10 Classic English Novels You Must Read
Thinking about reading books as the year comes to an end? Ah! I will do the same, and I will walk you through the novels you can join reading. Though I am not in for reading a classic novel just because others say it’s a classic, I will venture into this domain this time. However, I will go through the pros and cons of every novel I pick on my reading list (and then only share them with you here). So, we are reading 10 classic novels as the year comes to end! Before we begin reading, what’s the utility of reading classic fiction? Are classic novels different from ordinary novels? Let’s discuss it!
Benefits? Yes, there are many! Reading classic novels comes with advantages that can be emotional as well as intellectual. Scholars agree classic novels often stand the test of time due to their universal themes and enduring relevance. At times, they can offer a glimpse into different historical periods and cultures and can help readers to understand and empathize with the experiences of others. Classic novels also tend to be well-written and can expose readers to new ideas and ways of thinking. Moreover, regularly reading classic novels can help to improve vocabulary and reading comprehension skills, as well as provide an opportunity for intellectual and personal growth. Isn’t that fantastic? Overall, reading classic novels can be an enriching experience that can broaden one’s horizons and deepen one’s understanding of the world.
Here is my reading list. There are ten classic English novels I will be reading before the year ends. Yes, I am an avid and fast reader. How fast are you, buddy?
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: Widely regarded as a romance classic, Pride and Prejudice brings more to readers. Other than an amazing love story, Austen’s novel explores themes of class, marriage, and societal expectations. You will learn narrative skills, irony and the art of captivating storylines. Enjoy! Want to get a copy? Buy now from Amazon India.
- Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray: The driving force of this novel is the lives of two contrasting characters: the charming and ambitious Becky Sharp and the naive and good-natured Amelia Sedley. The classic work is a satirical portrayal of society and its values, and it explores the overcooked themes of social climbing, greed, and the superficial nature of Victorian society. Through the experiences of Becky and Amelia, Thackeray shows how individuals’ pursuit of vanity and material wealth can lead to destructive consequences. You will love reading it if you can have patience as the storyteller swings his magic wand at the lowest possible pace (at times). You can grab a paperback copy from Amazon India right now – click here to buy the novel.
- Great Expectations by Charles Dickens: A well-written and engaging story that follows the life of the orphan Pip as he navigates the complexities of Victorian society, Charles Dickens, perhaps, created his best in Great Expectations! It is a coming-of-age tale that explores themes of identity, love, and responsibility. In addition, as a social commentary, it is a rich and detailed portrayal of Victorian society, with memorable and vividly drawn characters. The novel is known for its rich language and descriptive passages adding realistic visuals to keep readers engaged. Central to the values of a classic in literature, Great Expectations explores the importance of loyalty, friendship, and the consequences of one’s actions, and it asks questions about what it means to be a good person. Want a copy? Click here to get it from Amazon India.
- Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte: Emily Bronte’s only work, Wuthering Heights is known for its intense and tumultuous love story between Catherine and Heathcliff, two of the most immortal fictional characters ever created by any literary personality. It is set in the late 18th and early 19th centuries on the moors of Yorkshire, England. The novel follows the complex and often volatile relationship between these two characters from their youth to adulthood. One of the things that makes Wuthering Heights notable is its unique and unconventional portrayal of love. Catherine and Heathcliff’s love for each other is passionate and all-consuming, but it is also destructive and ultimately tragic. The novel explores the idea that love can be both a source of joy and pain, and it asks questions about the true nature of love and whether it is possible for two people to be truly happy together. Want to read it already? Click here to buy the novel from Amazon India.
- The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger: First published in 1951, the novel by Salinger is in first-person narrative. Holden Caulfield, the protagonist, tells the story of a young and rebellious teenager (himself) who got expelled from his prep school. The plot follows Holden as he wanders the streets of New York City, struggling to find his place in the world and grappling with the loss of his younger brother, Allie. The Catcher in the Rye gets its spot on the list of 20th-century classics in English for its portrayal of adolescent alienation and its themes of authenticity, identity, and the loss of innocence. It is a coming-of-age story that explores the struggles of growing up and finding one’s place in the world. The novel is written in a distinctive and colloquial style, and its protagonist, Holden, has become an iconic and enduring character in American literature. Sounds interesting? Order your copy from Amazon India – click here to buy now.
- The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck: Published in 1939, the novel is still one of the best literary works on the great depression in the USA. The theme of migration, hopelessness and the search for a better life lingers throughout this novel. It tells the story of the Joad family, forced to leave their farm in Oklahoma and travel to California during the Great Depression in search of a better life. The novel is widely considered a masterpiece of American literature and has been highly influential, winning the Pulitzer Prize in 1940. If you enjoy classic literature and historical fiction, or if you are interested in learning more about the Great Depression and its impact on American society, you may find The Grapes of Wrath to be a rewarding read. Want a copy? Click here to get one from Amazon India right now.
- Brave New World by Aldous Huxley: Brave New World is a classic dystopian novel by Aldous Huxley, published in 1932. Set in a Terminator-themed future society in which humanity is controlled through the use of advanced technology and conditioning, the novel explores themes of totalitarianism, individualism, and the consequences of scientific progress. Reading it may refurbish the debate on AI, Good AI and the future of human civilisation. The novel follows the story of Bernard Marx, a government employee, and John the Savage, a man raised outside of the controlled society, as they confront the dangers and limitations of their world. Brave New World is a thought-provoking and influential work that continues to be widely read and studied today. Read this classic dystopian science fiction now – click here to order a copy from Amazon.
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald: The Great Gatsby is a classic novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, published in 1925. The story discusses the summer of 1922 in the fictional town of West Egg on Long Island, where a wealthy young man Jay Gatsby and his turbulent relationship with the beautiful and mysterious Daisy Buchanan. The novel is a classic of American literature and is known for its themes of love, decadence, and the decline of the American Dream. The Great Gatsby is considered a masterpiece. One of the representatives of the Jazz Age and the Great American Dream, Fitzgerald’s work will remain lovable work for a long time. Want to read it now? Get a copy from Amazon India – click here.
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte: Jane Eyre is a classic novel by Charlotte Brontë, published in 1847. It tells the story of the central character, a young woman who becomes a governess at the mysterious mansion Thornfield Hall and eventually falls in love with its owner, Mr Rochester. The novel is famous for its themes of independence, passion, and social class. It has been widely read and studied, and has inspired numerous adaptations, including films, television shows, and stage productions. The novel is notable for its strong and complex female protagonist, as well as its exploration of issues related to gender and social class in the Victorian era. Get a copy from Amazon India now – click here.
- A House for Mr Biswas by V. S. Naipaul: A House for Mr Biswas is a novel by V. S. Naipaul, published in 1961. It tells the story of the protagonist Mohun Biswas, a poor, struggling journalist in Trinidad. He spends his life trying to achieve independence and build a home (of his own). The novel is a classic of postcolonial literature and is known for its themes of identity, belonging, and the search for meaning. A House for Mr Biswas is widely considered one of Naipaul’s greatest works and has received critical acclaim for its vivid depiction of the complexities of postcolonial life. Enjoy the work by Naipaul now – click here to buy from Amazon India.
These novels are considered classics for a variety of reasons. They are often well-written and thought-provoking, and they explore timeless themes that continue to be relevant today. They are also considered valuable contributions to the literary canon and are often studied in literature courses. So, whether you read it in 2022 or 2023, go through these timeless classics of English literature and become a part of the ongoing journey! All the best!
Agraj for ReadByCritics