Five Classics Everyone Should Read

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Everyone has heard of the “classics” of literature: the Shakespeare plays, the transcendentalist poems, the twentieth century science fiction novels.  Most of the younger generation dislikes these selections because they are the perfect candidates for school assignments; however, it isn’t a horrible idea to at least educate yourself about a few of these works; there are a few books out there that are universally known, and if they come up in a conversation, you should probably be semi-familiar with their plots.  Besides, despite common opinion, not all of these books are complete bores-- you might even get hooked on them! So grab a dictionary, a pair of reading glasses, and get ready to delve into the classics.

Jane Eyre// yes, it’s one of those lovely Victorian-era works written by a woman with a pseudonym.  Yes, it’s one of those novels that protests gender-roles and women’s lack of rights.  Yes, it’s a die-hard romance novel, and yes, if you can get past the vocabulary, it’s a book with an intriguing plot and characters you’ll love.

Of Mice and Men// you might have already read this book in one of your classes, and whether you enjoyed the book or not, you have to admit that the ending is a real tear-jerker.  If you haven’t read this (relatively short) novel, go and grab a copy; after reading, you’ll finally understand all of pop culture’s off-hand references to the story.

Unbroken// this story is a pretty new compared to many other classics, but it has quickly become a staple in American literature.  It relates a World War II tale of uncompromising strength and sacrifice, as well as highlights aspects of the Pacific theater that are often skipped over during history class.

The Great Gatsby// come on.  You know you want to read this classic, if only to snap a picture of the unique book cover.  Take a peek into the story to read about the lives of high society during the twenties, and put real meaning into the phrase: “Party like Gatsby.”

The Diary of Anne Frank// whether you’re a World War II buff or not, you need to read Anne’s diary.  It is a remarkable account of how a girl had the ability to deal with becoming a teenager (something that we all have to deal with) in the most unconventional environment.  The fact that her diary functions not only as a narrative of the Holocaust but also as a coming-of-age story makes it a wonderful read.

You may not ever enjoy summer reading assignments or pouring through medieval literature, but you can become just a little more educated and aware by leafing through a few classics.  So the next time you’re near a bookstore, pick up one of these great reads!