Hello, everyone!

I remember being in middle school forced to read these dry old books that put me to sleep. I hated how it interfered with the current book I was reading and that the teacher told us what to think and learn from these books. It became quite distasteful and I mistakenly grew to resent literature. It was not until my senior year of high school that I decided to explore the classics for myself. When I read these timeless stories without any pressure, I grew to appreciate and eventually love classic literature.

This is a great list of ten classic novels for anyone who is looking to begin their journey in the classics!

10.) The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

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"I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.” -Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

Page Count: 244 pages
Difficulty: Moderate

The Bell Jar is a hauntingly beautiful story about a women's fight with depression. Plath's candid and open voice mixed with her lyrical writing style makes for a very compelling read. Depression is a difficult subject to write about, but Plath does it exceptionally well. The Bell Jar was realistic and so honest. I admire her for putting such personal feelings out into the world. It is courageous because many of the events in the Bell Jar are based off her own life.

9.) The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

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“They said they would rather be outlaws a year in Sherwood forest than President of the United States forever.”-Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Page Count: 225 pages
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Tom is the most mischievous yet lovable little boy in all of literature! This story is full of his many wild adventures and crazy childhood antics. To me, this book is like reading pure sunshine and you will not be able to help the perpetual smile that comes with this story. The only reason I made it easy to moderate in difficulty is because there is a bit of slang and somewhat uncommon words that may be a bit difficult to understand until you are accustomed to Twain's writing style.

8.) Emma by Jane Austen

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“If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more.” -Jane Austen, Emma

Page Count: 474 pages
Difficulty: Moderate

The first Jane Austen book that pops into most peoples' minds would be Pride and Prejudice. While I love P&P, I am not sure it is the best one to start with. The volume one was a struggle for me to get through the first go around. I thought Emma was a bit more entertaining and held a couple of surprises for me. Also, if you are a fan of the the '90s classic Clueless, they based the movie off of Emma.

7.) Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

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“Among other things, you’ll find that you’re not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior.” -J.D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye

Page Count: 277 pages
Difficulty: Easy

This book killed me. It really did. Throughout this book all I wanted was to give Holden a hug. He is a teen who decides to leave his prep school and hide away in New York for a couple of days. Holden struggles with the idea of growing up and losing his Innocence of childhood. Catcher in the Rye is also one of the most banned books in history due to its profanity and portrayal of sex in the 50's and 60's. So why not be a little rebellious and pick it up?

6.) Animal Farm by George Orwell

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“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” -George Orwell, Animal Farm

Page Count: 122 pages
Difficulty: Moderate

Orwell does a great job at making such a large and important topic clear and simple. Animal Farm is a scathing satirical tale of the Russian revolution and rise of communism. It is amusing and yet at the same time a bit chilling. You can see how this could happened in real life.

5.) The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

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"No sensible man ever engages, unprepared, in a fencing match of words with a woman.” -Willkie Collins, The Woman in White

Page Count: 672
Difficulty: Somewhat Difficult

The Woman in White is the book that really begins the genre of psychological thrillers. It starts with an eerie encounter on a foggy hill outside of London and ends in a dark morgue in Paris. What happens between those two conclusive events is up to you to find out! This book may take some time to get through and you do have to pay attention to details, but it is worth it! The whole book will keep you guessing and on your toes!

4.) Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

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“He felt that his whole life was some kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.” -Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Page Count: 193 pages
Difficulty: Easy

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is the first of five novels. Before reading this one, you must know it is absolutely ridiculous but great all the same! It is a hilarious account of Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect 's journey through space after the demolition of Earth. Why was Earth demolished, you may wonder? Read to find out! (It is kind of depressing but wonderfully ironic).

3.) Oscar Wilde

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“Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Oscar Wilde is the absolute reigning king of sass and sarcasm of the 19th century and therefore, you can pick up any of his work and be incredibly entertained. If you want something a little bit more serious, pick up his only novel, The Picture of Dorian Grey. My favorite plays of his are The Importance of Being Ernest and An Ideal Husband.

2.) Dracula by Bram Stoker

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“I am all in a sea of wonders. I doubt; I fear; I think strange things, which I dare not confess to my own soul.” -Bram Stoker, Dracula

Page Count: 488 pages
Difficulty: Moderate

For all those readers out there who have seen the movies and believe they already know the story of Dracula quite well, think again. The film adaptions of Dracula do very little of actually portraying the original story. This book has so many more layers and is full of suspense! It will be the perfect read for this October!

1.) The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas

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“How did I escape? With difficulty. How did I plan this moment? With pleasure.” -Alexander Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo

Page Count: 441 pages (for the abridged. That is the one you want to start with)
Difficulty: Somewhat Hard

Ladies and gentleman, this is the book that opened my eyes up to literature! Edmond Dantes is falsely accused and sent to prison for a crime he did not commit. He ends up escaping and plots his dark revenge. This book has betrayal, buried treasure, secret identities, kidnap, Italian bandits, murder, poison, and love. Honestly, what more could you ask from a book?

Thanks for Reading!

Feel free to send a postcard if you would like to talk more about the selections or books in general. Happy reading and I hope you enjoyed my little list!