The current topic of discussion is the classics.
When I think of classic literature, I think of high school English class. Which is unfortunate. It’s bad enough reading something in your native language that feels completely foreign (I guess 100+ years of language evolution will do that), but trying to squeeze it in between hours of other homework, and then having themes and symbolism and quotes beat into your head in class the next day… and the next, and the next, and the next…
Well, it rather takes the enjoyment out of the experience.
Now that I’m older, hopefully wiser, and can come at these books at my own pace… I’m still hesitant. I’ve re-read some of those high school classics — The Great Gatsby, 1984, The Catcher in the Rye, among others — and while it’s hit or miss whether I enjoy the books, at the very least I can appreciate them in a way that I couldn’t back then. But, despite my small efforts, I’ve yet to venture into Victorian novels or beyond. I’m still a bit put off by having to struggle through the language in order to get to the story, but I know that I should expose myself to more.
So, in the interest of finding books that broaden my horizons without drifting too far from my comfort zone, here are a few of the titles on ITW’s list of 100 must-read thrillers that would be considered classics:
Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe
Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley
The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson
Dracula, by Bram Stoker
When I do dip my toe into the waters of pre-1900 literature, these are probably where I’ll start.
What are your favorite classics? Any suggestions for more accessible choices, for a classics novice like myself?