1. Welcome to BookAndReader!

    We LOVE books and hope you'll join us in sharing your favorites and experiences along with your love of reading with our community. Registering for our site is free and easy, just CLICK HERE!

    Already a member and forgot your password? Click here.

Can anyone compile a small list of classics that every reader should read?

Discussion in 'Book Search & Suggestions' started by SlowFingers, Jun 18, 2007.

  1. SlowFingers

    SlowFingers New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2007
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hey,

    I've always had an interest in reading and writing. So far, most of my reading has been sci-fi and fantasy fiction, but now that my first year of college is behind me and my mind has been opened to new books (Heart of Darkness to name one), I'm interested in delving further into fiction and literature. I was wondering if anyone could compile, or throw out a suggestion or two, of books that every "accomplished" reader should have under his or her belt. Try not to get too niche with the title - I'd like to get the framework down first before moving onto some of the lesser-known ones. But you can still suggest whatever you want! Tell me why you think it should be read, too, and what makes it special to you personally.

    Thanks for the help to anyone who replies!
     
  2. -Carlos-

    -Carlos- New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2003
    Messages:
    2,717
    Likes Received:
    8
    Currently Reading:
    The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King
    Everyone on this forum knows what I will recommend- as they should know by now: Read John Steinbeck and Ernest Hemingway.

    What a shocker!! :eek:
     
  3. unKeMPt

    unKeMPt New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2006
    Messages:
    210
    Likes Received:
    0
    Currently Reading:
    Rabbit, Run by John Updike
    Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
    Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
    One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
    One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
     
  4. claybugg

    claybugg New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2006
    Messages:
    140
    Likes Received:
    0
    To Kill A Mocking Bird - Harper Lee
    Of Mice And Men - John Steinbeck
    The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
    1984 - George Orwell
    The Catcher In The Rye - J.D. Salinger
     
  5. jcsoblonde

    jcsoblonde kickbox

    Joined:
    May 18, 2007
    Messages:
    125
    Likes Received:
    1
    Currently Reading:
    A Tale of Two Cities- Charles Dickens
    Heya! Well...I know everyone will sigh, and GROAN, but I nominate The Lord of the Rings!!! Which is not only fantasy, it IS a classic! But you might have already read that one so lets see...
    1. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea~ Jules Verne
    2. Julius Caesar~ William Shakespeare
    3. Alice in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass~ Lewis Carrol (ok laugh all you want everybody but I think everyone should read those! :p )
    4. Stargirl~ Jerry Spinelli (just shush will you? :p I know it's not a classic persay but it should be!)
    5. A Conneticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court~ Mark Twain
    There are so many more but I don't have time to write them all!
     
  6. oregonjade

    oregonjade New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2005
    Messages:
    76
    Likes Received:
    0
    Currently Reading:
    changes almost daily...
    I'm not sure where I'd even start, except that I think I'd have to add the Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas.

    Also, this is a really neat place:
    Lists of Bests: Books
     
  7. BooknaMug

    BooknaMug New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2007
    Messages:
    205
    Likes Received:
    0
    Currently Reading:
    The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson
    Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
    Shakespeare - any and all of his works
    A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

    That's all for now...
     
  8. Thursday_Next

    Thursday_Next New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2006
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    0
    Currently Reading:
    Brick Lane by Monica Ali
    I see that others already have recommended Steinbeck and Marquez (they are great), but nobody has yet mentioned Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte! It's definately one of my favorites when it comes to classics! :)
     
  9. Enigma

    Enigma New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2007
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    Currently Reading:
    Armadale - Wilkie Collins
    I have a small definite list. Mostly Victorians. :)

    Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte.
    A brilliant heroine, and a touching, unconventional love story.

    Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
    It's interesting to read the frameworks, and everyone should read the story of Heathcliff and Cathy. :) Again, very unconventional, like her sister.

    The Woman In White - Wilkie Collins
    Unforgettable story with not only the best heroine EVER (imho), but also the greatest villian ever (also imho). Lush.

    Northanger Abbey - Jane Austen
    Yea, everyone goes on about Pride and Prejudice whilst this little gem is often overlooked. An absolute must if you want to get a general idea of novel reading in the late eighteenth century. Jane Austen mocks critics of the novel. Witty and funny.

    She - H. Rider Haggard
    Simply because it's funny (erm, do not read if you're a feminist, though).

    Robinson Crusoe - Daniel Defoe
    There is a collection of novels in the eighteenth century which is generally regarded to be the innovation of the novel, and the progress of it. Robinson Crusoe is often considered to be the first, whilst books like Pamela follow and change the format a little. As interesting as all this is, avoid Pamela at all costs, and stick your nose into Crusoe if you feel the need to understand how the novel began.
     
  10. sugarz

    sugarz New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2004
    Messages:
    60
    Likes Received:
    0
    Currently Reading:
    The Princes of Ireland
    Don't forget that accomplished readers should also have a number of contemporary and foreign (meaning not English) novels under their belts. I recommend:

    any Toni Morrison - (Paradis being my favorite, but also her most difficult)

    Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston - This is one of a few books that will make you crazy, but it is so delicious, I couldn't put it down.

    Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe - A look into a drastically different culture

    There was also this novel that I can't remember the name of, but the main character was this man who grew up in a cult whose members all killed themselves and he was the last remaining member. Because of this, he becomes a celebrity. The books starts on the last page and works its way to the first (the first page is 358 and the last page is 1).
     
  11. -Carlos-

    -Carlos- New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2003
    Messages:
    2,717
    Likes Received:
    8
    Currently Reading:
    The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King
    This is more of a modern list of novels:

    Animal Farm by George Orwell
    Lord of the Flies by William Golding
    The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
    Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis
    The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
    Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner
    The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow
     
  12. RobertM

    RobertM New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2007
    Messages:
    162
    Likes Received:
    0
    Currently Reading:
    'Suite Francaise'
    Enigma says, in part: "stick your nose into Crusoe if you feel the need to understand how the novel began."

    Yeah, I read THAT book, and that's when I decided Defoe needed an editor in the worst way. Reading the unabridged version is difficult. Defoe went on long religious tirades, often related events out of order and then played catch-up, and did not usually attribute dialogue.

    Okay...this is the part where I get to brag a bit and then get slapped down by the moderators. (lol)

    Last year I took the whole unabridged ms. and re-edited it into 'Robinson Crusoe - Special Redux Edition'. I used the original oils from Andrew Wyeth for illustrations, and invented new, more exciting covers. Of course, we haven't sold many of them. (laughs)

    But I sure felt better after I did it. (Take that, Defoe...)

    Other classics that everyone should read? I have to go with these:

    'A Tale of Two Cities'
    'All Quiet on the Western Front'
    'Surprise...Surprise...Surprise - The Autobiography of Gomer Pyle'

    Just kidding on the last one. There is no such book, of course.:D
     
  13. BookCat

    BookCat New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2007
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    0
    Currently Reading:
    The Swiss Family Robinson
    Thomas Hardy: Tess of the d'Urbervilles, or Jude the Obscure
    George Eliot: Middlemarch and Silas Marner
    Jane Austen: Emma (hate Austen, but no lit education complete without her)
    George Orwell: Animal Farm and 1984
    Hemingway: For Whom the Bell Tolls
    Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby
    Emily Bronte: Wuthering Heights
    Charlotte Bronte: Jane Eyre
    Charles Dickens: Oliver Twist
    Mary Shelly: Frankenstein
    Brams Stoker: Dracula
    Somerset Maugham: Of Human Bondage
    Steinbeck: The Grapes of Wrath
    Flaubert: Madame Bovary
    Mark Twain: Huckleberry Finn
    Grahame Green: The Power and the Glory

    There, the foundation of a good literary education ;)
     
  14. Enigma

    Enigma New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2007
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    Currently Reading:
    Armadale - Wilkie Collins
    Lol, I didn't enjoy the book either, but he asked for an accomplished list, and I think there should be at least one early novel. No early novel can be great, considering the form didn't exist, and they therefore were on there own on how to write one. Of course Defoe when into those things - it was necessary at the time to do so. The form was looked down upon. People didn't get fiction at the time. It was strange to them why anyone would write a book on something they made up. To make up for this, early novelists had to be put in moral guidence and lessons for the reader.

    There were some earlier novels (or, we would call them novellas these days). They are surprisingly readable. That's Aphra Behn's Oroonoko and Thomas More's Utopia. Actually, I suggest Utopia. It's not actually a story with any plot, just More mocking the corrupt capitalist system in Western Europe. It's actually quite funny.
     
  15. bethanyr32

    bethanyr32 New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2007
    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    0
    Currently Reading:
    Anne McCaffrey
    Being a true Classics nerd...

    Whenever someone says Classics, I think ancient classics. I'm particularly fond of these:
    Homer, The Odyssey
    Virgil, The Aeneid
    Ovid, Metamorphoses
    Euripides, Trojan Women
    However, if you haven't done a lot of myth reading, you might want to have something like the Oxford Concise Companion to Classical Lit handy, to look up unfamiliar names.
     
  16. silverseason

    silverseason New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2007
    Messages:
    611
    Likes Received:
    0
    Currently Reading:
    Usually one fiction/novel and one nonfiction.
    Try some of the 19th century novels

    Villette by Charlotte Bronte
    The Life of Charlotte Bronte by Elizabeth Gaskell
    Bleak House by Dickens or Oliver Twist by Dickens
    Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope
     
  17. Fae

    Fae New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2007
    Messages:
    57
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'll throw in my two cents:

    Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
    Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
    David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
    Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
    Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
    Tom Jones - Henry Fielding
    Middlemarch - George Eliot
    Portrait of a Lady - Henry James
    Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain
    The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
    A Farewell to Arms - Ernest Hemingway
     
  18. RobertM

    RobertM New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2007
    Messages:
    162
    Likes Received:
    0
    Currently Reading:
    'Suite Francaise'
    I'm going to try some variety here, but they are all classics:

    'Huckleberry Finn'
    'Catcher in the Rye'
    '1984'
    'Fahrenheit 451'
    'To Kill a Mockingbird'
    'All Quiet on the Western Front'
    'The Diary of Anne Frank'

    I didn't recommend any of the 19th Century classics (except Huck Finn) because some people find them difficult to get through. I think everyone should read the ones on this list at least once, though. :cool:
     
  19. pooh_bah

    pooh_bah New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2007
    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    0
    Lolita by Nabokov - because it's compelling, seedy and straddles the line between poetry and prose without sounding pretentious. The man has a capacity for description that is very rare. One of my all time favourite reads. Get the annotated version - lots of interesting info about the double entendres, Nabokov's use of language and puns, and many more curious references.

    Animal Farm (Orwell) and The Pearl (Steinbeck)- both tell you something about the human condition. Steinbeck in particular is great at describing things quickly. It's in his shorter works and not in books like The Grapes of Wrath where this is most obvious to me. Emotion and atmosphere are conveyed very quickly.

    Elfriede Jelinek's Lust - Daring and provocative, the woman doesn't give two hoots about being controversial and was derided by someone on the Nobel committee for writing 'violent pornography'. All her books are fascinating because of her lack of respect for traditional notions of decency and lack of regard for the usual ho-hum narrative conventions.
    Not niche, just foreign (Austrian) and not Anglo-American.

    First Blood by David Morell - Good action book that was well respected before the 'Rambo' film franchise ruined the complexity of the characters and the important issues raised about alienation and war.

    Almost Transparent Blue by Ryu Murakami - Great and modern Japanese writer/ screenwriter/ director. Better than the overhyped Haruki Murakami. ATB discusses the drug culture Ryu M grew up in, mixing surreal bits with semi-autobiographical accounts. Very odd book but brilliant. I also recommend his book 69 and In the Miso Soup (crime thriller set in Tokyo, where a series of crimes are being committed in sex clubs).
    Again, foreign is not necessarily niche.

    J.G. Ballard - Crash (made into a film by David Cronenberg) & High-Rise. Both are Ballard at his best. High-Rise for how a social complex / hierarchy can deteriorate and how humans resort to base behaviours to ensure their own security. It's a very complex book and immensely readable. Crash - slightly sick and twisted, Ballard does this so well.
    Ballard is a modern writer, highly imaginative and in my mind his books are classics. A cult favourite of his that completely throws rules and regulations out of the window is The Atrocity Exhibition.

    I thought I’d add Stephen King too because I think he’s great and I’ve noticed that he doesn’t get much love on book forums! I love Pet Sematary, The Shining and all the golden oldies.
    Yes he's an institution and his works, whatever your college professors tell you, are up there with much more 'literary' (whatever that means - no one thought Jelinek was very literary and they gave her the Nobel - go figure)classic horror fiction. A writer of great importance.

    Hope this helps.

    If I think of any more I'll post again.

    pooh_bah
     
  20. scorpeus

    scorpeus New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2007
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ulysses by James Joyce. It is an English labyrinth that leaves your brain aching, but if you understand it, or plan to, it's one of the best books to read.

    La Divina Comedia (The Divine Comedy) by Dante Alighieri. I'd say this is one of the best books I've ever picked up, and I'm still not finished. I've heard it is considered one of the greatest literary masterpieces in history, but that's just opinion. It's a very religious setting (Catholic), but they have characters from greek history and others from Italian politics, which really adds to the story.

    A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man again by James Joyce. It's nowhere near as complex as Ulysses, but still has a lot of the Irish culture surrounding Dublin, and is very good English reading.

    After that, I would suggest a collected works of Shakespeare. You can them pretty cheap and it's a great buy.

    Both Joyce books I have already finished, and Dante's book I am still working on. Shakespeare I'll read here and there, my favorite is Antony and Cleopatra, but different strokes. They're all advanced English readings, and like I mentioned in the post, don't plan on understanding Ulysses your first time through. Hope this helps.
     

Share This Page