It's summer time and that means we all have a little more time on our hands. Whether it's sitting at the beach or having a long lunch break at a job, I think it's very important to read and keep the brain juices flowing.There is something so special about classic literature and how it can quickly transport the reader back into a world that is more similar to our own than one might think. I think those of us who don't have the opportunity to read these books for a class, need to sit down and let them open our minds. Bonus of these books? They usually cost no more than fifty cents at your local book store and usually end up in the clearance bin. Don't let their humble sale price fool you, they are all amazing stories with great lessons inside. Double bonus? Bringing up these books in a conversation make you sound super smart.
There are so many books that are classic examples of what a young person should read right now (and don't worry I'll be adding more soon) but these are the ones that top the charts.
1. The Return of the Native- Thomas Hardy
Real talk: this was the first book I read to completion in my high school AP Literature class. It's a classic romance that may turn the guys off at first but I promise it will keep you reading. Also, the name Eustacia is a quality name for future children and you can be sure it will be unique. If you are into confusing love triangles and social tension mixed with a wild haired, crazy hot witch lady who is making everything confusing, read it.
2. Wuthering Heights- Emily Bronte
I don't know about you, but when I used to think of this book, all I could think of was Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB) specials re-enacting this epic romance that I had always been told was so great. Well it is great. If you love a book about a rebellious woman and the exotic man she falls in love with, and how they tragically drift apart due to societal pressure, this is the book for you. Now I know that sounds stuffy, but this book packs a spicy little punch and still has implications that resonate in today's world.
3. Animal Farm- George Orwell
If the length of 1984 scares you, then the short and anything but sweet Animal Farm will do the dystopian trick. This book will give you some great insight into so many references in many other novels. It starts off as this seemingly sweet allegory of animals but leaves you stirred and questioning every bit of hierarchy as we know it. You get to love a novel that makes you cringe in such a unique way. Also, you will never see pigs the same way again.
4. Pride and Prejudice- Jane Austen
Yeah I know it's ridiculously cliche for a girl to tell you to read this book. Look beyond that. In the end, the story is about a girl that judges someone before she really knows them. Sure there is a love story and British society in the 1800's going on making it frilly and proper, but at its core, is a story of prejudice. I think in this day and age, we could all still stand to learn a little bit about understanding others.
5. 1984- George Orwell
I have to admit I have a weird soft spot for dystopian novels that present weird, extreme worlds in the future or on other planets. It makes you completely throw away everything you perceive as normal, so that you can see what is at risk when too much power is given to the wrong people. This book even has a dictionary in the back of "Ingsoc", the language of English socialism, and just reading that in of itself is fascinating. Take the time to read this and you will question everything you know about government and society in general.