I’m not the biggest fan of classic books out there – in fact, I tend to avoid the majority of them. I find the language hard to read, and the plots often hard to follow.
However, lately, I have read quite a few classics (and discovered a few more that I am yet to read) that I actually found quite easy to read and was a bit surprised. Not all classics have to be stuffy and full of blocky language.
Here’s five that I think you should read.
1. It Can’t Happen Here – Sinclair Lewis
Who would have thought that an anti-immigrant, vain, hateful and prejudicial man could become President of the USA? A man claiming to be a ‘common’ man, promising the angry poor a better America and a more hopeful future than any other president before has managed to give them.
No, this isn’t a book about Donald Trump.
It Can’t Happen Here was written in 1935, but it is scarily relevant to today. This is a classic that is – rather frustratingly – still relatable today. It shows the danger of having a president who believes in pure authoritarianism while spreading hate throughout the culture.
It was never intended to be a true story, but just wait until you read it and your brain starts replacing the name Buzz Windrip with the image of an angry orange man.
2. Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier
This was one of the first classics that I ever really enjoyed reading. We studied it in college, and I started it expecting to hate it but finished by absolutely adoring it.
It is practically Jane Eyre fanfiction, but you definitely don’t need to have read Jane Eyre to know what is going off, since this is basically just a retelling. It’s freaky, with a narrator who doesn’t ever say her name, and a brooding man with a big house to top it all off. Plus, it’s set in Cornwall, which is the ideal setting for a creepy gothic horror.
It’s so easy to read that I’ve lost count of the number of times that I’ve re-read it, and it really doesn’t feel like you are reading a classic.
3. 1984 – George Orwell
Imagine a world where people police everything that you do, say, and think, and every single one of your moves is watched. No privacy, no freedom. Scarily a lot like today.
I think that 1984 is one of those classics that the majority of people have read at least once, and I found it really easy to get sucked in by the plot (and terrified). If you want a classic that is still relatable, this is the one for you. It could easily have been written in this century.
4. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
I was reluctant to enjoy this when I was first forced into reading it for Year 9 English. I usually just automatically dislike anything I’m forced to read. However, this one was a good surprise.
Of Mice and Men follows George and Lenny during The Depression in America, and it is absolutely heartbreaking. It’s also more of a novella rather than a full novel, so if you’re not into reading, this is a great starting point.
5. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
Unlike the rest of these, to read Jane Eyre, you’ve got to be willing to read something set in the past and not necessarily relatable to today’s culture.
I found this incredibly easy to get into mainly because Jane is such a lovable character, and there is action all the way throughout the plot. It’s definitely worth a try if you’re not into classics but you are confident enough to dive in at the deep end!
Do you love or hate classics? Have you read any of these? Let’s have a chat in the comments!