So, most people know about Top Ten Tuesday, but if you don’t, it’s a meme hosted every Tuesday over at The Broke and the Bookish. It’s an awesome weekly pick-me-up, and is really fun to participate in. So I suggest you do!
This week’s theme is Top 10 Classic Books I’ve Read or Top 10 Classic Books I Want to Read. I’m doing a little of both. Top 6 I’ve read, and Top 4 I want to read. I know, a weird, uneven mix. But I got to five, and realize that I had to include six books. There was no way to cram in five! I had some trouble with the definition of Classics. I wasn’t sure if it meant Classics in the sense of really old books, are Classics in the sense of books that could be more recent, but are simply iconic. I decided the latter would be too broad for me to narrow down, so I’m going with books that are written pre 1950s. That should separate the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and the Princess Bride types of classics from the Wuthering Heights and Pride and Prejudice type classics. I know this excludes a lot of books, and that there are tons of modern day classics, but this was a more manageable way for me to tackle this week’s topic.
Top 6 Classic Books That I’ve Read
1. Wuthering Heights
Ermergersh. This book is beautiful, intriguing, romantic, soul-wrenching, and has a wonderful narrative to boot. I read this for the first time somewhere in my freshman year of high school (not for class luckily, as I often resent assigned reads and end up blowing them off. I don’t know why. Call me a rebel. Call me irrational.) and ever since I’ve been a little bit obsessed with it. But come on! Lush, insane romance on those perfectly painted moors with two horrible, vice ridden characters that you know you should scorn, but can’t because they have a love that is soul-binding? Er, what was I saying? Oh, right: sign me up! Just writing about Wuthering Heights makes me want to reread it.
2. The Great Gatsby
Several of my favorite quotes come from this heart achingly beautiful book. I’m a sucker for romance, and so you’d think that’s why I love this masterpiece of a novel. But, actually, it’s not. I mean, Daisy is as selfish as Catherine and a passive whiner to add, and I just want to scream at Gatsby “LEAVE HER. LEAVE HER AND COME TO ME.” So, yeah. But that doesn’t reduce my love for The Great Gatsby, obviously. Because the book shows the futility of Gatsby’s love so wonderfully, and it captures the 1920s so tragically but also so magically, and I am in love with Fitzgerald’s prose. Just listen to (or rather, read) this quote: “At the enchanted metropolitan twilight I felt a haunting loneliness sometimes, and felt it in others – poor young clerks who loitered in front of windows waiting until it was time for a solitary restaurant dinner – young clerks in the dusk, wasting the most poignant moments of night and life.” Read it, I say, and then tell me that this book doesn’t deserve to be here!
3. The Sun Also Rises
I didn’t think I would like this book when I picked it up, but I read it anyways because I had to. It was for a school event (Academic Decathlon) but since it wasn’t for a class itself, I forced myself to actually read it, and not just SparkNotes it. It’s interesting to think that if I had SparkNoted it, I would have one less book on my favorite’s list. Because this book is definitely a favorite. It wasn’t the first time I read it. The first time I read it I thought it was a good, solid book, but I didn’t love it. The second time I read it I loved it. The third time I read it, not only did I love it, but I loved it enough for it to be a favorite. I don’t know why. Sometimes it just takes a couple of tries for it to really sink in, I guess. In any case, this book is awesome because Hemingway’s telegrammatic prose is refreshing and adds something so rustic and earthy to this book about forbidden romance (literally. The dude is impotent.), renewal, the lost generation, friends, enemies, drinking, bullfighting, and repetition. Brett reminds me a lot of the main character from Breakfast at Tiffany’s (the book version, in any case. I’ve never seen the movie. I know, I know.), or rather, the other way around. There’s so much power in such a small book.
4. The Phantom of the Opera
The play is one of my favorite plays out there. I think I like it better than the book–in some ways, that is. But the book is great, too. It has all of the elements that I look for in a classic novel: traces of Gothic horror, an impossible love, a rich setting…
“In sleep he sang to me, in dreams he came…”
5. Pride and Prejudice
I was warring between putting this and Northanger Abbey as one of my Austen picks. A lot of people dislike Northanger Abbey as being over the top with its parody of the gothic genres, and of being the most immature of Austen’s works. But I think it’s one of the most amusing, and although (or maybe because) I love gothic works, I like seeing Austen’s satirical take on the genre. But anyways, I chose Pride and Prejudice instead because who can resist Elizabeth and Darcy’s witty bantering and feuding? Plus, I absolutely love Mr. Bennet, and this book really is hilarious.
6. Jane Eyre
I had to add a six one because how could I leave Jane Eyre, cold and abandoned like that?!?! And already Dracula and Northanger Abbey and Peter Pan are all looking at me like how could you do this? But anyways, Mr. Rochester. Mr. Rochester. Mr. Rochester. What other reasoning do I need? Well, an awesome heroine who sticks to her morals and perseveres through tough, impossible times, such as finding out that your almost-husband has an insane wife who wants to kill everyone. Go Jane! Getting through the first couple of hundred pages has a definite payout in the end.
Top 4 Classic Books I Want to Read
1. To Kill A Mockingbird
Dude, I find it embarrassing that I haven’t read this book, seeing as it’s one of the most talked about books of all time. I don’t know. I just never got to it. I was never assigned it in class, and I never bought it out of class. I want to be in the loop of how wonderful this book is, though, so hopefully I won’t have not read it for long.
Long regarded as one of the best gothic novels around, this book was a favorite of an old teacher of mine, and of countless other people. I love gothic works (a dark, spooky setting pairs delightfully with a blanket and an equal ratio of hot chocolate to marshmallows), and so it seems like I should have read this already.
3. A Tale of Two Cities
I haven’t read much Dickens, so this makes the list because I want to expand my author horizon, but also because I heard it has one of the most tragic love stories around. I’m not sure what that love story is about, but I heard it’s there, and I want to know what it’s all about. Plus, it has that kick-ass beginning, you know.
4. The Hobbit (Along with the Lord of the Rings)
Here is me being sneaky. Because I was originally going to put the Lord of the Rings, but it was published in 1954. Luckily, the Hobbit was published in the 30s, so I’m going to put them both down and call it fair. My uncle gave me the complete boxed set of the Lord of the Rings back in my middle school years, but somehow I’ve yet to read them. My goal is to at least give the first book a go by the end of the summer. Cause they seem epicamaing.
So, what are you Top 10 Favorite Classics, or Top 10 Classics You Want to Read? What do you think about my list? Leave me your thoughts in the comments below!