In college, I spent three and half years taking English and writing classes, which meant I’ve read a lot of classic books. Some classics deserve high praise and others… not so much. So of course, there were always books assigned that I didn’t think I would enjoy, but it was a pleasant surprise when I did. Here are ten classics that I not only read but enjoyed reading them.
(This week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt is books I can’t believe I read.)
Les Misérables by Victor Hugo: I read this book with a friend over the course of six months, and I can’t believe I actually finished all 1200+ pages. There are so many gripping moments and beautiful truths about life and people hidden in these pages. The story is good, though I still prefer the musical because it’s shorter and obviously the songs are amazing.
The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien: I was assigned certain chapters and passages for a class I took on Tolkien and Lewis, but I was determined to finish this book. It’s long and there is a lot packed into it, but the details and history of Middle-earth is amazing. Also, I will never be over the story of Beren and Luthien. Never.
Paradise Lost by John Milton: I read parts of this book for more than once class in college, and I was astonished to find myself enjoying his take on the story of creation and the Fall. It’s dense and long and full of unpopular opinions, but it also has beautiful passages and interesting ideas.
Dracula by Bram Stoker: I read this last fall and I probably would have given up if I wasn’t so determined to finish it. Parts of this are long and boring and somewhat unnecessary, but the way he depicts vampires are so iconic I can’t help but love this book a little.
Beowulf: Everybody tells me how much they loathe Beowulf, but when I read it for a Brit Lit class, I freaking loved it. It’s got dragons and monsters and battles and songs and mead halls. I think people are reading bad translations, so I recommend Seamus Heaney’s. He was a poet and he understood language, so he makes the story come to life.
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley: I was assigned this book in high school, but I didn’t actually read it until I took a course on Shelley in college. And boy am I glad I did. Reading this with the right perspective and in an environment where you can understand what you’re reading definitely helped me enjoy the story. Plus, what’s not to like about the first science-fiction book ever?!
Silence by Shūsaku Endō: I wasn’t sure I would enjoy this because it deals with such a heavy topic, but it’s also an important one. There was a lot of incredible insights packed into these 300ish pages and it definitely make me think a lot about faith and why Jesus came to Earth.
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie: This was the first Agatha Christie novel I read and I was hesitant because mysteries aren’t always my favorite (despite how much I love detective/crime-solving TV shows) and I didn’t know if it would dry and boring (like Sherlock Holmes stories are). But it wasn’t! It was interesting and a bucket of fun. I liked that I was able to witness Poirot figure out the murder.
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley: I’ve read this book twice, and I know the first time I thought it was weird. The second time I read it, however, I understood what the point of the book was and I enjoyed it better. Another instance where reading it with a professor that knows what she’s talking about was helpful.
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne: I usually detest most early American Literature. It’s just boring. But I make an exception for The Scarlet Letter. I can’t really say why I enjoyed the story, but it was more interesting than other books I read during high school and I also was a pro at guessing what was going on long before the other kids in my class did. Plus, you’ve got to love “devil” children and Puritan shaming. 😉
What books are you surprised you’ve read? Any other classic lovers out there? Don’t forget to join the link-up!