I thought I would continue my recommendations series by talking about some classics. Today I am going to share some ideas as to where to start reading classics. Just a bit of a disclaimers, there is no set place to start – these are just some ideas. Everyone’s taste is different and different places will be suggested to start depending on who you are talking to. Also it will just be trial and error to find what classics you like and there will be some that don’t work for you. That is fine. Obviously if you are having trouble then don’t force it. You can always come back to it – also if you are worried about having trouble with older classics maybe try modern classics first as there language will be more familiar to the modern reader. Quick note that this list is really nothing new – all the books are well known and probably feature in alot of other similar lists, but here are my recommendations as good places to start. Let’s get started.
Pride and Prejudice / Jane Austen
This is a loved classic for a reason, and I feel like this will be on alot of similar lists as a good place to start. It is a fun and funny read with amazing characters and plot. The language shouldn’t cause too much trouble and you should get into the flow of it after a few chapters. I personally think it is quite an easy read, and I absolutely love Austen’s books. However if you are having trouble than maybe try watching the 1995 BBC adaptations with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle (best adaptation in my opinion), alongside reading the book. Normally I would say read the book before the TV series or film, but maybe you’re a visual learner and seeing the adaptation at the same time may help. If you don’t want to start with Pride and Prejudice but do want to read Austen than I would really recommend Persuasion – it is a shorter work and I would probably choose it as my favourite Austen book.
To Kill a Mockingbird / Harper Lee
This is a modern classic set in the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama. I first read this when I was around 15 I think for English Literature GCSE. I immediately loved it and thoroughly enjoyed studying it – I have reread it a couple of times since. It is quite an easy read, in terms of language, especially since we see the books events through the eyes of a child. I think it is a great place to start and a really important book to read – it deals with important topics that still applies to today.
The Hobbit / J. R. R. Tolkien
This would be a good place to start if you are a fan of fantasy and like reading about adventures. Also a good place to start if you are new to fantasy. Originally a children’s book, this story is pretty easy to get engaged with. This is a fun book about the adventure of a hobbit in the fictional world of Middle Earth – it is a great adventure story. This may be a good book to read between some of the heavier classics, because it is a fairly easy and fun read. It can be abit slow, but it is well worth a read.
Jane Eyre / Charlotte Bronte
Like the other books I’ve mentioned, the language is pretty straight-forward and again it is well loved for a reason. Jane Eyre is one of my all time favourite classics and I would recommend it to everyone. It has an engaging plot throughout and although perhaps abit slow sometimes it never drags. I absolutely love Jane as a strong female character and I really enjoy the conversations between Jane and Mr Rochester. I would also highly recommend the BBC 2006 adaptation with Ruth Wilson and Toby Stephens. However this is a larger classic – this edition is about 520 pages long but don’t be intimidated by the size. If you are, there are many shorter classics that you can start with instead.
The Three Musketeers / Alexandre Dumas
This is a great place to start if you are also interested in reading translated books. Originally in French, this book is extremely well known – I imagine that you have heard of the Three Musketeers even if you didn’t realise that it is actually a book. I read this a few years ago now because the BBC loosely based TV adaptation was abit of a guilty pleasure of mine and I am so glad it lead me to read the book. It is a compelling, entertaining book with plot twists and fast paced adventure – a really fun read. Highly recommend. I am also very much looking forward to reading The Count of Monte Cristo by Dumas although I am kind of intimidated by the size – hopefully I will read it this year.
Hopefully this is helpful – let me know if you have any other suggestions on where to start with classics. I will also be posting a recommendation of my favourite classics so keep an eye out for that. Hope you are all having a wonderful day.