If you are an avid reader of my blog, you know by now that I am lover of the classics. Just something about returning back to beginning of literature is just so thrilling to me. While being aware of the social times the classics were written and some of its references may be outdated but that doesn’t stop it from being relevant and a necessity to read.
Make Summer 2021 a #ClassicSummer and use this time to dive in the classics that have been gathering dusts on your bookshelf. Don’t know where to start? Below I recommend some titles that I feel will make you rethink classics altogether:
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
You probably thought I would mention Pride and Prejudice and while that is an excellent choice, why not try a book that does not get the same attention but is as equal as great? Mansfield Park is considered to be Austen’s first mature work and, with its quiet heroine, Fanny Price, and great examination of social position and moral integrity, makes this novel one of her most notable.
Marriage by Susan Ferrier
Considered to be Scottish Jane Austen. “Following two generations of women, Marriage, first published in 1818, is a shrewdly observant and humorous novel by one of Scotland’s greatest writers.” (Credit: Virago Press UK)
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
This book has been said to have similar themes when comparing it to Pride and Prejudice however with this novel Gaskell goes in more detail with her characters when with Austen she only concentrates on the heroine and the hero, but mostly the heroine. This novel also managed to not only capture the everyday rituals of people’s lives but a realistic view of Victorian England. I loved seeing the continuing battle between tradition and modernization, which in my opinion still continue to this day. Margaret was a great character: independent and opinionated, but also portrayed as being bitchy. Mr. Thornton came off as a sympathetic hero and at times you could feel his pain. If you love Victorian literature and looking for something similar to Pride and Prejudice, this is the book for you.
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
It’s good. But not as good as The Woman in White, but still intriguing enough for readers to continue until the very end. If you like a good mystery, then this is for you, just expect to be in for a long ride. It is great to see the book that is considered to be the start of detective stories. It is more than a book about discovering the truth behind the theft of the moonstone but the corruption and selfishness it leaves behind. It’s mystery classic that has a lot of metaphor in it.
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
Absolutely loved it! My favorite Jackson novel to date! Jackson has the gift to play on your deepest fears that go beyond things that go bump on the night. Also her examination on mental health issues and the psychological. A definite read!
Belinda by Maria Edgeworth
The lively comedy of this novel in which a young woman comes of age amid the distractions and temptations of London high society belies the challenges it poses to the conventions of courtship, the dependence of women, and the limitations of domesticity. Contending with the perils and the varied cast of characters of the marriage market, Belinda strides resolutely toward independence. (Credit: Oxford World’s Classics)
The Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton
This was my first book by Edith Wharton and after finishing it, it will definitely not be that last. I like reading unlikable characters and there is no character like Undine Spragg. Wharton’s social commentary on American values vs. European’s is astounding and so engaging that you will find yourself making a connection in today’s society. A great read that is still relevant even to this day.
Middlemarch by George Eliot
Taking place in the years leading up to the First Reform Bill of 1832, Middlemarch explores nearly every subject of concern to modern life: art, religion, science, politics, self, society, human relationships. Among her characters are some of the most remarkable portraits in English literature: Dorothea Brooke, the heroine, idealistic but naive; Rosamond Vincy, beautiful and egoistic: Edward Casaubon, the dry-as-dust scholar: Tertius Lydgate, the brilliant but morally-flawed physician: the passionate artist Will Ladislaw: and Fred Vincey and Mary Garth, childhood sweethearts whose charming courtship is one of the many humorous elements in the novel’s rich comic vein. (Credit: Signet Classics)
Remember to take part in Cup of Tea’s Classics Challenge 2021
Where You Can Get Classics
Project Gutenberg is a volunteer effort to digitize and archive cultural works, as well as to “encourage the creation and distribution of eBooks.”
LibriVox is a group of worldwide volunteers who read and record public domain texts creating free public domain audiobooks for download from their website and other digital library hosting sites on the internet.