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Top 10 English Classics For Beginners

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Classics can be hard to get into. Most are written in a more ornamented language and use outdated words. Some are really long due to their publication in chapters or sections. Nevertheless, they are a vital part of literature so here are some of the easiest to start out with.


1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen (1813)

Any Jane Austen book can be put on this list and it would be a great start. Still this is the most known one to introduce you Austen's world. This book follows the character development of Elizabeth Bennet, the dynamic protagonist of the book. It is a story in which we learn we don't have to compromise our morals to fit in. The development in Elizabeth and the rest of the characters, especially Mr. Darcy is one that will inspire you. The premise of the book is widely known and the dilemmas the characters have will guarantee for a laugh.


2. Lord of the Flies - William Golding (1954)

The book opens in the middle of a war, with a group of boys finding themselves stranded on a deserted island with no adult supervision. The theme is the conflict between the human nature and savagery, and the rules of civilization. It gives us picture of what would happen if a group of young boys were left to live on their own outside society. This book is so much more than just an adventure story, coming at around 250 pages.


3. Animal Farm - George Orwell (1945)

Animal Farm is an allegorical novella that reflects the events leading up to the Russian Revolution in 1917. At first look in may look like a fable,, but you'll soon learn what makes this story such a thought provoking piece. Orwell shows us human behaviours in the simplest way possible. He gives animals human-like characteristics and ways of thinking, which helpes him portray the darkest of ideals. In the end it is a very entertaining book to read.


4. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte (1847)

Jane Eyre was a big breakthrough for the English novel. From the beginning it brings you into a very personal view of the story. Many believe it is one of the stories that brought the internal monologues and consciousness of the character as the main point of the book. The romance in the story is complicated, so you will find yourself conflicted at times of whether you wish for it to happen or not. But do keep reading as the moral at the end of the story will give you lots to think about.


5. Frankenstein - Mary Shelly (1818)

Written by the 18 years old Mary Shelley, Frankenstein is a story of scientific and the unknown. As the infamous story goes, a brilliant scientist goes beyond nature's rules. Not being able to face what he had created, he runs away in fear and disgust. The story does a good job at showing that not everything is at it seems. The real "monster" - well it may not be the dead person that was brought to life. This story will pull on your hearts strings more than once.

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6. A Study in Scarlet - Arthur Conan Doyle (1887)

An unusual choice right? To be complete honest any of the Sherlock Holmes novels could have make this list, but I'll put the first one. A detective unmatched in his skills of deduction, surveillance and intelligence. Almost everyone has heard of Sherlock one way or another which is what makes this book such a good place to start. The setting of a detective novel, the characters and world of the Victorian era are already known, so the only thing left is to figure out the mystery. Although not a the most known classic, it is one of the best to help you enter the intimidating world of classics.


7. The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde (1890)

A beautiful young man sells his soul for the price of agelessness, while a portrait of him marks his physical decay. Wilde’s first novel sees the purpose of life and whether the best way to experience everything is without any limits or boundaries. The story looks at morals, that every excess brings upon a punishment. Though in the end no way is the right way as it seems that no set of behavior is entirely safe with all the characters suffering.


8. Mrs. Dalloway - Virginia Woolf (1925)

The life of high-society woman in post-First World War England. The main protagonist Clarissa struggles with communication and throws parties in an attempt to draw people together. The fear of death and oppression are two constant themes in the story. This book will make you feel understood as it portrays very real dilemmas and fears. The characters feel like their are made of flesh and blood, the same with their emotions - love, fear, jealousy. Woolf's speciality is her sensitivity to what that her character's experiences and her ability to show and tell these though everyday language.


9. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens (1843)

A Christmas Carol tells the story of Ebenezer, an old man who transforms his ways after four ghostly visits one Christmas Eve. The book may seem like a children's bedtime story, but the historical context brings so much more. It's a quick and easy read even if you aren't familiar with the premise. Best time to read it is before or on Christmas, simply because of the atmosphere it evokes. This book still has relevance today which makes it one of the best classics to start with.


10. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll (1865)

Alice is a story that plays on logic and reality. The originality of this book, being one of the reasons its widely recognizable, make it a fun read. Alice's adventures parallel the journey from childhood to adulthood. She encounters many new situations in which adaptability is necessary for success. The story shows obstacles teenagers have in the transitioning period in form of games that she has to overcome using logic and rules of the world. The underlining themes of the book are much more recognizable when you read it as an adult, so its a great way to get into the habit of reading complex books.


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