June 2024
« Mar    

Au Currant: 3 Great Classic Books That Are Readable, Relatable & Enjoyable (Even Today!)

classicsbuttonPlease welcome Nicole from Linus’s Blanket today as she shares a few of the classics that she loves, and why you can enjoy them too!

When Meghan mentioned that she was going to be delving into the classics this month with Tasha from Heidenkind’s Hideaway, I was very excited. Classics are often pushed as bearing a standard among books. They can be used in order to judge whether a person is well-read, and as a means of learning life lessons, problem solving and being able to navigate in the world. I didn’t feel like it helped me accomplish any of those things when I read them as a teen. After having mixed results reading classics in high school and in college, I have been dipping into them a little bit more over the past couple of years.

I have grappled with the issues of whether I find them pleasurable to read, and worthwhile in the sense that they pose relevant thoughts on issues still being examined and debated today, and if they shed any light into issues that I have encountered in my life. While some classics have threads of relevant social issues, others were a far cry from interesting me or readily accessible to read (Frankenstein, Silas Marner, The Scarlett Letter – I’m looking at you). In my search for the good ones, I have found a few that have hit the trifecta for me in terms of being readable, relatable and just plain enjoyable.

Lady Audley’s Secret, by Mary Elizabeth Braddon – Lady Audley’s Secret made quite a splash by exploring the idea that a woman could be a serious threat to domesticity and a happy home. Lady Audley has secrets from her husband, and his son Robert Audley suspects her of being a murderess, which was unheard of for women of her social standing at the time. I found this book to be very easy to get into, and I loved the whole who dunnit aspect of the novel. Lady Audley is invested in her happiness and seizes the life that she wants by her own power, even if by nefarious means. It was an interesting to see a plausible rendition of a woman doing this in Victorian times, and even more so being that it was penned by a female author. There is more that I could say about this wonderful novel, but I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who wants to read it.

The Great Gatsby – I remember reading this in high school, and even with the teacher giving his spiel, I still really had no idea what it was about. The most that I remembered about it was that we watched the movie in class and everyone wore that crazy flapper gear. Reading Gatsby as an adult, I was really able to appreciate the intricacies of the storyline- the class distinctions, the recklessness of the wealthy, and the love that fuels one man’s goals to become wealthy and powerful not understanding that he can never be as his beloved would wish. Even though there were no innocents in this timely story, I have to admit that I felt for Gatsby and the fact that no matter what he did he already wasn’t good enough and would never belong. He went to great lengths to get the love of his life, and it pretty much wrecked his life. This is a great read and it’s easy to relate to unrequited love, and past traumas providing the drive for great achievement.

Pride & Prejudice – I almost didn’t put this on my list because it is such an obvious choice for me (and for many!), but I also felt that to have left it off would be disingenuous. I don’t think that I have read any other book as much as I have read this one. Over the years my readings have changed and whom my sympathies lie with now are different than what they once were (right now I seem to be in Darcy’s camp, and think that Elizabeth was too hard him), but the conversational tone of the novel is so engaging and the themes so absolutely timeless that it is hard to not come back to this again and again. Who can’t sympathize with an overbearing mother, insufferable relatives, and falling in love with someone who doesn’t fit with all of your expectations, much less your families? I think it’s fortunate that in this lovely novel, everything works out in the end (as we all hope that it might in our own lives when we are facing similar situations). Pride and Prejudice is so good, that each time I read it it, I get all caught up again, even though I know exactly what will happen. Isn’t that a riot?

So how about you? Do you agree with any of my choices? What classics do you find to be readable, relatable and enjoyable?

Keep on reading!:

  1. Classics Month: March 2010

18 comments to Au Currant: 3 Great Classic Books That Are Readable, Relatable & Enjoyable (Even Today!)

  • I completely agree about Lady Audley and P&P, and I can’t believe I haven’t read Gatsby yet. I’ll get to it this year for sure.

  • I agree about Gatsby, especially as it’s so easy to read. You can blitz it for fun and then go back and read deeply.
    .-= Jodie´s last blog .. =-.

  • Nicole has a great list! I have never read Lady Audley’s Secret, but the other two are wonderful.
    .-= Stephanie´s last blog ..Book Review: Thirteen Reasons Why =-.

  • I haven’t read the first one, but I totally agree with the second two. I would add Little Women to the list.
    .-= bermudaonion (Kathy)´s last blog ..Wondrous Words Wednesday =-.

  • I agree with every single one of those! Those are three of my favorite classics! Lady Audley’s Secret is such a delicious Victorian mystery and Gatsby will always be a favorite. And of course, who could overlook Mr. Darcy?

    I also really enjoy the old French classics, like Dumas’s Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo, Hugo’s Hunchback and Les Mis, and Flaubert. If my month wasn’t so packed with reading already, I would have to join in. I’ve been itching to read some Dumas anyway.
    .-= Heather´s last blog ..Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 =-.

  • I agree with your assessments of The Great Gatsby and Pride and Prejudice – it has been a while since I have read either of them and I should revisit them,

    I am not familair with Lady Audley’s Secret but it sounds intriguing.

    I would also add Little Women to the list.
    .-= Tricia´s last blog ..Review: Even the Dogs =-.

    • Ana – I so look forward to your review of The Great Gatsby. I haven’t read it in a few years now so it is on my list for this year.

      Jodie – I agree about Gatsby. You can definitely get the lay of the land and then go back for me. I’ve not read it in a few years, so I am curious to see how I feel about the characters now.

      Stephanie – You should give Audley a chance if you have the time. I read it for the first time last year and I loved it!

      Kathy – I agree about Little Women. I thought about it, but i’s so great I rarely think of it as a classic.

      Heather – Dumas is perfect! The Count of Monte Cristo was my favorite book in 5th grade. It is definitely due a re-read.

      Tricia – I am going to try to re-read both this year. I am long overdue.
      .-= Nicole´s last blog ..How Do You Like Your Classics? =-.

  • I only read Pride and Prejudice but I have such fond memories of that book! I have not even heard of Lady Audley’s Secrets so I will have to check that one out. I’ve been hoping to read The Great Gatsby soon. Thanks for sharing these!
    .-= Jo-Jo´s last blog ..Current Giveaways!!! =-.

  • No love for The Scarlet Letter, huh? I actually did kind of like that book in high school–I’m not sure I’d want to read it again, though.

    This was a fun post! I agree with you completely on both The Great Gatsby and P&P. I haven’t read Lady Audley’s Secret yet, but clearly I should.
    .-= heidenkind´s last blog ..Novels & Gender =-.

  • I haven’t even heard of Lady Audley’s Secret. I totally agree with you on Gatsby, even though it’s been years since I read it.

    P&P, though. *sigh* I just don’t get that one. Although, to be fair, I never finished it. The language bored me to tears.

  • I plan to pick up Queen Margot by Alexandre Dumas this year. I also recently browsed Sir Walter Scott’s Rob Roy and Ivanhoe.
    .-= Arleigh´s last blog ..giveaway: The Queen’s Lady =-.

  • I LOVE Gatsby! I need to read Lady Audley’s Secret though apparently!
    .-= Amused´s last blog ..Grammar =-.

  • Three great ones! my mind is a blank at the moment– but Dumas is great.

  • I absolutely LOVED Lady Audley’s Secret (I even wrote a unit plan of study for the book, which unfortunately I have not yet used in the classroom) and Pride and Prejudice is certainly a favorite as well.

    I am ashamed to say that I have not read The Great Gatsby (my experience in American Lit is sorely lacking), but it is one that I definitely want to read soon.
    .-= Molly´s last blog ..BTT: National Grammar Day =-.

  • Great recommendations. I haven’t read Lady Audley’s secret yet and I’m halfway through Pride and Prejudice (and am loving it!). The Great Gatsby has always been a favorite too. I might have added Jane Eyre to my list.
    .-= Kristi´s last blog ..Throwback Thursday: Edgar Allan Poe =-.

  • I haven’t read Lady Audley’s Secret yet but I agree about the others. I have to disagree with you about Silas Marner though. It’s one of my favorites!
    .-= Chris@bookarama´s last blog ..The Friday Bookish Buzz: Curiouser and Curiouser =-.

  • Oh yes. All of these are wonderful reads, though I think Gatsby is my favorite. I am severely under read where the classics are concerned, but I am doing my best to rectify that now. Your choices were great, all fantastic books.
    .-= zibilee´s last blog ..Raven Stole the Moon, Review and Giveaway** by Garth Stein – 464 pgs =-.

  • Ah, THE GREAT GATSBY … definitely on the list! I’d add LITTLE WOMEN, too. And, like Softdrink, I’m not one for P&P. I’ve enjoyed many movie adaptations, and read the novel, but didn’t devour it; maybe I should give it another go.

    Enjoyed your guest post, Nicole!
    .-= Dawn – She is Too Fond of Books´s last blog ..Book Review: *The Opposite of Me* by Sarah Pekkanen =-.