Five classics you should read before you die

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Growing up I was never a fan of the classics, but when I went to university I decided I’d give them another go.

So while most first years were out partying every night I was cooped up inside reading (this did not last for long).

I read over a book a week in my first year of university and tried my best to get through as many classics as possible but Wuthering Heights is still a struggle for me.

Here I am, four years on and struggling to find time to read.

I am packing to move to my new place and I found my collection of classics that I bought during that first year and I thought I’d share five of my favourites.

1. PRIDE AND PREJUDICE – JANE AUSTIN

This is probably my all-time favourite book. It’s cliché, I know, but it’s the first classic I ever read.

The Jane Austin classic follows the journey of Elizabeth Bennett who is forced to learn the repercussions of making hasty judgements.

This romantic novel has many twists and is beautifully written.

As a child I idolised the character of Mr Darcy and I remain a massive fan off the Colin Firth adaptation.

The novel was so popular that former novelist PD James wrote a spin-off to the classic called ‘Death Comes to Pemberley’ (another book I’d recommend).

2. LORD OF THE FLIES – WILLIAM GOLDING

Lord of the Flies is a rather brutal novel where a group of British children get abandoned on an island where they attempt to govern themselves.

The novel is cleverly written. It has two levels, the first being the basic plotline and the second being the philosophy interpreted by author William Golding.

It’s a tale of the state of nature at its finest and has often been linked to the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes.

It’s very easy to read and enjoy.

3. ANIMAL FARM – GEORGE ORWELL

I was forced to read this book several times at school and with each read I liked it more and more.

It is SO much better with an understanding of Russian history.

I love allegories (stories with more than one meaning) and when there’s another layer to a story I enjoy learning about the context.

Animal Farm could be read as a story about animals who look to overthrow humans and then install a hierarchy or it could be depicted as a reflection of Soviet Russia with the recurring theme of communism.

If you haven’t read the book then I definitely recommend looking up history surrounding the Russian Revolution before reading this George Orwell classic.

4. OF MICE AND MEN – JOHN STEINBECK

Again, this is another book I read through school but I have re-read since.

This novella follows the journey of two migrant workers who move from place to place during the Great Depression.

John Steinbeck introduces the two main characters early on where it is established that George plays a parental role to Lennie who suffers from a developmental disability.

The book is based on the concept of the American Dream and its importance to Americans.

Steinbeck tugs at your heartstrings in this gut wrenching novella.

5. GREAT EXPECTATIONS – CHARLES DICKENS

What would a list of classic books be without a mention of Charlies Dickens?

He’s certainly one of the best authors to have ever lived and I have chosen Great Expectations to prop up my list.

Great Expectations is a complicated story but it’s easy to buy into the characters.

Pip is the main character who comes from a poor background and wants to make something of himself only to face many set-backs along the way.

If you’re into descriptions then this is a masterpiece. It’s not hard to close your eyes and imagine the story taking place.

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