This post is a self-analysis of how I’ve appreciated the classics. (or not)
My inspiration is the post “The 100 best novels written in English: the full list“. The list is pretty impressive with each book title linking to a description of the book. At my time of reading, there were over 800 comments to the original article. When you create a list like this, you’ll only find agreement with yourself. Everyone has an opinion and a favourite that may or may not have made the list. And, of course, where it appears on the list can be subject to debate as well!
If nothing else, it answers the question “Why should we read this?”
I decided to go through the recesses of my memory and see which novels I’d read from that list.
- The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan (1678)
- Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe (1719)
- Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift (1726)
- Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (1818)
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (1847)
- Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (1847)
- Moby-Dick by Herman Melville (1851)
- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (1865)
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (1884/5)
- The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (1891)
- Dracula by Bram Stoker (1897)
- The Call of the Wild by Jack London (1903)
- Of Human Bondage by W Somerset Maugham (1915)
- The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald (1925)
- The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett (1929)
- Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (1932)
- The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler (1939)
- The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (1939)
- Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell (1949)
- The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger (1951)
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (1960)
- Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (1961)
- A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess (1962)
The rest? I’ll just wait for the movie to come out, I guess. I was actually quite impressed with the number that I had read, albeit a long, long time ago. I will confess that I have a copy of Dracula on my iPad at the moment.
Most of my recreational reading today is quite a bit more contemporary and, quite frankly, technical in nature. Who doesn’t like a good manual?
I would challenge you to go through the list and see how many you’ve read. Have you hugged an English teacher lately?