The number one complains I hear from people trying to read (modern) classics is: ”They’re so boring, dense and hard to get through!” And while there are definitely classics like these they don’t have to be this way! I recently looked at my Goodreads list and noticed that I’ve read quite a bit of classics, especially the ‘easy-to-read’ ones. What can I say, I just like those the best. Here’s a little rundown of my favorite classics that are fun and easy to read!
The Catcher in The Rye by J.D. Salinger
A book that is hated by those who were forced to read it in school, and loved by people who read it for pleasure. Holden Caulfield is hated by teenagers, but most adults can sympathise with him. He goes through a lot, and his thoughts and opinions are a reflection of that. If you’re among the people that read this years ago and hated it, I recommend giving it another try.
1984 by George Orwell
A dystopian novel as a dystopian novel should be. I don’t think I can say anything about this book that hasn’t been said yet. The power of 1984 is found in its descriptions of a totalitarian society, historical revisionism, suppressing individualism and limiting language so one can limit what people are able to think. The book made me think about our perception of memory, and if telling people what they should remember really does change their memory.
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Although pretty much every major character in The Picture of Dorian Gray is unlikeable, it is a pleasure to read about them. Every major character is a reflection of either Oscar himself or how the world viewed him, which is super interesting! The prose is beautiful and the dialogue very clever. It’s quite eerie and confronting to watch the inevitable demise of Dorian Gray, and I thought it was very well-done. The entire story is good, but I promise the ending will leave you speechless.
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Animal Farm is a well-written and witty critique of how socialist ideals are corrupted by powerful people, how the uneducated masses (represented by Boxer in the novel, among others) are taken advantage of and how communist leaders often turn into the thing that they – supposedly – despise the most. This short book is an amazing way to teach a valuable life lesson.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
A book where the journey is definitely more important than the destination. Huckleberry Finn is a very important book – Hemingway was of the opinion that all great modern American literature came from it – but it’s also a fun and interesting read. Huck Finn has a distinct, nearly illiterate yet crudely poetic voice. The dialects in this book are a very important part of the story, and it shows the differences in social classes more than anything.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
In high school I just didn’t get The Great Gatsby. It was just an electric, weird novel about a creepy guy named Gatsby and people that had way too much money. However, I decided to reread it and I’ve come to appreciate the love story between Daisy and Gatsby and the intricacies that are woven through the book. There is also a ton of symbolism, which I’m personally a big fan of – I’m actually planning to reread this!
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Great Expectations is a bildungsroman by Charles Dickens which was published between 1860 and 1861, and it deals with timely themes such as wealth and poverty, love and rejection and the differences between a rural environment and the London metropolis. In the book, we follow the psychological and moral development of the young orphaned boy Pip to his maturity. A beautiful book that depicts the hopes, dreams and their metamorphosis through the hardships of adulthood.