Which Are the Top Classic Novels?
The classics of novels and fiction books can still teach us about love, legend, politics, history and many other aspects of life. Considering this fact, we have put up a list of the top classic novels that you must read.
- “To Kill A Mockingbird”, 50th Anniversary Special Edition, by Harper Lee
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There are many ways to describe his novel, such as being an anti-racist book, a historical drama of the Great Depression, a “coming of age” story and a sublime example of the Southern writing tradition. However it is called, one thing is for sure—it is a great novel all in all. When reading it, you might notice that it is not so gripping, but intriguing. If you have not read an actual American classic, then it would interest you, especially if you can relate to a Southern/Texas dialect, which the book uses.
You might also notice that this novel does not have a particular plot and just exploits judgment and name-calling, while praising those who have the courage to resist following a crowd. It seems like this book tries to relay the message that no matter what happens and no matter how much challenges you have gone through, you do not have the right to judge other people. Life is not there for you to get obsessed on trivial matters, so respect those around you, no matter the color, age, gender and background they have. As the author stresses out, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”
But if you happen to have read the older version that was printed in the 1970s, you would see that this newer version is strangely edited. There are bits that are cut out for no clear reason, which might cause you to think that the older version is far better. Footlights are changed to floodlights, and there are loads of misprints, as well, which do not appear in the older version.
- “The Great Gatsby”, Wordsworth Classics, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
This is generally considered by many people as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s finest novel, which is a devastating expose of the Jazz Age and a consummate summary of the “roaring twenties”. Through Nick Carraway’s narration, readers will be taken into the superficially glittering world of the mansions that lined along the shores of Long Island in the 1920s, to encounter Carraway’s cousin Daisy, her brash (but wealthy) husband Tom Buchanan and Jay Gatsby, plus the mystery that is surrounding him.
However, readers might fully appreciate this novel, which has a fantastic irony in its title, until you have read it from cover to cover.
- “Lord of the Flies”, by William Golding
- Great book!
- William Golding
- Penguin Books
- Edition no. Reissue (12/16/2003)
- Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
Think a plane crash on an uninhabited island, with the only survivors (a group of schoolboys) assembling on the beach and waiting to be rescued. During the day, they inhabit a place surrounded by dark-blue seas with brightly fantastic birds, but during nighttime, they would have dreams that are haunted by an image of a terrible beast.
In this first novel by Golding, he gives the traditional adventure story a devastating and ironic twist, with the boys’ delicate sense of order fades and their childish fears transformed into something more primitive. Their situation takes on a horrible significance, right before they turn into a tribe of murderous, faceless savages.
However, if you are someone who always likes some unexpected and wilder twists, you might not the book with only two likable characters. It is definitely good of a story with a good ending, but you might want it to develop into something better, like the characters turning into cannibals turning on each other, which show readers how scary and frightening would be deserted on an island.
First published in 1954, this novel is now considered a classic and one of the most celebrated modern fictions.
- “Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde”, Wordsworth Classics, by Robert Louis Stevenson
- Robert Louis Stevenson
- Wordsworth Editions
This novel tells a classic tale by addressing the duality in man’s nature and illustrating 12 atmospheric woodcuts by Barry Moser that underscore the original tale’s darkness and continue Moser’s legacy of bringing new life to classic stories. Among a few other titles, this is one that can blow you away with a pace that is really cracking. It charts the fracturing of Dr. Henry Jekyll when he created a medical powder that transforms him into a twisted and distorted version of the man he once was. Thematically, it also explores the repression of homosexuality and the dangers of drug use, with the most interesting part of the story being the reaction to Charles Darwin’s Evolution Theory and the symbolism used by Stevenson to make this point. Though this novel is quite modernist, it will be easily appreciated by reader, as it is very short and portrays Jekyll’s transformations straightforwardly.
But if you are familiar with the movie, you might find this version of a novel very different. While the film gives more attention to Jekyll, this book however focuses on the lawyer, Mr. Utterson, who is a friend of the doctor and fears that the evil Mr. Hyde is somehow blackmailing his friend.
- “Macbeth”, Wordsworth Classics, by William Shakespeare
- Wordsworth Editions Ltd
- William Shakespeare
- Edition no. annotated edition (08/05/1997)
- Paperback: 128 pages
This novel by Shakespeare is undoubtedly one of the greatest tragic dramas the world has ever known. The story follows Macbeth, a brave warrior, being impelled by his own burgeoning ambition, his proud wife and some supernatural forces. As he embarks on his murderous journey to retaining Scotland’ crown, readers will see the appalling psychological and emotional effects on both Lady Macbeth and himself, where the cruel ironies of their destiny are being expressed in poetry of unsurpassed power.
However, the play is clearly far better when it comes to royal entertainment, being a dramatically satisfying and fast-moving piece of theatre. The main character’s existential struggle between his ambition and loyalty to the king is more fascinating to watch, along with his struggle with his wife and her terrifying refusal of her maternal role. Compared to this novel, the actual play shows Shakespeare’s intensified interest in mothers and their impact on ruling masculinity.