18 Classic Books You Didn’t Read But Should’ve

Posted by on Oct 5, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

photo-1439003768858-b7a3718981bdWe’ve all faked re
ading books, myself included. When you were in high school, or even in college or (hopefully not) grad school, there was something else going on or you were too tired or your mind just wasn’t focused enough or your favorite television show was having a two-hour special crossover event. Whatever the reason, you faked it and hoped it worked (it probably did).

The internet is filled with a ubiquity of information on these classics and you tell yourself eventually you’ll get around to reading them, but until you do, you’ll never be able to experience the amazing literature within them. These are a few books I’ve compiled that are most likely to be fake-read but shouldn’t be. There’s a reason these are classics.

The Scarlet Letter

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Puritanical ostracism isn’t just a funny joke in Easy A. If anything, the success of the Emma Stone-starring film is proof that Hawthorne’s masterpiece is still abounding with relevance. We all know the plot so I won’t spend time there, but this American Romanticist stylized melodrama is among the greatest you didn’t read, probably because it was too long, but if you look deeper into the text, you’ll discover that contemporary right-wing evangelical conservatism and ‘meninist’ body-shaming countering contemporary feminism may actually be closer to a neo-puritanism. Who’re our Hester Prynne and Arthur Dimmesdale? Let the metaphor lead you there.

Frankenstein

Mary Shelley

I won’t pretend non-partiality; this is probably my favorite novel of all time. It’s perfectly-crafted, the structure, superstructure, and characterization is fantastic. The joys of reading this novel knows no bounds. Considered to be the first science-fiction novel of all time, Shelley’s masterpiece isn’t just in how brilliant she is as storyteller, but also in how much this novel will make you question everything you knew about the rumors surrounding the copious amounts of adaptions of this book. Who is the real monster?

The Great Gatsby

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Finally, perhaps the most well-known novel in the English-speaking world. Fitzgerald’s third book isn’t just one you were asked to read and didn’t, it’s the one that you found the most information on online. So, it’s the one you most definitely didn’t read or started and didn’t finish. You may have told yourself oh, it’s small, there’s no way there’s much in here that I’m missing that the online study guides won’t tell me. Frankly, plot-wise, you’re probably right. This novel has a very simple, very straightforward plot. But Fitzgerald’s writing is the most poetic prose you will ever get the opportunity to read. He’s writing this novel coming off of the success of his debut This Side of Paradise and his second novel The Beautiful and Damned, both of which were roaringly successful portrayals of the modern world but viewed critically as just ‘too long’. The development of Fitzgerald’s style from Paradise to Gatsby is magnanimous and, in a perfect world, you should read all three in chronological order. He becomes more succinct, his poetry becomes more precise, and his writing by the time of Gatsby is so pristine, you’ll be reveling in every single word, not wanting to miss a single letter.

There are so many others you didn’t read and should have. Just know that there is a reason these books are widely considered the greatest. Here are a few more you probably didn’t read but definitely should:

The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde

Mrs. Dalloway, Virginia Woolf

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad

The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger

1984, George Orwell

To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee

Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston

Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck

The Stranger, Albert Camus

Lord of the Flies, William Golding

Paradise Lost, John Milton

Hamlet, William Shakespeare

Dracula, Bram Stoker

Great Expectations, Charles Dickens


P.T.StoneP.T. Stone is a student at Clemson University studying English and Philosophy. He is an avid writer of poetry and prose, a composer, a frequent Facebook ranter, and a pure-bred digital generation brat. He is finishing his first novel, flowers with no petals, and has literary blogs here and here. When he isn’t trying to become famous writing, acting, or singing, Preston can be found chasing fluffy kitties to use as pillows while they purr or Instagram stalking Lady Gaga.

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