October 7, 2013

5 Classic Novels Worth Revisiting

5 Classic Novels Worth Revisiting

This is the second post in the Books and Babies series of guest posts, helping me cover my 'maternity leave'! This post is from Kelly of Kelly Wiggains: From Literature to Living. Be sure to stop by and check out her blog for book and crafting and food recommendations! I love Kelly's list of classics worth revisiting - and I have to agree that Ray Bradbury's foresight is kind of creepy. How did he know about earbuds??

I used to teach high school English. Even though I left the classroom over five years ago, I often get asked, "What did you did you do before having children?" So, whenever I tell people about my former profession, I almost always hear the response, "Oh! I don't know if I can talk around you."

What makes English teachers so intimidating?

Usually, the conversation devolves into a rant about people hating high school English and hating being forced to read things they hated in general. Because I seem to have this conversation far too often, I've started recommending classics people should give another try. Then, I offer reassurance by saying English teachers don't always like the classics either. I'm not a huge fan of Moby Dick or Heart of Darkness or The Scarlet Letter or Wuthering Heights.

However, there are classics I love, and I highly recommend revisiting several. Here are my top five:  
  1. To Kill a Mockingbird: By a landslide, this is my favorite book of all time. I'm always surprised when I meet adults who've never read it. Scout is a fantastic narrator, and Atticus is my literary superhero. More than anything, this novel reinforces the importance of integrity and of treating every person with decency, whether deserving or not.  
  2. Jane Eyre: Though a bit wordy and sometimes a bit ridiculous in its plot points, Jane Eyre is a rare kind of love story. The main character is not that pretty, and she sticks to her beliefs more than her man. The book features an intimidating house on a creepy English moor, plenty of mystery and secrets and strange happenings, and several moments of swoon and passion. Seriously, give it another shot. 
  3. Fahrenheit 451: Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 follows Guy Montag, a fireman who starts fires rather than extinguishes them, and works to burn all books he finds. Montag enjoys his job and life until he meets a girl named Clarisse who causes him to question his life and its purpose. This novel shows what happens to a society when it stops reading. Plus, Bradbury's ability to write in 1950 about a world strikingly similar to our world now is unnerving. 
  4. Rebecca: Speaking of haunting English manors and secretive happenings, Rebecca is sure to please any lover of mystery or romance. Caught in a whirlwind romance and marriage, the new Mrs. de Winter faces daunting challenges. The return to Manderley changes her new husband, leaving her alone and unsure of her place. Worst of all, the new Mrs. de Winter cannot shake the memory of her husband's dead first wife, Rebecca. Full of intrigue and mystery, suspense and passion, Rebecca is sure to please fans of all genres. 
  5. A Tale of Two Cities: Charles Dickens creates such intricate plot twists from such unusual characters, but set during the French Revolution, he also manages to provide a compelling story about self-sacrifice, love, and duty as well. Most noted for its beginning line, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," this novel weaves a beautiful story about friendship during a time of war and bloodshed.
Do you have favorite classic novels? 
What would you add to the list?

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