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Book Chat > Which of The Classics, in your opinion, should be read?

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message 1: by Anna (new)

Anna (justanna) | 145 comments I've not read many, and was thinking I might try a few in 2013.

So which ones do you think shouldn't be left unread?


message 2: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca Shipton | 23 comments I, too am woefully underread in the classics department. Although am currently reading Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen Am really enjoying it, much more so than Pride and Prejudice.

I ready Oliver Twist earlier this year and really enjoyed that, also read Jane Eyre which was a good read, quite easy to read.

If you havent read it Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier is fantastic, although more of a modern classic.


message 3: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth (cramptonhodnet) I'm planning to read another of Jane Austen's novels - Persuasion next year.

I'm not too keen on Charles Dickens, having read too many of them at school :D, but I do remember liking Wilkie Collins better. I read The Moonstone when I was a teenager, so that's probably due for a re-read, together with The Woman in White.

I've been meaning to try The Barchester Chronicles: The Warden/Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope as well.


message 4: by Anne-Marie (new)

Anne-Marie | 8 comments I've been having a go at lots of classics over the past few years. I have particularly enjoyed Madame Bovary, Middlemarch and am currently reading Anna Karenina which I'm really enjoying - it's not a difficult read, just long!


message 5: by Jen (new)

Jen (jefnerf) | 369 comments Mod
Jane Eyre definitely!


message 6: by Stacia (new)

Stacia | 8 comments I'm also (still) reading Anna Karenina, and would recommend it, although it does require some commitment due to the lengh of the book!

I also recently read Tess of the D'Urbervilles which I thoroughly enjoyed, despite the sense of tragedy throughout.

I am trying to read more classics and would love to read Bleak House next, I started it years ago but gave up a few pages in, it would be great to finally conquer it!


message 7: by Zehra (new)

Zehra | 10 comments Du Maurier is on my list for this year. I am reliably advised that the book people have a collection for a very reasonable amount.

I haven't read loads either but discovered Austen last year and read Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre. currently reading my first Sickens.


message 8: by Nicola (new)

Nicola (nicola1) | 61 comments Brontes, Brontes, Brontes!

I did a degree in English Literature so I've read a lot of classics! I'm not a huge Austen fan, but I love Rebecca by Du Maurier, Tess of the D'Urbervilles and The Moonstone are great. So many good ones.


message 9: by Anna (new)

Anna (justanna) | 145 comments Oooh the only book mentioned Ive read is Anna Kerenina. Started War and Peace once, got third way through, moved house and it got mixed up in the moving stuff!


message 10: by Madamedupin (new)

Madamedupin Don't miss:
Middlemarch - long but sweeping and absorbing with gathering emotional pace towards the end

Jane Eyre - gripping at the start, unnecessary diversion in the middle, but great set pieces, bravura gothic romance in the best sense, and a satisfying ending (have always meant to read Wide Sargasso Sea which is told from the point of view of the first wife, but haven't yet)

Far From The Madding Crowd/ Under The Greenwood Tree/ Return of the Native etc - you get a real sense of place in these, of an older world slipping away. I remember reading Tess in a heatwave when I was 17 and the section at the dairy was beautiful, fragile & idyllic - of course there is a tragic ending. Don't read Jude the Obscure unless you're made of strong stuff, I found it horribly depressing.

Rebecca is good and you can then follow it up with Rebecca's Tale by Sally Beauman which I enjoyed just as much and is a critical reading of the original, not just a "sequel."

Pride & Prejudice - just because - it's wonderful, exuberant, funny and sparkling.


message 11: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth (cramptonhodnet) Madamedupin wrote: "Don't miss:
Middlemarch - long but sweeping and absorbing with gathering emotional pace towards the end

Jane Eyre - gripping at the start, unnecessary diversion in the middle, but great set piece..."


Welcome to the group Madamedupin :). Have you also tried Mrs De Winter by Susan Hill?


message 12: by Madamedupin (new)

Madamedupin Hi Elizabeth
Thanks for the welcome!
No, I haven't read that - is it any good?


message 13: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth (cramptonhodnet) Madamedupin wrote: "Hi Elizabeth
Thanks for the welcome!
No, I haven't read that - is it any good?"


I haven't read it either! I've got a very old copy of it on my bookshelf that someone gave me. I loved Rebecca, and just wasn't sure whether to read a sequel or not. I didn't want to spoil the original. Perhaps I should just dust it off and give it a go. I like the sound of Rebecca's Tale better though.

I've read a couple of sequels to Pride and Prejudice, one of which was good, one just about ok, and another (Death Comes to Pemberley) not quite so good.


message 14: by Zehra (new)

Zehra | 10 comments I have recently read Wide sargasso sea. I liked it but spent much of the first half waiting for Rochester. I am glad I read it but there are plenty I would read first.

I found the first bits of Jan Eyre a struggle to be honest but was utterly engrossed thereafter.

have today finished great expectations suitably impressed to read more sickens.


message 15: by Jen (new)

Jen (jefnerf) | 369 comments Mod
If any one has The Works near them, last week they had some classics published by Collins Classics for 50p, I picked up Jane Austen's Persuasion and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, tempted to go back and get Vanity Fair as well!


message 16: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (mrswhams) | 730 comments Mod
I love Anna Karenina and would highly recommend (not at all sure about watching the film as am no Keira fan...). The Brontes are all enjoyable although Cathy and Heathcliff get tedious in Wuthering Heights IMO. Everyone should read 1984, Animal Farm and Brave New World. 3 Men in a Boat is fun, my Grandad used to read it to me as a child! Austen seems a bit marmite which is interesting. I have a friend who is obsessed but I find her a bit sappy compared to the Brontes. I need to read some Dostevysky (sp) and for some reason have never tried the Moonstone.

Sorry for the stream of consciousness!


message 17: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (mrswhams) | 730 comments Mod
Jen, I did Vanity Fair for A levels. It's very sparky and fun, although MASSIVE!


message 18: by Jen (new)

Jen (jefnerf) | 369 comments Mod
I picked it up because it seemed a bargain at 50p, I also picked up some others but they too are languishing in the car. I need to stop buying books ahh!


message 19: by Zehra (new)

Zehra | 10 comments I have a Russia module coming up next year and I know my lecturer regularly refers to literature so I have quite a few Russian classics sitting on the shelf for the summer, war and peace, the gulag archipelago, Chekhov short stories and home of the gentry, although having read dr zchivago and Anna Karenina (twice) although I never quite finished it, I have to say I don't get on with Russian classics really but I will definitely try these.

I have Return of the Native and Tess to try too, I would like to try Hardy this year. I am just looking at my shelf and I have 3 shelfs dedicated to classics and have only read about 10 of them and Jane Austen takes up 6 of those.


message 20: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth (cramptonhodnet) Zehra wrote: "I have a Russia module coming up next year and I know my lecturer regularly refers to literature so I have quite a few Russian classics sitting on the shelf for the summer, war and peace, the gulag..."

I'd say Chekhov would be the easiest option. I read quite a few of his short stories when I was a teenager (regular bookworm, I practically lived in the library in those days!) and some of his plays. Uncle Vanya's one of my favourite plays.

I'm going to re-read Tess of the D'Urbervilles this year as part of the Book Viper's challenge, as I live in Dorset! I haven't read any Hardy since I was at school, so it's high time I revisited his work, especially as Tess is set only a few miles from where I live.


message 21: by Anne-Marie (new)

Anne-Marie | 8 comments Lisa - -I haven't seen the new Anna K film, but was outraged when I heard that Keira K was cast as Anna - Anna's buxom figure and warm nature is discussed many times in the book. Not once have I see Keira Knightly play a character fitting that description!


message 22: by Zehra (new)

Zehra | 10 comments It irks me that she gets to play all of the classic characters.... Her Lizzie Bennett devastate me.

Elizabeth I was thinking Checkov because of the short story element, although Home of the Gentry is not that long used. I am looking forward to my first Hardy.


message 23: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth (cramptonhodnet) Zehra wrote: "It irks me that she gets to play all of the classic characters.... Her Lizzie Bennett devastate me.

Elizabeth I was thinking Checkov because of the short story element, although Home of the Gentry..."


I didn't like that adaptation of Pride & Prejudice at all. I don't dislike Keira Knightley but think she does get far more roles than she's really suited to. I much preferred the TV adaptation of P & P from the mid 90s with Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet and Colin Firth as Mr Darcy.


message 24: by Jen (new)

Jen (jefnerf) | 369 comments Mod
I agree with that Elizabeth, also I haven't seen the new Anna Karenina but I did enjoy the older one where I think Mia Kirshner plays Kitty?


message 25: by Joanne (new)

Joanne | 8 comments Wuthering Heights
The Tennant of Wildfell Hall
Jane Eyre
Moll Flanders - I've nominated this for February

I love sensation novels and classic horror, so:
Lady Audley's Secret
The Woman in White
The Beetle
Hard Cash
The Jewel of the Seven Stars
She
The Turn of the Screw

Modern Classics:

The Bell Jar
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
To Kill A Mockingbird (amazing book)
Nights at the Circus
Midnight's Children

There's loads. I could go on for hours...


message 26: by Anna (new)

Anna (justanna) | 145 comments Lisa wrote: " Everyone should read 1984, Animal Farm and Brave New World. 3 Men in a Boat is fun, my Grandad used to read it to me as a child! Austen seems a bit marmite which is interesting. I have a friend who is obsessed but I find her a bit sappy compared to the Brontes. I need to read some Dostevysky (sp) and for some reason have never tried the Moonstone"
Oh I've read Brave New World, forgotten that! Also read Animal Farm didn't like it one jot!!!


I agree with you there Joanne, To Kill A Mockingbird is it. I brought when I was 16 and read it over and over!!!

Just remembered that I have one to add as an answer to my own question - The Count of Monte Cristo. I loved it


message 27: by Nicola (new)

Nicola (nicola1) | 61 comments Anne-Marie wrote: "Lisa - -I haven't seen the new Anna K film, but was outraged when I heard that Keira K was cast as Anna - Anna's buxom figure and warm nature is discussed many times in the book. Not once have I se..."

I can't stand Keira Knightley! I saw the film and I haven't read the book, which isn't the way I normally do things!!

I ended up really disliking Anna, but I didn't know if I was supposed to dislike her or that's the effect Keira had on the role. I found her irritating, whiny and cold


message 28: by June (new)

June (zeineb) Nicola wrote: "Anne-Marie wrote: "Lisa - -I haven't seen the new Anna K film, but was outraged when I heard that Keira K was cast as Anna - Anna's buxom figure and warm nature is discussed many times in the book...."
I haven't seen the film, but I've read the book twice..once in my teens when I sympathised with Anna, but a a grown up I thought she made her own bed and should lie in it..I didn't like her at all..


message 29: by Nicola (new)

Nicola (nicola1) | 61 comments yeah that was the kind of feeling you got in the film, that she'd made her own bed she should lie in it - there was nothing to make you dislike her husband, I'm not sure if there is in the book. I am going to read the book this year!


message 30: by Bobbi Jo (new)

Bobbi Jo (moon_petal) | 34 comments My list:

1. Jane Eyre
2. Pride and Prejudice
3. To Kill a Mockingbird
4. Fahrenheit 451
5. Great Expectations
6. Middlemarch
7. Daniel Deronda
8. Wuthering Heights
9. The Great Gatsby
10. Grapes of Wrath
11. Animal Farm
12. My Antonia
13. The Scarlett Letter
14. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer/Huck Finn
15. Anything and everything by William Shakespeare


message 31: by Teresa (new)

Teresa | 85 comments So many...Pride & Prejudice, Rebecca, anything by Hardy but Tess definitely, Bleak House by Dickens, Crime & Punishment, Anna Karenina, Tale of Two Cities any Shakespeare but start with Romeo & Juliet or Hamlet and buy a book that has good notes in it, To Kill a Mockingbird, Les Mis, Little Women. I need to stop now lol. There really are some great books out there though. :D


message 32: by Sumaya (new)

Sumaya Aldulaimi | 4 comments Dracula by Bram Stocker


message 33: by Atia (new)

Atia (attoo) Definitely 1984 by George Orwell :))


message 34: by Lindy-Lane (new)

Lindy-Lane (moonbacklit) Austen
Brontes
David Copperfield
To Kill a Mockingbird
Gone with the Wind
Last of the Mohicans
Dracula
Litttle Women
Mary Poppins
Nathaniel Hawthorne
The Bell Jar
Lord of the Flies
Green Darkness
Rebecca
Peyton Place

so, so many!


message 35: by Ek (new)

Ek (EkTesta) | 3 comments I would recommend Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, John Steinbeck's East of Eden and Grapes of Wrath. Hawthorne's book "Scarlet Letter", William Golding's Lord of the Flies, Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita, Kundera's Unbearable Lightness of Being, Rand's Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead,Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude, Of Love and Other Demons, and Love in the Time of Cholera, and Joseph Heller's Catch 22.

Still reading Fahrenheit 451 but yeah would definitely recommend that too.


message 36: by Eleri (new)

Eleri Any Austen or Bronte's always a good place to start.
Would also recommend The Picture of Dorian Gray.


message 37: by Susan (new)

Susan (suze0501) | 190 comments So many classics - so little time!!

Dickens - particularly Bleak House, which has made me laugh out loud, weep copiously and think hard over many years.

Trollope - the Barchester Chronicles are not to be missed, but if you're even slightly a political animal tuck in to the Palliser series.

Steinbeck. Absolutely anything by this man, but please don't be put off by the length of East of Eden. It's an unputdownable novel.

John Irvine. I haven't read his entire canon, but Cider House Rules comes highly recommended - a slow burn, but persevere, it will become unputdownable about half way through. Similarly A Prayer for Owen Meany - a more difficult read, but worth the effort.

Agreed with all the other contributors suggestions, but these are my stand-out favourites.

Enjoy!


message 38: by Jojobean (new)

Jojobean Definitely The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley


message 39: by Betty C. (new)

Betty C. | 127 comments Lynne wrote: "Susan - I'd forgotten about John Irvine. I loved 'A Prayer for Owen Meany'. I read it many years ago. I'm going to have to seek out more of John's work."

I hate to be picky, but as the resident American I do have to point out that it is John Irving and not Irvine. And my absolute favorite book of his, and probably one of my top ten favorite books: The Hotel New Hampshire


message 40: by Grey (new)

Grey Wolf | 35 comments Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
The Idiot by Dostoevsky
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley if I may consider that a modern classic

Best Regards
Grey Wolf


message 41: by Sam H (new)

Sam H  Arnold (samharnold) Well I am at present working my way slowly through A Tale of Two Cities by Dickens.

I may have to find another classic author to read. Don't think I could read through this type of writing for a while again

Sorry to all those that love Dickens but he is just not for me.


message 42: by Susan (new)

Susan (suze0501) | 190 comments Sam wrote: "Well I am at present working my way slowly through A Tale of Two Cities by Dickens.

I may have to find another classic author to read. Don't think I could read through this type of writing for a ..."


Aw Sam, I'm so sorry. Leave it, forget about Dickens for a long time - but do come back to him.

It took me 30-odd years to re-discover Trollope, so when I say a long time, I MEAN a long time. But give another go sometime in the future.

BTW Tale of Two Cities is probably his least 'typical' novel - so you could try something else if you're minded. Oli Twist maybe, or Christmas Carol?


message 43: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth (cramptonhodnet) Or you could try listening to an audio book version. Sometimes it's just easier to do that with novels that are a bit tricky :D


message 44: by Sam H (new)

Sam H  Arnold (samharnold) Good tips thank you.

Am half way through now and determined to finish though


message 45: by Annie (new)

Annie (annielovesaudiobooks) | 4 comments My favorite classics
To Kill a Mockingbird
Huck Finn
Gone with the Wind


message 46: by Baheya (new)

Baheya Zeitoun (baheyazeitoun) | 24 comments Ek wrote: "I would recommend Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, John Steinbeck's East of Eden and Grapes of Wrath. Hawthorne's book "Scarlet Letter", William Golding's Lord of the Flies, Stowe's Uncle Tom's C..."

You have great taste in books!! Fahrenheit 451 is incredible; one of my favorite books.


message 47: by Bionic Jean (new)

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) Sam - I agree with Susan. A Tale of 2 Cities is NOT a good starting place for Dickens. I've just listened to it again as a complete audio book and was surprised how much the writing dragged in parts. I think the films and dramatisations of this book are a lot more accessible.

How about trying something else - and to Susan's suggestions I'd add Great Expectations as a really exciting intro to Dickens' works.


message 48: by Elizabeth (last edited Jun 28, 2013 09:39AM) (new)

Elizabeth (cramptonhodnet) William wrote: "People should try some Chinese classics, like Dream of the Red Chamber, Water Relay, and Journey to the West!"

Good point William. We have tended to focus on western classics on here but we'd welcome a more varied list of recommendations. They would fit well with some of our challenges on here too.


message 49: by Bionic Jean (new)

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) William - more info please! Who are these by? Are they available in translation? Are they on Kindle? I'd love to read a Chinese classic.


message 50: by Bionic Jean (new)

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) William - have put "Journey to the West" on my "Want to read" list, but cannot find the others on Kindle. Since JTTW seems to be in several volumes, maybe that'll keep me going though! :)


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