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.