I’ll be completely honest, I don’t read classics. I don’t work my way through the banned book list, I don’t make a conscious choice to pick up classic books. It’s not that I don’t like them – it’s just that a lot of time, I already have a massive TBR pile and I try really hard not to add to it. That’s why this discussion post is so important – it’s not often I read classics. So here it is, my list of favorite classic reads and why I love them.
One, I love this book because I’ve read it six times. I did so under duress, in the middle of class, because I read faster than everyone else and the teacher wouldn’t let me whip out another book during Fahrenheit 451 time. The more that I read it, the more that I gleaned from it, symbolism-wise, and I realized that it’s actually an incredibly complex and nuanced novel. I knew it was a classic before, but reading it, I could tell why. It was timeless – it still is. It also started my love for dystopian novels.
I love Their Eyes Were Watching God more than I love almost any other book – maybe even my all-time favorite Perks of Being a Wallflower. Their Eyes is a book about starting over, a book about learning yourself, a book about going back to your roots and figuring out who you are and what you want. On top of that, it’s Zora Neale Hurston, who I love.
Story time! So when I was in school, we participated in National History Day, and I wrote a huge, massive, highly-researched paper on the Harlem Renaissance. I learned a lot about a lot of authors and artists, but I became fascinated with Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston.
So when I started reading Their Eyes Were Watching God in high school, I knew it would be good, and meaningful, and everything a classic should be.
I bet this one doesn’t make a lot of favorites lists – on the surface it’s a stuffy, overly done novel about Puritan beliefs. BUT on the inside, deep beneath the surface, you see a richly nuanced novel chock full of symbolism. If you take the time to analyze it – like I had to for a class in college – The Scarlet Letter becomes a book about women’s rights in a highly oppressive time, the power and the weight of societal expectations, and the idea of living after essentially a traumatic event. Seriously, if you had to read it in school, try it as an adult.
So that’s it, my quick list of classics that I enjoy. Honorable mentions include The Great Gatsby, The Princess Bride, and literally anything by William Shakespeare but especially The Tempest.
What are your favorite classics? What classics do you think I should