Book Lists

Classic Books On My Bucket List [and why i want to read them]

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is a create your own, and I am really excited to what everyone comes up with! I might just link a few of my favourites below. I planned to read more classic this year and haven’t read as many as I wanted, so I’m hoping this post gets me finally picking them up.

Pride And Prejudice – Jane Austen

The only thing in the world that matters to Mrs Bennett, is marrying all five of her daughters to rich, landed gentlemen.

So when two wealthy young gentlemen move to town, she vows that at least one of her daughters will marry into their fortunes.

Jane and Elizabeth, her eldest daughters, soon discover that love is rarely straightforward and is often surprising. Because, surely that sullen, quiet, mysterious Mr Darcy can’t be more than he seems… can he?

Why I Want To Read It: I’m a huge fan of the brooding mysterious stranger trope, and have seen Pride And Prejudice with Keira Knightley multiple times, and the zombie version! But I’ve never read it, so I’m curious if it will change my perception of it.

The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald

Young, handsome and fabulously rich, Jay Gatsby is the bright star of the Jazz Age, but as writer Nick Carraway is drawn into the decadent orbit of his Long Island mansion, where the party never seems to end, he finds himself faced by the mystery of Gatsby’s origins and desires. Beneath the shimmering surface of his life, Gatsby is hiding a secret: a silent longing that can never be fulfilled. And soon, this destructive obsession will force his world to unravel.

Why I Want To Read It: It often feels like The Great Gatsby is the 1920s, whenever I see flapper dresses and short hair, inevitably there is some reference to this book. I have a huge fascination with the 1920s and I want to finally understand why it’s referenced so much.

Orlando – Virgina Woolf

 Spanning three centuries, the novel opens as Orlando, a young nobleman in Elizabeth’s England, awaits a visit from the Queen and traces his experience with first love as England under James I lies locked in the embrace of the Great Frost. At the midpoint of the novel, Orlando, now an ambassador in Constantinople, awakes to find that he is now a woman, and the novel indulges in farce and irony to consider the roles of women in the 18th and 19th centuries. As the novel ends in 1928, a year consonant with full suffrage for women. Orlando, now a wife and mother, stands poised at the brink of a future that holds new hope and promise for women.

Why I Want To Read It: Not Tilda Swinton being iconic on three different book covers? I stan an iconic Queen. AI also want all of these book covers, plus the forth she’s also on. I want to read this because I am trans (non-binary), and the discussion of gender and gender roles in classics is hugely appealing to me.

Wide Sargasso Sea – Jean Rhys

Wide Sargasso Sea, a masterpiece of modern fiction, was Jean Rhys’s return to the literary center stage. She had a startling early career and was known for her extraordinary prose and haunting women characters. With Wide Sargasso Sea, her last and best-selling novel, she ingeniously brings into light one of fiction’s most fascinating characters: the madwoman in the attic from Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. This mesmerizing work introduces us to Antoinette Cosway, a sensual and protected young woman who is sold into marriage to the prideful Mr. Rochester. Rhys portrays Cosway amidst a society so driven by hatred, so skewed in its sexual relations, that it can literally drive a woman out of her mind.

Why I Want To Read It: The last two years I’ve been learning that every classic book I love is problematic, and Jane Eyre might just be one of the worst. I learnt from a documentary the true story of Rochester’s first wife, the “Madwoman In The Attic”, who was in reality, a black girl from the Caribbean, sold into marriage to Rochester. It really paints Jane Eyre in a very different light.

Tess Of The D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy

When Tess Durbeyfield is driven by family poverty to claim kinship with the wealthy D’Urbervilles and seek a portion of their family fortune, meeting her ‘cousin’ Alec proves to be her downfall. A very different man, Angel Clare, seems to offer her love and salvation, but Tess must choose whether to reveal her past or remain silent in the hope of a peaceful future.

Why I Want To Read It: I own a copy. That’s basically the only reason! I had a Bookishly subscription and they send classics out randomly, so I didn’t know what I was getting. I believe I’ve seen the BBC TV Series with Gemma Arterton and it was the most depressing story I’ve ever heard, so… I’m not looking forward to this.

Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

A thrilling tale of narrow escapes, romance in the midst of a revolution, and battlefield heroism, Victor Hugo’s sprawling 1862 novel focuses on the Parisian underworld. Ex-convict Jean Valjean, who served 19 years in prison for stealing bread, attempts to redeem his life by helping the downtrodden. But his every move is dogged by the implacable policeman, Inspector Javert, whose relentless pursuit of a reformed criminal reflects a morally empty state that values retribution rather than justice.

Why I Want To Read It: Because I enjoy torturing myself? We all know I’ve seen the musical versions 600 times, and can name most of the West Actors and the parts they played. I also enjoyed the movie. Sue me. I feel like at this point I should read this, despite it being 1400+ pages. Honestly I could make it a blog series it’s so long.

Frankenstein – Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley began writing Frankenstein when she was only eighteen. At once a Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of science, Frankenstein tells the story of committed science student Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts but; upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature’s hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator, Frankenstein.

Why I Want To Read It – Mary Shelley is a feminist icon, and I accidentally stumbled on her grave when I visited Bournemouth last year. I had no idea she was there! I’ve read Jeckyll and Hyde, now I need to read Dracula and Frankenstein.

The Catcher In The Rye – J. D. Salinger

Holden Caulfield is a seventeen- year-old dropout who has just been kicked out of his fourth school. Navigating his way through the challenges of growing up, Holden dissects the ‘phony’ aspects of society, and the ‘phonies’ themselves: the headmaster whose affability depends on the wealth of the parents, his roommate who scores with girls using sickly-sweet affection.

Why I Want To Read It: I saw this referenced at the top of Loveless, and then Perks Of Being A Wallflower in the same week, so I took it as a sign from the book gods that I should go and buy a copy. I don’t question the book gods.

A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess

In Anthony Burgess’s influential nightmare vision of the future, criminals take over after dark. Teen gang leader Alex narrates in fantastically inventive slang that echoes the violent intensity of youth rebelling against society. Dazzling and transgressive, A Clockwork Orange is a frightening fable about good and evil and the meaning of human freedom. This edition includes the controversial last chapter not published in the first edition, and Burgess’s introduction, “A Clockwork Orange Resucked.”

Why I Want To Read It: My favourite genre of film, if it counts as a genre, is cult classics – and A Clockwork Orange is no exception. Malcolm McDowell’s Alex is so iconic, it’s unsurprising that modern filmmakers have not attempted to remake this. I want to see if the Alex on the pages matches the Alex on the screen.

Lord Of The Flies – William Golding

At the dawn of the next world war, a plane crashes on an uncharted island, stranding a group of schoolboys. At first, with no adult supervision, their freedom is something to celebrate; this far from civilization the boys can do anything they want. Anything. They attempt to forge their own society, failing, however, in the face of terror, sin and evil. And as order collapses, as strange howls echo in the night, as terror begins its reign, the hope of adventure seems as far from reality as the hope of being rescued. Labeled a parable, an allegory, a myth, a morality tale, a parody, a political treatise, even a vision of the apocalypse, Lord of the Flies is perhaps our most memorable novel about “the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart.”

Why I Want To Read It: Speaking of Cult Classics, I also love Battle Royale and Lord Of Flies is often mentioned in discussions about that, as well as The Hunger Games. It seems as if this book is the origin of both stories, so of course I want to read it.

Let me know your most loved/hated classic book in the comments below!

47 thoughts on “Classic Books On My Bucket List [and why i want to read them]

  1. I’ve either read all of these or they’re on my tbr, as well! LOVE Pride and Prejudice, The Great Gatsby, and Wide Sargossa Sea! Catcher in the Rye and The Lord of Flies are also very good. Happy Reading!

    Liked by 1 person

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