Top 6 Books To Ease You Into Reading Classics

Classics can seem a bit daunting. If you’ve picked up War and Peace and put it straight back down again, you’re certainly not alone. Classics aren’t for everyone, and that is totally fine. Absolutely no judgement about what you read here! But if you’re planning on dipping your toe into the water and reading some classics for the first time (or since love for them was bashed out of you at school), here are my recommendations.

I’ll give some tips for reading each one. When you start to read classics, the writing may well seem clunky; it might be tricky for you to get into the flow. But stick with it and you will reap the rewards!

Classics are great, but they do need special care and attention. Keep the TV off, pour a nice cup of tea and let yourself be immersed completely in these picks…

Dracula

Dracula was published in 1897, but it certainly doesn’t read like a book that is over 120 years old. It is creepy and full of character.

You will probably know some of, if not all of, the story (please be aware that the recent adaption does not follow the story particularly) – which is a bonus. You are already part of the way there!

The writing feels fairly modern, and it will keep you entirely hooked.

Pick up a copy here.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

If you like your novels with a healthy dose of smut (that’s probably most of us), you have Lady Chatterley’s Lover to thank. It was first published privately in 1928, but it wasn’t released fully in the U.K. until 1960. It had been subject to an obscenity trial which the publisher (Penguin) eventually won and the book sold 3 million copies.

This led the way for books to include more sex, and laid the pathway to the more open conversations we have today.

Aside from the historical importance, it’s also a great read when you’re new to classics. There’s a love story that will leave you wanting more, and you will continue reading to find the parts that caused it to be banned in the first place!

Pick up a copy here.

Wide Sargasso Sea

You will have heard of Jane Eyre, but as much as I love that novel, I’m not going to include it here.

Instead, I’m offering Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys. It is essentially a prequel to Jane Eyre and features truly compelling characters.

It’s a feminist and anti-colonial look at the back story to Jane Eyre, published in 1966. Light and superbly easy to read, I highly recommend this one.

You can read it here.

I Capture the Castle

If YA books are your jam, give I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith a try. The protagonist is a teenage girl living in a crumbling castle, and we join her on a journey of growth and learning.

This is a wistful book, full of charm. It was published in 1948 (and that is clear in the way the girls don’t have full autonomy over their lives), but is still resonant and funny today.

You can get a copy here.

Nineteen Eighty-Four

If you want to dip your toe into the classics, why not start with a novel that feels as though it was written today?

George Orwell’s dystopian novel, published in 1949, will feel eerily similar to present day as you read it. You’ll notice all of the resemblances and leave desperate to read more of his work (I’d suggest Animal Farm next).

Pick up a copy here.

The Diary of a Nobody

I included this in my 10 Uplifting Books to Read in 2021 blog post too – and that’s because it’s funny. Properly, rib-ticklingly funny.

It is the diary of a snobbish man, and describes all of the embarrassing and ignominious things he does. It was published in 1892, but it is still so, so funny today. Trust me on this one!

Get your copy here.

Have you read any of these? Or has my list made you want to? Let me know in the comments!

You might also be interested in:

Books To Look Forward To In 2021

10 Uplifting Books To Read In 2021

Top 10 Non-Fiction Books To Expand Your Mind

The Hellion – Harriet Young