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Back to the Classics

“If you ever looked at me once with what I know is in you, I would be your slave.” And these lines by Emily Bronte remains my favourite even to this day. Pick a classic for a change. Tell me if it doesn’t consume you. I bet you just can’t get away from it. There’s absolutely nothing that contributes so much to tranquillise the mind as much as a Classic. Here is a list of 10 classic books that are bound to exert a peculiar influence on you and which will never get eradicated from your mind and I promise you that.

Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (1936)

One of the absolute favourite books of all time –Margaret Mitchell’s epic novel of love and war which won the Pulitzer Prize and one of the most popular and celebrated movies of all time. It will take you to the burning fields and cities of the American South creating haunting scenes and thrilling portraits of characters so vivid that you will remember their words and feel their fear and hunger for the rest of our lives.

Once you get into the world of Scarlett O’Hara you’ll fall in love with the South and all its trimmings. A historical novel that has you rooting for a rich spoilt heroine whose bound and determined to survive. Read this book when you need that extra bump of determination and may there be a little Scarlett O’Hara in all of us.

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (1960)

The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic.

If you’ve never come across this book before then it’s possible you live in a cave. It’s the story of Atticus Finch and his children Jem and Scout growing up in a small town in Alabama, and it’s loosely based on the author’s own life. It’s a captivating read dealing with strong themes of rape, racism and social injustice.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” Pride and Prejudice retains a fascination for modern readers, continuing near the top of lists of “most loved books”. It has become one of the most popular novels in English literature Set in England in the early 19th century, Pride and Prejudice tells the story of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet’s five unmarried daughters after the rich and eligible Mr. Bingley and his status-conscious friend, Mr. Darcy, have moved into their neighbourhood. While Bingley takes an immediate liking to the eldest Bennet daughter, Jane, Darcy is disdainful of local society and repeatedly clashes with the Bennets’ lively second daughter, Elizabeth.It features splendidly civilized sparring between the proud Mr. Darcy and the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet as they play out their spirited courtship in a series of eighteenth-century drawing-room intrigues.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (1847)

If you’ve heard the name Heathcliffe then you have likely already been introduced to this epic novel. Referred to by some as the ‘Romeo and Juliet’ of the Yorkshire Moors – Wuthering Heights is not your run-of-the-mill love story, but rather a poignant story of revenge.

Wuthering Heights is Emily Bronte’s only novel. Written between October 1845 and June 1846,Wuthering Heights was published in 1847 under the pseudonym “Ellis Bell”; Brontë died the following year, aged 30.

It is a wild, passionate story of the intense and almost demonic love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, a foundling adopted by Catherine’s father. After Mr Earnshaw’s death, Heathcliff is bullied and humiliated by Catherine’s brother Hindley and wrongly believing that his love for Catherine is not reciprocated, leaves Wuthering Heights, only to return years later as a wealthy and polished man. He proceeds to exact a terrible revenge for his former miseries. The action of the story is chaotic and unremittingly violent, but the accomplished handling of a complex structure, the evocative descriptions of the lonely moorland setting and the poetic grandeur of vision combine to make this unique novel a masterpiece of English literature.

 Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Charlotte Bronte’s continued to engage and provoke readers with this innovative and enduring romantic novel.

Orphaned into the household of her Aunt Reed at Gateshead, subject to the cruel regime at Lowood charity school, Jane Eyre nonetheless emerges unbroken in spirit and integrity. She takes up the post of governess at Thornfield, falls in love with Mr. Rochester, and discovers the impediment to their lawful marriage in a story that transcends melodrama to portray a woman’s passionate search for a wider and richer life than Victorian society traditionally allowed. The novel contains elements of social criticism, with a strong sense of morality at its core, but is nonetheless a novel many consider ahead of its time given the individualistic character of Jane and the novel’s exploration of classism, sexuality, religion, and proto-feminism.

1984 by George Orwell (1949)

The year 1984 has come and gone, but George Orwell’s prophetic, nightmarish vision in 1949 of the world is timelier than ever.

Written 35 years before its dated title, 1984 is still the great modern classic of “negative utopia” depicting predictions of what the future holds, which is a lot of tyranny, censorship, mind control, public surveillance (Big Brother) and war. Orwell explores what used to be England and is now an authoritarian state.

The novel is set in Airstrip One a province of the superstate Oceania in a world of perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance and public manipulation, dictated by a political system under the control of a privileged elite of the Inner Party, that persecutes individualism and independent thinking as “thoughtcrime.”

Translated into more than 65 languages, this is an important work of science fiction. A book that helps us examine what our fundamental freedoms are and will question just about everything you thought you knew.

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne (1850)

It is an astounding book is full of intense symbolism. Throughout the book, Hawthorne explores themes of legalism, sin, and guilt.

Set in the harsh Puritan community of seventeenth-century Boston, this tale of an adulterous entanglement that results in an illegitimate birth reveals Nathaniel Hawthorne’s concerns with the tension between the public and the private selves. Publicly disgraced and ostracized, Hester Prynne draws on her inner strength and certainty of spirit to emerge as the first true heroine of American fiction. Arthur Dimmesdale, trapped by the rules of society, stands as a classic study of a self divided.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925)

The Great Gatsby is one of the great classics of twentieth-century literature.

THE GREAT GATSBY, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third book, stood as the supreme achievement of his career. This exemplary novel of the Jazz Age has been acclaimed by generations of readers. The story primarily concerns the young and mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby and his quixotic passion and obsession for the beautiful former debutante Daisy Buchanan. Considered to be Fitzgerald’s magnum opus, The Great Gatsby explores themes of decadence, idealism, resistance to change, social upheaval, and excess, creating a portrait of the Jazz Age or the Roaring Twenties that has been described as a cautionary tale regarding the American

A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a comedy written by William Shakespeare between 1590 and 1597, portrays the events surrounding the marriage of Theseus, the Duke of Athens, to Hippolyta. These include the adventures of four young Athenian lovers and a group of six amateur actors (the mechanicals) who are controlled and manipulated by the fairies who inhabit the forest in which most of the play is set.

The play is one of Shakespeare’s most popular works for the stage and is widely performed across the world.

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

One of the 20th century’s enduring works, One Hundred Years of Solitude is a widely beloved and acclaimed novel known throughout the world, and the ultimate achievement of a Nobel Prize winning career. It was first published in Spanish in 1967; it has been translated into thirty-seven languages and has sold more than 30 million copies. The novel tells the story of the rise and fall of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the family. It is a rich and brilliant chronicle of life and death, and the tragicomedy of humankind. In the noble, ridiculous, beautiful, and tawdry story of the family, one sees all of humanity, just as in the history, myths, growth, and decay of Macondo, one sees all of Latin America.

The novel remains widely acclaimed, and is considered García Márquez’s masterpiece.


“A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say.”

― Italo Calvino

Keep Reading! Keep Enjoying!

-Submitted by Soni Agarwal


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