (or re-read) the classics

Maybe it’s time to go back to your high school required reading and find a new book to read. The classics are so named for a reason. Maybe you’ll find a new favorite, maybe you’ll learn something. But you’ll always have an experience you’ll never forget! Join me this month as we go through some classics and rediscover great works of literature.

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