I'm pretty sure most of you who read this blog have read a wide variety of classics, in which case, you don't really need this list. However, if there are some of you out there who typically shy away from classics, this is a list of them that I have read, which I believe to be quite accessible and fun to read. I am loosely using the term "classics" here to signify works that are widely considered worth studying.
1. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain: Widely considered the Great American Novel, this is the story of a boy's adventures in the Mississippi Valley.
sample: "But I reckon I got to light out for the territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she’s going to adopt me and sivilize me, and I can’t stand it. I been there before."
2. Animal Farm by George Orwell: A political allegory that depicts barnyard animals to highlight powerful social commentary. This book, in my opinion, has one of the best closing sentences in the history of closing sentences.
sample: "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."
3. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it. (From Goodreads.)
sample: "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it."
4. The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot: In my opinion, this is the most accessible Eliot novel. A buldungsroman that follows the rebellious Maggie Tulliover from youth to maturity.
sample: "Her future, she thought, was likely to be worse than her past, for after her years of contented renunciation, she had slipped back into desire and longing; she found joyless days of distasteful occupation harder and harder; she found the image of the intense and varied life she yearned for, and despaired of, becoming more and more importunate."
5. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe: This story examines the consequences of when white Europeans try to colonize an African villiage.
sample: "We have heard stories about white men who made the powerful guns and the strong drinks and took slave away across the seas, but no one thought the stories were true."
6. Native Son by Richard Wright: I finished this over a week ago and I'm still mulling it over. The novel explores what it means to be black in America.
sample: "Violence is a personal necessity for the oppressed...It is not a strategy consciously devised. It is the deep, instinctive expression of a human being denied individuality."
7. The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins: A valuable stone goes missing and a slew of narrators theorize as to who may have done it. Truly a page turner.
sample: "Here follows the substance of what I said, written out entirely for your benefit. Pay attention to it, or you will be all abroad, when we get deeper into the story. Clear your mind of the children, or the dinner, or the new bonnet, or what not. Try if you can't forget politics, horses, prices in the city and grievances at the club. I hope you won't take this freedom on my part amiss; it's only a way I have of appealing to a gentle reader.
8.The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald: Another American classic, examines the possibilities of the American dream, as well as its pitfalls.
sample: "He smiled understandingly-much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced--or seemed to face--the whole external world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself."
9. A Doll's House - Henrik Ibsen: A moving play that looks at the convention of marriage in the late 1800's.
sample: "I believe that before all else I am a reasonable human being, just as you are--or, at all events, that I must try and become one."
10. White Noise by Don DeLillo: My favorite DeLillo to date, White Noise examines family life in the age of extreme consumerism.
sample: "When I read obituaries I always note the age of the deceased. Automatically I relate this figure to my own age. Four years to go, I think. Nine more years. Two years and I'm dead. The power of numbers is never more evident than when we use them to speculate on the time of our dying."
Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.