1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
No classics list for me would be complete without Jane Eyre. The story is a timeless one, and it resonates with
Jane Eyre (Photo credit: Valerie Reneé)
readers today as much as it ever has done. Bronte’s writing is beautiful, and the characters and settings she crafts are marvellously lifelike. Jane Eyre is at the peak of the classics list for me, and I’m sure I shall read it many more times in future. It stands to reason that many film versions have been released of the book, and I feel that Bronte is as popular as she deserves to be.
2. Middlemarch by George Eliot
I studied English and History at University, and as George Eliot was a relatively local resident to the city, my Humanities building was named after her. Middlemarch was the first of her novels which I read, and I was blown away by it. The sense of place and time which she builds up is truly stunning, and I felt as though I was right beside the characters as they lived their lives. As a social and political study of the 1800s, you cannot get much better than Middlemarch.
3. Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
I adore Hardy’s writing style, and his descriptive passages are rarely equalled in literature. Tess of the d’Urbervilles is not a happy book by any means, but it exemplifies the hideous poverty which many had to live through. Tess is a lovely character on the whole, and she is also incredibly memorable. This novel proves a marvellous introduction to Hardy’s writing.
4. The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
I find Wilde fascinating, both as an author and a singular figure. He was such an exuberant and witty character, and this shines through in everything he writes. Many are familiar with The Importance of Being Earnest from various film versions and theatre performances, but I feel that the best way to appreciate the play is in its original form. Wilde’s writing sparkles, and his characters are simply superb.
5. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
As far as I am concerned, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is a timeless book, much like the aforementioned Jane Eyre. I have read it countless times, yet still find it utterly magical. Carroll’s imagination is stunning, and the many film versions of the book – yes, I have seen lots of them – have made such wonderful use of the original material.