When I feel let down by the plethora of poorly written books flooding our book stores, I pick up a classic book to restore my faith in literature; and like chocolate ice cream, it never fails to make me smile. I challenge you to read or re-read these classic books before the Christmas trees go up at the end of the year.
- The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.
The narrator, Holden Caulfield, experiences a nervous breakdown after being expelled from school. He details his adventures from what is believed to be a sanatorium.
Quote: And I have one of those very loud, stupid laughs. I mean if I ever sat behind myself in a movie or something, I’d probably lean over and tell myself to please shut up.
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
Mrs. Bennet has five unmarried daughters and is desperate is see them get married because there isn’t enough family fortune to go around. Then comes Mr. Darcy, a rich, single man who takes a liking to the eldest daughter.
Quote: A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.
- 1984 by George Orwell.
Set in London, the story follows a man named Winston Smith who works for the Ministry of truth where history is distorted to fit the needs of an oppressive government.
Quote: Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered.
- Go Tell It On The Mountain by James Baldwin.
This is a raw tale of a boy, John Grimes, who doesn’t understand why his father hates him but loves his younger brother.
Quote: His mind was like the sea itself: troubled, and too deep for the bravest man’s descent, throwing up now and again, for the naked eye to wonder at, treasure and debris long forgotten on the bottom.
- Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.
This story follows the journey, growth and personal development of a young orphan in 19th century England.
Quote: Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but – I hope – into a better shape.
- Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad.
The story is centered around Marlow, a sailor, and his journey up the Congo River to meet Kurtz, a man reputed to have great abilities.
Quote: Going up that river was like travelling back to the earliest beginnings of the world, when vegetation rioted on the earth and the big trees were kings.
- Howards End by E.M. Forster.
The story revolves around three families in England—the Wilcoxes, the Schlegels, and the Basts.
Quote: Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human lovewill be seen at its highest.