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Must read classics?

(23 Posts)
D0oinMeCleanin Tue 25-Mar-14 09:46:33

I read a lot. When it's quiet at work we are allowed to sit around watching TV, TV has never much interested me, so I read instead, which means I get through around 1 books every 1-2 weeks depending on how busy work is/how many shifts I do.

It has occurred to me that despite reading often I have not read many, if any at all of the 'classics' people talk often about.

What classics are an absolute must?

OP’s posts: |
JackAubrey Tue 25-Mar-14 09:55:24

Middlemarch.. I just re-read and it is extraordinary...
Anna karenina... Brilliant
Anything by Trollope
Bleak house

20th c
Great gatsby
Handmaid's tale

That should keep you going for a bit!

fluffyanimal Tue 25-Mar-14 09:57:13

War and Peace - seriously, best book ever.
Crime and Punishment.
The Brothers Karamazov.
These are my favourite books of all time.

MiddleAgeMiddleEngland Tue 25-Mar-14 10:05:27

If you haven't really read any, you may like to start with something a bit lighter.

I would suggest
Silas Marner
The Mill on the Floss
Tess of the D'Urbervilles
Far From the Madding Crowd
Wuthering Heights

For slightly more modern books, try The Grapes of Wrath, one of my very favourite books.

I'm sure there are lots of others, and that we'll all give different suggestions. How lovely to have a job where you're allowed to read.

D0oinMeCleanin Tue 25-Mar-14 10:21:01

I haven't read any that have been mentioned so far but I do have an A level in English Lit so I must have read something but other than Lady Macbeth I cannot for the life of me remember what it was hmm

I've been reading reviews for some mentioned. I might start with Crime and Punishment, I've been into crime fiction lately.

OP’s posts: |
BlueChampagne Tue 25-Mar-14 12:38:17

Jane Eyre
Catch 22
Heart of Darkness
Freedom or Death
The Iliad & The Odyssey

LurcioLovesFrankie Tue 25-Mar-14 12:59:45

Remember, just because it's a classic doesn't mean you have to wade through it if it's not doing it for you (Catch 22 fail - several times - here) - reading, unless you're doing an English literature degree, is meant to be for pleasure (I mean, hopefully it should be that even if you're doing an Eng lit degree, but the latter will require some set texts that you don't warm to).

War and Peace
Madame Bovary
Anything by Jane Austen
The Decameron (essentially short stories so great for reading at work)
The Grapes of Wrath
The Woman in White
The Red and the Black

D0oinMeCleanin Tue 25-Mar-14 14:08:21

Oh no, once I start a book I have to finish it, just in case it gets better or redeems itself at the end.

By the end of 50 Shades I wasn't sure whether to gouge out my own eyes or rip Ana's lips off for her grin The second part of Gone Girl was very disappointing but I forced myself through it. I can stand leaving things unfinished apart from housework

I want to read them all I'm just not sure where to start.

OP’s posts: |
ThatBloodyWoman Tue 25-Mar-14 14:12:32

I don't do classics as such, but I think Jonathon Livingston Seagull,1984, Down and Out in Paris and London, and The Age of reason are ones that I have read and actually got something from.

I want to read The call of the wild.

AngelaDaviesHair Tue 25-Mar-14 14:20:13

Brave New World
A Tale of Two Cities
The Leopard
Guy de Maupassant short stories
Contempt by Alberto Moravia
The Twelve Caesars
The Tin Drum
The Outsider, and The Plague
Things Fall Apart
The Icelandic Sagas
Greek Myths

RiverTam Tue 25-Mar-14 14:21:56

Not all pre-20th century classics, but all good 'uns

To Kill a Mockingbird
Jane Eyre
The Woman in White
Cold Comfort Farm
I Capture the Castle
The Monk
The Razor's Edge (Somerset Maugham)

fluffyanimal Tue 25-Mar-14 14:42:57

PMSL at the thought of Silas Marner and Tess of the D'Urbervilles being described as lighter! grin

ThisIsMyRealName Tue 25-Mar-14 14:54:57

What's the cut-off point for something being a 'classic'?

Animal farm
One flew over the cuckoo's nest

Cheboludo Tue 25-Mar-14 15:01:31

I'd second the Monk, The Woman in White and Jane Austen recommendations and I'd add:
The Private Memoirs and confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg
The Moonstone
The Awakening
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
All Oscar Wilde plays along with the Picture of Dorian Grey
Paradise lost

20th C recs would be The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter
Midnight's Children Salman Rushdie
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
The Great Gatsby

That'll do for now smile

RiverTam Tue 25-Mar-14 15:09:53

having thought some more I'll add

The Remains of the Day - Ishiguru
Wolf Hall/Bringing up the Bodies - Hilary Mantel
Disgrace - J M Coetzee
and for sheer fantastic-ness, though I doubt anyone would call it a classic of literature, Ken Follet's The Pillars if the Earth

D0oinMeCleanin Tue 25-Mar-14 15:13:00

I've just sent Crime and Punishment to my Kindle App for reading later, keep your suggestions coming though. My job sharer is on semi leave for personal reasons so I am working a lot lately.

OP’s posts: |
IndridCold Wed 26-Mar-14 09:12:26

Trollope, especially A Small House at Allington and The Eustace Diamonds

Vanity Fair

Dickens Bleak House

Kudzugirl Wed 26-Mar-14 09:16:24

Sons & Lovers
To Kill A Mocking Bird
Tess of the D'Urbervilles
My Antonia / The Song of the Lark (Willa Cather)
The Big Sleep / The Long Hot Summer (William Faulkner)
Breakfast At Tiffany's
Frost In May

AngelaDaviesHair Wed 26-Mar-14 10:44:33

Daniel Defoe is great. Not just Robinson Crusoe, but also Moll Flanders (what a heroine!) and A Journal of the Plague Year, v. early reportage/fiction mash-up, and fascinating. I keep meaning to read Roxana and his non-fiction essays, but haven't got to it yet.

Oroonoko, by Aphra Behn (first English novel to feature a black central character, I think)

Dumas-Three Musketeers, Count of Monte Cristo, Man in Iron Mask, etc? I don't actually ever manage to finish Dumas, but worth a try.

I like Austen a lot, but I think Elizabeth Gaskell is better: North and South, Wives and Daughters, Cranford etc

C19th Ghost stories I love: M.R. James, Edith Wharton, Henry James.

Short stories by people you don't necessarily associate with them: years ago I read Chekov's, and Pushkin's, and enjoyed them enormously.

Buddenbrookes, by Thomas Mann.

Christ Stopped at Eboli by Italo Calvino.

Gosh, there are so many.

D0oinMeCleanin Wed 26-Mar-14 11:24:23

Ghost stories I could get into. I'll have to look those.

I started Crime and Punishment last night, I got a bit sidetracked during the foreword and spent most of my shift Googling Russian history, but eventually made it to the actual book, which is quite a good read so far.

OP’s posts: |
quirrelquarrel Wed 26-Mar-14 17:37:59

Aw, C&P. I remember choosing that as my Y9 English prize to be all highbrow, but I really got into it.

She Came to Stay, Memoires d'une jeune fille rangee (sorry no accents and probs wrong sp) and The Mandarins
My Mother's House by Colette, all of her stuff anyway

Virginia Woolf- The Waves

Oh Maupassant- I still can't read Boule de Suif without having a good old howl!

JC74 Thu 27-Mar-14 11:14:15

Jude the Obscure - had to study this for A level but loved it and have reread it several times since.

ThatBloodyWoman Thu 27-Mar-14 15:50:34

One more to add-


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