I have a love/hate relationship with classics. Since I went to school for English and spent my high school career in honors and AP English classes, I’ve have to read a lot of classics. And sometimes I wonder why such books are given such high praise. I’ve kicked and screamed by way through reading many. But there are actually a lot of classics I love as well. These ones I completely understand why they’ve stood the test of time and continue to engage with readers today. Here are ten of my favorite classics.
(This prompt is for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday: Throwback Freebie. Tweak however you want.)
Emma by Jane Austen: I like all of Jane Austen’s work, but Emma is my favorite of her novels. Maybe it’s because Austen tried to create an unlikeable main character or maybe I’m just highly entertained by matchmaker stories, but the story of Emma is so fun. Plus, it has my favorite of Austen’s gentlemen, Mr. Knightley. *swoons*
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott: Long before I read the book, I knew the story of Little Women. I watched the movie, I had the coloring book (and pretty much colored every single page), and I daydreamed about being as cool as Jo. The heart of the story is the four March sisters, and I absolutely love their relationships and adventures.
Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne: I’ve been a big fan of Winnie-the-Pooh since I was a kid. I used to watch the old show at my grandma’s house, and when I finally read the classic stories, I was enchanted by the animals of the 100 Acre Wood. There’s a special place in my bookish heart reserved for a boy and his special bear.
Les Misérables by Victor Hugo: I didn’t expect to love this story because 1200 pages of long, thick text is… daunting. But as I read it slowly, one page at a time, I fell in love with the story that was being told. (Except for the Battle of Waterloo. Just no.) The story focuses on redemption and forgiveness above all else, and over 150 years later, those ideas are still important for our world today.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley: I took a course in college on Mary Shelley and how her story of Frankenstein influenced pop culture and invented the science-fiction genre. But beyond that, her story is interesting and wrestles with a lot of philosophical ideas. Victor, however, is the worst. #teamcreature
Beowulf: I read the Seamus Heaney translation of Beowulf for a Brit Lit class and I loved it. The words were beautiful, the story compelling, and all the dragons and battles and monsters were exciting. Don’t pass this one up. It’s old and awesome. Plus, Tolkien was a fan and it influenced his own writings.
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll: Alice in Wonderland is a quirky book, but it’s so fun. I love the puns and word play, the randomness of the world, and the characters. It’s only difficult to read if you try to make sense of it and figure out the point. Just read it for the fun of it.
Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder: I grew up reading the Little House books and was ready to take off an adventure across the Midwest right alongside Laura and her family. I read the books over and over to the point that I can still tell you almost everything that happens to the Ingalls family as they pioneered across America. And Almanzo Wilder will always be one of my favorite literary gentlemen.
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie: I love this story so much that I write an 18-page paper about it. Well, it was about J.M. Barrie but it ended up focusing solely on Peter Pan because no one remembers anything else Barrie wrote. There are a few quirky moments throughout the book (or play) that might come across strange, but otherwise, this book is the beloved story we all know about the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up.
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery: Just like with Little Women and the Little House books, I grew up with Anne of Green Gables. I read the first book when I was in middle school and watched the movies over and over. Gilbert Blythe is my favorite literary gentleman and he is the standard for any romantic relationship. (Never settle for anything less than a Gilbert Blythe.) I recently read the entire series and fell in love with every page, every adventure.
There are, of course, many other classics I’ve come to love. Anything from Phantom of the Opera and Wuthering Heights to A Wrinkle in Time and Shakespeare’s The Tempest. I can’t, of course, forget J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis’ contributions as well.