Some novels are called classics for a reason – they have an ability to always have a reader who will identify with their characters, setting, or plot. They are eternal and they are the ones who stood out at the test of time.
Not all classics are the same. Some of them were sold immediately, but the other ones needed some time to be recognized as a masterpiece – even after their writer's lifespan.
Our list won't be long, so make sure to read all of these books! But don't hurry, you have plenty of time on you. Also, do not read them once – your view on them will change as you get older – that's the beauty in them.
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
This novel follows the life of Holden Caulfield in his 3-day, pre-Christmas adventures. Our protagonist, as well as the narrator, is a Pennsylvania prep school boy (from which he was expelled) who leaves his home in order to wander through New York City. As much as he is simple, he is a complex person to analyze. He is honest about his feelings and a little „more intelligent and serious“ for his age.
There are multiple things that stand out in this text, especially if you dig deep into it. For example, metaphorically looking, suitcases represent a symbol of someone's sociological status; then, there is Allie's baseball glove which tells us that Holden has experienced a tragedy in his early childhood. The rest of them are for you to figure out!
The meaning of the novel may be a search for ourselves and some kind of striving to find who we really are.
Given consideration of what Holden has gone through, you will find out why he wants to „save the kids from falling off the cliff near rye fields“. Give this book a try – especially if you are a teenager who has problems like Holden.
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
This is a realistic novel that is considered one of the greatest books of all time! After all, they are not wrong.
This novel, as much as people think is just a love story between Anna and Vronsky, and Levin and Kitty, represents the whole Russian culture of the 19th century. While it can be considered a sentimental novel, it also is a family, social, psychological, and philosophical novel.
Everything there is relatable today and probably will be relatable for the next decades. The rich language and ideas used in this book are indubitably one of the best ones ever written. There are many perspectives and you are able to share your own one (Make sure to share that with us in the comments)! Most importantly, there are A LOT of quotes and you will remember them for a lifetime.
Spoiler alert: I'll share one of them with you!
„I'm afraid!“And they could have said nothing more, if they had said only what was in their hearts. But life like that was impossible, and so Konstantin tried to do what he had been trying to do all his life, and never could learn to do, though, as far as he could observe, many people knew so well how to do it, and without it there was no living at all. He tried to say what he was not thinking, but he felt continually that it had a ring of falsehood, that his brother detected him in it, and was exasperated at it.“
Just a small recommendation: Read The Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky version, because it's the best in terms of maintaining Tolstoy's sentence structure and tone. Here's the link!
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
In this narrative about coming of age, Scout and her father, Atticus, are set in the severely prejudiced South. Readers get to witness Scout mature and Atticus battle for what's right as they both learn, grow, and make decisions about how to fight for what's right.
Readers adore the characters’ interactions, which convey universal truths and keep them interested from the first page to the last word in this tale of heroism and loss.
The book, which was first released in 1960, is now a standard in high school and college classrooms all across the United States, where it serves as a springboard for conversations about race, history, and justice.
Here are two of my favorite quotes:
“Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird.”
“The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience.”
The Father Goriot by H. De Balzac
Honore de Balzac had the intention to create several novels about the era and setting in which he lived, and to group them all together under the title “The Human Comedy.” He wished to speak on all significant issues pertaining to the French society to which he belonged.
One of the most well-known books from “The Human Comedy” is “Father Goriot.” This book's subtitle, “Scenes from Parisian Life,” brilliantly captures the essence of this locale. Aristocracy, wealth, love, success, and the need to stand out are all discussed in this book.
Balzac lived in France during a time of political unrest and social mixing between classes. At the time, social inequality was the greatest evil that the lower classes were powerless to combat. While the prestigious social strata luxuriated in balls, socializing, and all other perks of an aristocratic lifestyle, hunger and poverty prevailed across the majority of the nation.
Balzac described a tiny Mansion Vaquer whose owner was a widower Vaquer, combining all of those causes into various aspects of that society. The unifying factor among those who resided in the mansion was the wealth they possessed and generated. People were given rooms according to their ability to pay because the house had a social framework.
The common factor among those who resided in the mansion was the wealth they possessed and generated. People were given rooms according to their ability to pay because the house had a social framework.
This novel is a great example of meeting France more and trying to understand ourselves and our relationship with our parents. Is it all for money or not?
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
This well-known Gothic American novel provides insight into universal themes like the purpose of life and the fine boundary between good and evil. Young scientist Victor Frankenstein creates a creature that quickly grows beyond his control and causes events that young Frankenstein is powerless to stop. Despite his attempts to kill it, the scientist is forced to watch as his creation destroys the very things he loves.
Sadly, it is revealed that the creature craved the things that people need most—love and affection—but because of its strange look, no one was willing to give it the solace it so sorely needed.
Here's my favorite quote:
“Life, although it may only be an accumulation of anguish, is dear to me, and I will defend it.”
I'm not going to say a lot more except to recommend you read these – they have helped me to identify with the characters and learn what should I do in similar situations.
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*An article was prepared and written by Balša Kićović, Textual Content Creator.