Hey guys! So I’m finally going to try out this bookish meme! For my first, I’m going to do my top ten classic books!
Classics are definitely some of my favorite books to read. I read some in middle school, but I ended up rereading them later on and I appreciate them so much more now! Hope you guys like it!
1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Okay, so I’m pretty sure that I was supposed to read this book my freshman year of high school, but I ended up reading it my freshman year of college in my American Literature class (which I absolutely loved). I remember reading this book in my college dorm room and sobbing, and I was relieved that my roommate understood! If you have not read To Kill a Mockingbird, I really recommend that you do, even if you aren’t a big reader. It actually changed me. I’m pretty sure my professor thought I was crazy when I told him I stayed up and just finished the whole book. Atticus is my favorite, and I remember thinking how much of a good person he was (and I probably cried). If you have not read it please do! It really will make you think! (and the movie is pretty good too)
2. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
I know I know, big surprise right? Okay you can’t have a top ten classics list and not have The Great Gatsby! On an off related note, my boyfriend and I have actually decided that we are going to get a cat and name it the Jay Catsby…We just really like The Great Gatsby okay?! The Great Gatsby is full of colorful characters, thought provoking themes, and beautiful language. I read it my junior year of high school, and I believe that was around the time that the new movie was made. The movie was alright, but as always, the book is so much better (even though I love me some Leo!).
3. East of Eden by John Steinbeck
As with most of Steinbeck’s books I believe, East of Eden is set in California and follows the intertwining lives of two families, the Trasks and the Hamiltons. It explores several themes including identity. The absence of love is also something Steinbeck dives into, what we do in the absence of love and why we want it. I think there is a movie, but it only tells the second half of the book, and I feel that the first half is even more vital to know in order to understand the remarkable characters that Steinbeck creates. Some people describe it as a retelling of the biblical story involving the brothers Cain and Abel. Steinbeck’s writing is absolutely spectacular, making some parts haunting and some magical.
4. 1984 by George Orwell
1984 still kinda haunts me today. I remember reading it in my sophomore English class in high school. It presents a sort of anti-utopia, and even though it sometimes sounds crazy, it’s just crazy enough to be believable. I think as the years go by, this novel becomes even more relevant. In this world, fear is healthy and thinking “too much” is bad. People are brainwashed into thinking that the government always has their best interests at heart, when that may not be the case.
5. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
I read Catcher in the Rye in my American Literature class my freshman year as I did with To Kill a Mockingbird. Being frequently on the list of banned books, Catcher in the Rye follows a boy named Holden, a cynical teenager who was just kicked out of prep school. You start out hating him, at least I did, but later on, I started to understand where he was coming from and why he was acting in such a crude way. His harsh exterior is clearly just hiding the lost, alienated boy that he is. I see it as him rebelling against the adult that everybody pressures him to be, something many of us struggled with during adolescence.
6. Diary of A Young Girl by Anne Frank
Diary of a Young Girl follows Anne Frank while she was in hiding from the Nazis in an attic. I was pretty emotionally attached to this book and still am. I read it a couple years ago, but I frequently pick it up and read through it a little bit. It gives insight into the world at that time from a 14 year old girl’s perspective. The family faces a variety of obstacles including boredom, hunger, and the constant possibility of them being discovered.
7. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
I read One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest this year, probably in a span of like two or three days. Words can’t even begin to describe how much this book changed me (and now I’m aching to see the movie). It tells the story of mental ward inhabitants from the eyes of Chief Bromden, who pretends to be deaf in order for him to not be asked questions and to simply observe. When McMurphy enters the ward, everything begins to change. This book hits you with emotion time after time, you can’t help but to keep going. I sobbed at the end, and my boyfriend had to console me for a long time. I highly recommend this book for ….well…anyone!
8. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Again, I read this book in my American Literature class, and it was another one that I absolutely could not put down. It’s haunting and at some points disturbing. The Bluest Eye follows Pecola Breedlove, who is eleven years old. She desperately wants to have blue eyes like the ones of white children. It shows the perpetuating gap between African American and white people and the horrid things that come along with it. Morrison does not get the praise that she deserves in my opinion.
9. The Nick Adams Stories by Ernest Hemingway
The Nick Adams stories closely parallel Hemingway’s life. Hemingway’s simple, yet exquisite writing explores the horrors of war, and the even worse horror of how life is changed after the war. His writing makes you feel every moment. There’s not a whole lot to say, but that it presents beautiful imagery of the woods as well.
10. Watership Down by Richard Adams
I remember reading this book the summer before my freshman year of high school, and I don’t think I quite got the gist of it. A couple of summers later, I saw it sitting on my shelf and thought, “why not give it another go?” I’m so glad that I did. It follows a bunch of rabbits on their journey to find a better home for themselves. I know it sounds kind of weird, but trust me it totally works. You can read it just for the story, but there are also a lot of parallels to our human society. The rich characters that Adams creates evolve and change through the obstacles they face. It’s an amazing read, give it a chance!
Whelp, that’s it for my Top Ten Tuesday, I hope you all enjoyed it!