The topic this week was to talk about our favourite classics, or the ten classics we most want to read. Given that I have an entire list of classics that I want to read, it seemed silly to try and pick ten of them. So I've gone with listing my favourites. And yes, almost all of them are English authors and from the nineteenth century, because Victorian England is my jam.
1. Persuasion - Jane Austen
Hands down my favourite Austen book. Sure, I love Pride and Prejudice as much as anyone. But there's just something about Persuasion that makes me love it just that little bit more. The characters are fabulous, and it's more relateable in a lot of ways than Pride and Prejudice is.
2. Wives and Daughters - Elizabeth Gaskell
I was honestly tossing up between this and North & South. In the end, this won out mostly because it's been a while since I've read North & South, and I'm having trouble separating the events of the book from the events of the spectacular BBC miniseries from 2004. I studied Wives and Daughters in first year university, and loved every second of it (except for the whole "Gaskell died before she finished it" part). I reread it at the start of the year and I still love it just as much.
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
I first read this in 1998 for year 10 English, and when I saw the cover, I was absolutely convinced that I was going to hate it. It only took me about fifty pages - read in the back of the car en route to The Dandenongs (I have this weirdly vivid memory of the first time I read it) - to realise that I absolutely adored everything about it. That remains true today.
4. Bleak House - Charles Dickens
Admittedly, Bleak House is one of the most complex and difficult-to-get-through Dickens novels. The characters are phenomenal, the way their stories interweave is incredible, and there's a case of spontaneous human combustion. What more could you want from a book?!
5. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
Another one that I read for first year university and loved. The story is great and crammed full of secrets, the characters are amazing, and Count Fosco, the major villain, is weirdly likeable. And there are moments that are almost nothing in the course of the story, but which will come back to you, years after reading.
6. The Day of the Triffids - John Wyndham
I reread this in January, and HOLY CRAP it's still terrifying. But while it was the triffids that scared the crap out of me as a teenager, it was the politics and the implications for society that scared the crap out of me as an adult. It's basically a dystopian novel with added carnivorous plants, and it is AMAZING.
7. The Mystery of a Hansom Cab - Fergus Hume
The best selling crime novel of the nineteenth century, contrary to what you might think, was this relatively little known Australian work. For something that was written 120 years ago, it's incredibly readable. The story may be a little on the standard whodunnit side, but Hume's descriptions - particularly where secondary characters are concerned - are to die for.
8. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
Oh my God, I adore Becky Sharp and everything about this massively snarky book. Becky is the epitome of an anti-hero. She makes terrible decisions time and time again - she steals, she uses her friends, she gambles, she marries to mess with people's minds, she doesn't give a crap about her kid - and yet somehow? You're still left wanting her to come out on top. Brilliant from start to finish.
9. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
There's a reason why this book is still on the English syllabus of high school classes the world over. It's an amazing story from start to finish, and so much more complex than you think it will be when you start reading it.
10. The Importance of Being Earnest - Oscar Wilde
Does including a play count as cheating?? Whatever, it's one of my favourites, so I don't really care if it's cheating. This play is absolutely hilarious from start to finish. I adore all the characters, even Aunt Augusta, and the story is so ridiculous that you can't help but love it.
What are your favourite classics?