22 comments on “Armchair BEA – Classics

  1. Hey great name! I’ve never met a Charleen before! :D

    I think those classics you’ve picked out would be a great start – I’ve read and enjoyed all of them except for Robinson Crusoe. And maybe Mark Twain would be a good pick since they are funny as well.

    Thanks for stopping by my BEA post!
    Charlene @ Bookish Whimsy

    • Hee, yes! I knew of a Charlene (friend of a friend, sort of) but never met her. And I’ve never heard of another Charleen with my spelling. Thanks for reading!

  2. Hmmm: you might enjoy Tom Jones. It’s not a thriller, but Tom jumps from one ridiculous adventure to the next! It is 18th century language, but the thing is after 20 or so pages I’ve found I adjust to most author’s writing style and then the language feels accessible. :) Also, Woman in White is a wonderful Victorian thriller (really, almost all of Wilkie’s stuff is like that)! As is Lady Audley’s Secret. Maybe look for gothic/sensationalist titles. Or Daphne du Maurier! She’s early 20th century, so there wouldn’t be a language barrier, and there’s usually quite a bit of page-turning stuff going on in her books. Jamaica Inn is probably the most thriller-y.

    • The only times I’ve started older works (since getting out of school) I’ve felt really slowed down by the language, and ended up DNF’ing. I think I have to wait until I’m in the right mood, instead of just snatching it off the top of my TBR pile like I would any other book. Thanks for the suggestions!

  3. I think high school ruined classics for an awful lot of people – me included. Overtime i have learned that some classics appeal to me, others do not. It is just like any other genre of literature.

    Happy ArmchairBEA!!

    • I agree that there are some classics I’m just not going to enjoy regardless, but that doesn’t mean I want to stop trying them. It just makes me sad that some people leave high school and never read again — classics or otherwise — because they’re so soured on the experience.

    • They are intimidating. Especially in the beginning I always felt pressure because if I really gave these books an honest chance (unlike in high school) and I still didn’t like them, then maybe I’m not a “real reader,” or some such nonsense. But… then I got over it. There are always going to be some books that everyone loves and I just don’t get… why should classics be any different?

  4. Dracula is my all-time favorite book/classic! I’m always recommending it, but some friends who I thought would really like it found it tedious and DNF’d it. I read a short piece by David Morrell who claims it as the first serial killer novel (if you take out the supernatural elements), so that might make it a more interesting read for a thriller fan. On the other hand, Jekyll and Hyde is short and that’s a plus when sticking a toe in to test the water.

  5. If you’re concerned about impenetrable language then I wd probably give Robinson a miss. Have you read Austen? She wd be more approachable. Or Woman in White as suggested by Eva.


    • Woman in White is one that I’ve heard suggested a lot, and it’s also on the ITW Must-Read list. Austen is an author I don’t have the best memories of from high school, but I just have to get over that prejudice, I know. Thanks for reading!

      • I read Pride & Prejudice in 2010 and hated it. (My first try with Austen.) I reread it in 2011 and loved it. I’ve heard she is better on reread.

  6. Thanks for stopping by my blog! I’m enjoying my first ramble around with Armchair BEA. I do have an OK relationship with classics, but at this point in my life I don’t read ’em much anymore. And I’m one of those people who lost steam when she hit books like Middlemarch and Bleak House. Life is too short to read books that feel like work. My favorite classic is Jane Eyre – which isn’t exactly a thriller, but dark, moody, gothic … and romantic, of course. I’d say it is closer to thriller than Austen… but it’s long and dense in spots.

    • “Life is too short to read books that feel like work.”

      Yes, exactly, and this is why I don’t stress about the fact that I don’t read a ton of classics. I read primarily for enjoyment, but every once in a while I do like to branch out. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. For accessible classics: I highly recommend Gone With the Wind and Jane Eyre. Hamlet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (and Othello and Macbeth) are great places to start if you want to give Shakespeare a try. For Dickens, Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol. And Pride & Prejudice is probably Austen’s most accessible novel.

  8. Oh, somehow I missed that you were looking for thrillers — sorry! I haven’t read many thrillers. I loved Tarzan of the Apes and The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle. Those are perhaps thrillers? Really more science fiction. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier is a Gothic mystery but not perhaps a thriller. (QUITE GOOD!) Frankenstein is very philosophical — not exactly the horror story Hollywood has made it. (Though I love it.) The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe is very creepy (I think), but it’s not very accessible for someone just entering the classics. (Might be a good one for later though.)

    Macbeth might be classed as a thriller. The Monk by Matthew Gregory Lewis is supposed to be super creepy and thrilling, but I haven’t read it yet, so I don’t know how accessible it is.

    • Well I’m not looking exclusively for thrillers, I just figure they’re a good place to start since that’s a contemporary genre I enjoy, so why not read the works that started out in that genre and became classics over time. Thanks for all your recommendations!

  9. Can I put a good word in for The Three Musketeers, rather than The Count of Monte Cristo? My mother would kill me for saying that, because she’s a huge Count of Monte Cristo fan, but I find The Three Musketeers better reading. It’s just a lot of silly fun.

    Also: Wilkie Collins! Hop on that train. His books aren’t exactly thrillers, but they’re very fun mysteries written from multiple points of view. The Woman in White starts very strong and struggles to come to a satisfactory conclusion; and The Moonstone is a little slower to start but resolves in a much more fun and interesting way. Both of them are really good though — I think better than Dickens, but society disagrees with me.

    • I was never a huge fan of Dickens, but he’s not one I’ve come back to since high school, so I really can’t say. Thanks for stopping by!

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