More About These Classics
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I’m sure someone will come along and tell me that Excellent Women “isn’t that obscure,” but I’m trying to walk the line here between recommending something many people haven’t read or really even heard of and something that actually counts as a classic.
Barbara Pym has apparently been called the “20th century Jane Austen,” so if you’re looking for great characterization and social commentary in a more modern package, check out Excellent Women!
One of my college professors recommended this book as “one of the most romantic novels she’d ever read,” and it’s so true and so overlooked due to most people’s focus on Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. I do think the book opens a bit slowly, but once it gets going, it’s immersive. It would also pair well with reading North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell, due to the focus on the mill and labor issues (still romantic, though!).
So many people have called this book “life-changing,” and it’s so short, that it’s basically begging you to give it a chance and read it!
Eliot is probably best known for her incredibly long novel Middlemarch, but Silas Marner is short and sweet and a masterpiece in its own right, a story about family and what is most important in life.
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
The Count of Monte Cristo is long, very long, but also very worth reading all the way through in its unabridged glory! (I did this when I was in eighth grade, so I trust you can get through it all, too!). There’s a bit of mystery, a lot of drama, heaps of revenge. It will keep you turning the pages to find out what happens next!
Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong
Also an epic story grounded in history, the Romance of Three Kingdoms has action, myth, and more. Wikipedia claims there are more than 1000 dramatic characters, and what could be more sweepingly epic than that?