My Favourite Classics

classics

I enjoy reading classics very much and I definitely have barely scratched the surface with the ones I have already read, but I’m excited to see what’s there still to discover. Classics are classics obviously because they are greatly written and contain a lot of important messages that were true to the time they were written but are still relevant today. I really like mixing classics in between of my reading list every now an again as they feel very grounding to me and in a way really comforting. Every classic I’ve read so far I’ve tremendously enjoyed, but these three have been my absolute favourites.

Victor Hugo: Les Misérables

This is probably the longest book I’ve ever read in my life and it’s actually one of the reasons why I enjoyed it so much. It took me quite a while to read this book and I definitely did read some other books at the same time as the writing of this book can be a bit heavy in points, but at the same time extremely beautiful. I especially love how Hugo writes about France as it is probably my favourite country even so it just makes me really happy. I actually found a specific quote that I had written down on my phone as an example when I read this book:

“The grandeur and beauty of France lies in this, that she cares less for the belly than other peoples; she knots the rope about her loins more easily. She is first awake, last asleep. She marches in the lead. She is a pioneer. That is because she is an artist.” 

The book is divided into five volumes that each focus on a certain character or the setting which I found really nice, as all of these characters bring a lot of depth to the plot and they all come together to form this absolutely beautiful and wistful story.

  • First there is Fantine, a young woman in love that is left alone while carrying a child and she really has to fight through her life before her sorrowful end.
  • The second volume focuses on Cosette, the child of Fantine who has been left to live with an innkeeper and his wife and treated miserably. She eventually finds happiness when rescued from the innkeepers.
  • Then there is Marius, a young man from a rich family that has gone off to Paris to seek more meaning to his life and works as a translator to earn his keep. He is involved in a revolutionary group called Les Amies de l’ABC and falls in love with Cosette the moment he sees her.
  • The fourth volume is named The Idyll in the Rue Plumet and the Epic in the Rue St. Denis, it outlines the romance between Marius and Cosette and involves action in the barricades as the spark of revolution is put in action.
  • The final volume is of course Jean Valjean, the main character of the book whose development from a prisoner to a generous, loving man has been followed through the previous volumes.

I think everyone knows how much misery is in this story as it can easily be guessed from the title. Nevertheless this book is stunning and I know that I shall be rereading this book many times during my lifetime. This book holds a really special place in my heart and it will always be one of my all time favourite books. I think it is has such an important message about morality, love and inequality especially, and we can still apply these messages to our lives today. Even though it is a time-consuming read, it’s definitely worth it!

Jane Austen: Emma

First I have to say that I absolutely love Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion, but somehow Emma just stands out for me from the three of them. I find Austen’s way of writing really eloquent and beautiful, and this book really heightens these qualities that I personally enjoy the most.

One of the reasons why I love the protagonist, Emma Woodhouse, is that she is quite an independent woman, who is not actively seeking a man and only living for a marriage, but instead she is willing to help other people to find love. Indeed, she even states at some point that she would be perfectly happy to not marry during her lifetime which I found to be quite a strong feminist message. Emma is also considered to be quite supreme compared to the other female characters, and is constantly praised to be very pleasant and intelligent, but it is still often questioned why she isn’t willing to marry. Even though the story focuses on Emma helping her friend Harriet to find a suitable man, there is still some kind of romantic plot for Emma too. Although her romantic feelings toward men are not explored much as she is trying to think what would be good for Harriet and not her.

I do love a good old-fashioned love story with this kind of a little hesitance and more of a mental rather than a physical attraction. I also enjoy the realisation that Emma has when she discovers her feeling towards a certain Mr. Knightley that has been in her life for a while. She has to question her original thoughts and values in order to figure out her true feelings which I found beautiful. Austen has done a great job of creating this strong female protagonist who isn’t just stone cold, and is able to explore her thoughts and feelings whilst doing the same to other people.

Austen’s books are like a safe place to me and I like to go back to them whenever I need a break from the real world. They have this really comfortable atmosphere that I enjoy and they convey a sense of tranquility from the era which makes me extremely happy.

Charlotte Brontë: Jane Eyre

This is the most recent classic that I’ve read, and I actually wrote about my thoughts on this book already in this post but I’m going to write a few words in this post too as it is one of my favourites.

As it might be clear, I adore a strong female protagonist and Jane Eyre is one of the greatest I’ve encountered so far. This book is all about independence and using brains instead of looks to achieve purpose in life which I absolutely love. There is also a really complicated but beautiful love story involved which again, is what I enjoy in a book. The book is all about personal development as a woman and especially during that time when it wasn’t really acceptable to be independent.

I definitely want to read more from the Brontë sisters and from other authors too that have written such beautiful classics as these three. As I said in the beginning, these are my favourites so far but I’m sure that my list will grow in size during the years.

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Recently Read #8

nightcircus

Erin Morgenstern: Night Circus

This book was just magical and it jumped straight into my top five books of all time. I don’t even know how to properly start describing this book as it left me with such peculiar feelings. First of all, I feel like Le Cirque des Rêves itself is the main character of this book. It definitely stands out as it is the main setting of the book and it is described the most in detail, and I feel like the reader gets a closer look on the circus than anything else. The concept of the circus is just mesmerising, I really enjoyed how the whole plot is tied around it and how it is manipulated through the story and made even more enchanting. I most definitely belong to the rêveurs in my heart now.

The main characters of the book are Celia Bowen and Marco Alisdair, two magicians competing against each other in a challenge that takes place within the circus. They have been trained in different circumstances and so are very different but in a way similar. I do love a good complicated love story and a little bit of a love triangle and this book introduces both of these within this story which I enjoyed tremendously. I also liked how the story just slowly unwinds rather than rushing to the climax. I personally enjoy reading really descriptive text and I feel like that is the reason I absolutely adore this book. The writing and description of this book is utterly beautiful and really catches the most intriguing details.

There were also a lot of important characters that played a massive part in organising  and managing the circus which was a great way to bring more depth to the story. I enjoyed how the plot didn’t only focus on the two main characters but introduced rather interesting side plots that sought the story together. I’m extremely fond of books that are situated in some past period in time and even though there were some inconsistencies in the mannerisms of the characters, I still loved the choice of period and that somehow made the story even more magical to me. I would also have hoped to get a little bit deeper into some characters’ thoughts and feelings as the characters seemed a bit too one-sided in parts and I feel like there could have been more character-specific exploration. Nevertheless, I absolutely adore this book and I’m glad that I finally got to read it.

Wardrobe Clear-out

clothes

For years I’ve been a dedicated consumer of many chain clothing stores which has led to a wardrobe on a verge of explosion. Lately though I haven’t been as keen on shopping as I was a few years back and also my thoughts and attitudes towards the fashion industry have changed as I’ve grown older. Nowadays I’m extremely interested in a more sustainable way of living and I’ve been gradually doing small changes in my lifestyle to develop my habits on the level of my thoughts and opinions.

I’ve wanted to sort out my wardrobe for quite a while now and I’m happy that I finally took action and did it. I basically went trough everything that I had and only kept the clothes that I actually do wear everyday and the rest of my clothes I donated to UFF or gave to my friends. I wanted to keep the remaining of my wardrobe quite minimal and only keep clothes that are versatile and go with a lot of other pieces. I also saved a couple of special occasion clothes such as fancy party dresses because those are needed always and sometimes in a short notice so having a couple comes in handy.

In the future when I buy clothes, I really want to invest in good quality pieces that are also made either domestically or otherwise ethically but still are true to my style. My style is actually quite timeless and classic as I don’t really follow the current fashion trends when it comes to my personal dressing, so it is quite easy to find such pieces that are durable. I feel like I’m not as attached to my clothes as I have been before and I’m okay with the fact that I don’t own a million different pieces of clothing anymore but only the ones that I absolutely adore and use that will also last for quite a long while. I’ve also improved a lot in taking care of my clothes in a proper way so that they will last longer and serve their purpose in the best possible way.

Secondhand shopping is a thing that I’d like to start doing more as that’s probably one of the greatest way to support sustainable consuming and I know that there is a lot of variety and good quality pieces available if I just look for the right places. I’m so excited to develop my relationship with a more sustainable living and actually  put my thoughts into action and live in a way that is better for the world.