When we say this has been the hardest list ever to make, then trust us we mean it. There are so many classic novels and they are all significant in their own way. Salute to Jack Edwards for making videos on best classics, because we could never decide which books to add and which ones to leave. Classics might be boring and difficult to follow for some readers. And more so, if you are someone whose first language isn’t English. But, if you try enough, you will develop a liking for these books.
There are several adaptations of some of these books mentioned below. So, even if you can’t read the books, you can still enjoy the stories on screens. PSA, these are just a few books that we have selected, but there are certainly more books out there. In case, you have read all of these, we’d suggest you wait for us to bring another list. But, if you haven’t, then these books are great for beginners.
Also Read: 100 Greatest TV Shows Of All Time!
The Great Gatsby
One of the greatest classics of 20th-century literature, The Great Gatsby is in our opinion the best book to get you into classics. For one, it’s super short. Secondly, it’s about love and the American Dream. And last but not least, you might have already guessed, it’s set in the Jazz Age. Jay Gatsby is in love with Daisy Buchanan but when he meets the woman again, things aren’t quite the same as they should have been. Though there are particular controversies regarding the author and the book, we still highly suggest that you read this book because it’s rather exceptional.
The Picture Of Dorian Gray
Imagine the worst man and now, multiply it by hundred times and that man would still be better than Dorian Gray. In simple words, the book follows Dorian Gray who befriends people who are bad for him or is the other way, we can’t really decide. We are still at war when it comes to determining whether Gray was actually naïve or not, but we do know that what he did was insane.
Dorian is obsessed with his beauty which is seen throughout the book. It’s a daring book if we might say so because we humans are evil and obsessed with outer beauty just like Gray is. Also, it’s not a major spoiler because you will see it coming, but that ending was totally evil and horrifying.
Pride And Prejudice
Before we begin, we would like to take a minute to bow down before this masterpiece. One way or another, you must have watched the P&P movie or at least have heard about it. It’s been years since this classic novel was written, yet it remains one of the highly recommended books. Darcy and Lizzie have been serving the ultimate “enemies to lovers” trope, and it’s done so well that it deserves all the hype.
It might be a bit difficult to understand this book, and readers often find the book boring, but once you are halfway through the book, you will absolutely want to know what happens. Darcy is THE MAN when it comes to proving that you love someone to the point that you are willing to change for them. He might have been ridiculously judgmental when it came to Lizzie’s wealth, but other than that, Darcy had been a kind man who also had a way with words.
Elizabeth is an opinionated woman, while Darcy is a proud man. Upon their meeting, they quickly form an opinion of the other. When they keep finding each other in their paths, a romance [read teenage angst] ensues.
The Kite Runner
Honestly, we would never recommend this book to anybody, not even our worst enemy. Even as we are writing this, we can feel our hearts getting heavier, and we are not exaggerating. In our dictionary, this book is the actual definition of heartbreak. This book took the “daddy issues” to a level we didn’t know existed.
Amir is a 12-year-old boy desperate to win the local kite fighting tournament. His loyal friend, Hassan, helps him in this tournament. But on the day of the tournament, something happens that changes them as well as their friendship.
This book is so honest and innocent in the way it tells the story, if you can handle severe emotional distress, then you should read this book.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
William Shakespeare gives us big sad-emo-boy vibes, and if you like drama, then this is your book. This book follows Demetrius and Lysander, who want Hermia. Hermia wants Lysander. Hermia’s father wants Hermia to marry Demetrius. There is too many “want” but bear with us because it’s about to get dramatic. H
ermia and Lysander decide to flee. Demetrius accompanied by Helena, follows them. Oberon and Titania are fighting over a servant boy. On Oberon’s order, Puck finds a flower, the juice of which can cause people to fall in love. But things go terribly wrong when Puck uses the juice on the wrong people.
This book is written so poetically, and it’s also short, so if you are looking for another classic book for beginners, then you should definitely choose this.
Harry Potter [Series]
There’s hardly anyone alive who hasn’t heard of this boy. Harry Potter thinks he is just an ordinary boy, stuck with his relatives who aren’t kind to him. But, when he receives the letter [the letter we all have been waiting for] from Hogwarts School Of Witchcraft, his life takes a turn for the best, and worst too. J.K. Rowling did wonders writing this book, sad that she’s another problematic author. Harry Potter is magical, and this book will make you fall in love with wizards and wise witches.
The Bell Jar
Esther Greenwood is a brilliant, beautiful, and also enormously talented, and successful woman. But, she is slowly going under; she is breaking down, hopefully for the last time. The Bell Jar is written in such a way that her insanity becomes real and rational. It provides a deeper look into the dark and harrowing corners of the psyche, hence bagging a place for itself as one of the most haunting American classics.
The Color Purple
This book depicts the lives of African American women living in rural Georgia in the early 20th century. Celie and Nettie are sisters separated as girls, but they still sustain their loyalty to each other. Over twenty years, they write letters to each other, and Celie writes to God. This book breaks the silence around domestic and sexual abuse, giving a voice to women’s pain, struggle, resilience, and bravery.
The Handmaid’s Tale
Offred is a Handmaid in the republic of Gilead who is only valuable if her ovary is viable. But before her life forced her into this situation, she lived a life where she had a job, loved her daughter, and enjoyed playing with her. She had a loving husband and access to knowledge. She had a life, a name, she was someone. But all of that is gone now because she has been forced to become a Handmaid. She must “make love to the Commander,” hoping he makes her pregnant because it’s an age of declining births. This book is a satire and as a human, you must read it.
The Lord Of The Rings [Series]
The Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven smiths in ancient times. Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the One Ring. He filled it with his own power so that he could rule everybody. But, then, the ring was taken from him suddenly. Although he sought the ring throughout Middle-Earth, he couldn’t locate it. Several years later, this ring falls into the hands of Bilbo Baggins, who assigns his younger cousin Frodo to take care of it. Frodo must embark on a journey to destroy the ring to stop the Dark Lord and his evil purposes, but will he succeed it or not?
To Kill A Mockingbird
The book chronicles a man who defends a Black man falsely accused of raping a white girl. Jem and Scout live with their widowed father, Atticus Finch. Atticus is a middle-aged lawyer who gets appointed by Judge Taylor to defend Tom Robinson, the man accused of raping Mayella Ewell, a young white woman. This classic deals with racism and the coexistence of good and evil.
As the title suggests, the book is about animals and farms. A farm has been taken over by its overworked and mistreated animals. They set out to create a better place full of progress, justice, and equality. Today, Animal Farm has become a masterpiece conveying a message that is still ferociously fresh. It’s a satire that is still relevant to date and must be read at least once.
This book basically follows an orphaned boy named Pip and his education. He dreams of becoming a gentleman and the book includes three stages of his expectations. In the first stage, he is about seven years old, then in the following stage he is setting up a house in London, and in the last stage, he stops taking Magwitch’s money. A phenomenal book about acceptance and rejection, this should be read at least once as well.
The Little Prince
The book follows a young boy who is nicknamed “the little prince”. He has golden hair and a really lovable laugh and he has a tendency to repeat his questions until they are answered. The prince meets the narrator in a desert and tells him his life story. As days pass, the narrator learns his story until the day they have to bid goodbye.
Anne Of Green Gables
Anne Shirley is an 11-year-old orphan girl who is fanciful, imaginative, and eager to please. She is mistakenly sent to Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert. The middle-aged siblings intended to adopt a boy to help them on their farm, but after some consideration, they let her stay. Quickly, she adapts to living in Green gables, and the book follows her journey as she attends a school, makes friends as well as her rivalry with Gibert Blythe.
Humbert works as a teacher of French literature. He is looking for a place to stay and when he finds a house, he initially intended to decline the offer. But, when he notices the 12-year-old Dolores sunbathing, he agrees to take the house instantly. In Dolores, he sees the perfect “nymphet” the embodiment of his old love, Annabel who is now dead. Later, he becomes her stepfather by marrying Charlotte. A dark and twisted book for sure, this book follows Humbert and his “sexual urges” that he fulfills through young girls. It also includes a forbidden relationship between the stepfather and the stepdaughter.
A naïve young woman who remains unnamed in the book marries a wealthy widower, but she worries she will never be able to replace her. When she moves into his place, she discovers that the house and the man both are haunted by his dead wife, Rebecca, and her memory. She feels that everybody is constantly comparing her to Rebecca. As she slowly learns the truth about the man and his dead wife, things begin to make sense for her, and she is shocked upon hearing the truth.
Flowers For Algernon
Algernon is a laboratory mouse. He has undergone surgery to increase his intelligence. Charlie Gordon is a middle-aged, mentally disabled man. He takes part in an experimental procedure that aims at increasing intelligence. The man is set on getting smarter, not shying away from hard work, but as he undergoes this process, he will be changed for better or for worse.
Memoirs Of A Geisha
The book Memoirs Of A Geisha follows the story of a girl who is named Nitta Sayuri and her transformation from a poor fishmonger daughter into one of the most sought-after geisha in her country. She faces many trials on her path to becoming and working as a geisha in Kyoto, Japan. The story follows her journey before, during, and after World War II.
Gregor Samsa is a salesman who wakes one morning to find himself transformed into a huge insect. He struggles to adjust to his new condition while pondering the consequences of this particular metamorphosis. He is stuck on his bed, believing this change to be temporary, and as he lives day by day in this situation, he begins to see the true colors of the people around him.
Also Read: A Guide To All The Books By Taylor Jenkins Reid That Are Getting Adapted