Arts & EntertainmentSpotlight

Top five classics to read before you die

“’Classic.’ A book which people praise and don’t read.” –Mark Twain

Twain was right. Classic books receive praise left and right and are known world-wide by a variety of cultures.

Yet as many classic novels that exist around the world there are only a handful of people that actually take the time to read them in their entirety. So here is a little experiment for you. Ask a friend if they have read any book off this list, if they have read at least one then they are golden, if not dump them. Well, not really. This list is a continuation from the original “Top 5 Classics to Read before you Die” that was featured in the July issue of The Tacoma Ledger and is also included in my personal book blog “Bookstereviews.”

The first on the list is “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley which was published in 1932. This novel is based in the future, 2540 AD in the City of London. Issues such as power of authority and the rights of man are heavily acknowledged throughout the novel. It focuses on one man’s fight for survival in a world where technology has begun to reign supreme, even in matters such as reproduction and sleep. This novel will keep you in suspense right until the end as the line between what should be controlled and what should not becomes blurred.

Charlotte Bronte’s gothic drama “Jane Eyre” which was published in 1847 is based on the heroine Jane Eyre and her struggles against adversity as she maintains a job as a governess for a haughty and cold rich man. As time passes, Jane begins to shed her innocence and falls in love with her distant boss while unraveling secrets that are sealed in the cold walls of the mansions. Readers will admire the quiet strength Jane possesses and follow her struggle to the end.

“The Stranger” by Albert Camus which was published in 1942 is ripe with existentialist themes as the protagonist drags through life with a languid attitude and disregard for sentimentality. Nothing significant occurs in the first few chapters of the novel but towards the end a change of events signals a predicament in the life of the protagonist. This novel is quite atypical but in its uniqueness can be found a truly remarkable story of a young man who does not know his purpose in life thus remaining a staple in classrooms everywhere.

The true romantic classic “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen was published in 1813 and ever since Jane Austen has left a tremendous legacy of novels that are adored by so many readers. This novel is based on the famed character of Elizabeth Bennett and the struggles she faces to marry in a time when women became burdens on their families if they did not marry by a certain age. Her romantic affair with Mr. Darcy is the most beloved and known throughout the world and has been ever since the novel was first published.

The dystopian novella “Anthem” by Ayn Rand and was published in 1938. This novella is based in the future in which society is controlled by a hierarchy and men and women are separated. It delves into the struggle of a young man who defies the rules of society and runs away from the barriers of authority. This novella questions the rights of man and deals with issues of power. Aldous Huxley and Ayn Rand should get together and discuss their very similar novels.

Now take a moment and see if you have read any novels on this list or from the original “Top 5 Classics to read before you die.” If you have, congratulate yourself with a piece of cake, if not drive to the nearest place where books are sold and get readin’.