Old Friends: My Favorite Classic Reads

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 
read?

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5 thoughts on “Old Friends: My Favorite Classic Reads

  1. Interestingly, I actually wouldn’t have called Fahrenheit 451 a classic, it seems far too relevant even now to qualify… but of course you’re right; it is a classic, especially because it’s so timeless. I agree with you that every new read is like peeling off another layer of meaning. I feel that happens with all of Bradbury’s writing. Like you, I’m also partial to The Tempest, but my favourite Shakespeare would be Macbeth. My favourite classics, though, are books by Mark Twain or Oscar Wilde; something with a touch of humour.

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  2. The Scarlet Letter and The Tempest are both on my classics tbr, and *someday* I will get to them… My favorites are Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice is over-rated, #sorrynotsorry) and the play Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand (but if you’re only going to read one, make it Cyrano de Bergerac…)

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    1. I haven’t read either, but I will add them to my list! I agree about Pride and Prejudice – way over-hyped. I will say I loved it in graphic novel form – that’ll show up in my post later today.

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