Here are some classics that I love, and some I simply tolerated, but read for street cred. I will set some realistic expectations here that may have helped me enjoy the tolerable more.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Okay, this one is not lighthearted, and really there’s not much uplifting in here at all. However, it is extremely insightful and was certainly ahead of its time. It is dark, it is somewhat disturbing, and it may not be your fave… But it is worth the read, and the upside is that it’s not super long or HARD to read, it’s just not light and easy, nor is it fluffy or charming. It is challenging and it will make you think. It draws some very interesting parallels to our current society and it’s actually strange to look at some of what goes on in this book, written in the early 50s, and compare it to our present age. I loved that it made me think, but also that it was short. As much as I appreciated its paradigms, a hundred pages more would have made me downright bummed out about… well… everything. Follow it up with something a little hopeful. The end has a very far-off glimpse of hope, but still, pick up some light reading when you’re done with this one.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. Oh man, so many people would disagree with me on this one… But it is just such a beating. See that girl’s face on that cover art? That’s how I felt reading this book. Every time a main character of a book I’m reading goes on and on about Wuthering Heights (it happens often, especially in self-righteous YA novels where the female protagonist is a loner and writes or quotes or memorizes sad, weird poetry for FUN), I think, “PLEASE. Give it a rest. You know you would never read that for fun if you were real!” However, I am glad I can say that I read it, and I know that many, many, many people somehow love this sad, depressing, lonely book. I am just not one. (But, I also don’t love Anne of Green Gables which is the total opposite of lonely or sad… see how I waited to tell you this dark secret! It’s like a sucker punch, right?! I can’t help it. I have tried.)
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. See above… SO. MANY. PEOPLE. LOVE. THIS. BOOK. I don’t hate it, but it took me THREE tries to finally finish. The first half had me working hard. I wanted to love it, I wanted to be that person who carries around a copy in their purse for emergency downtime reading because I loved it AND it made me look smart and non-superficial (which is pretty superficial). But. I seriously did not like Jane for 75% of the book. And there are some strange plot twists… She is kind of a downer, and the last third of the book is just sort of crazy to me. By the end, after I ran a few victory laps around the backyard, slapped some high-fives with some strangers, and might have thrown the book across the room had it not been on my phone’s kindle app, I did feel some affinity for J.E. and was happy with the love story conclusion. I could have done without much of the bumming out, but again, glad to say I read it. I would not at all tell you to leave it behind, as I mentioned, there are a vast majority who would shun me and my blasphemy. Try it for yourself. If you can get through the first 75 pages, you are solid.
Dracula by Bram Stoker. Okay I know this is super weird, but this is one of my TOP favorites of all time! There is nothing super surprising to tell you about the main character. Dracula is exactly who you think he is. The story surrounding what you THINK you know, is what I loved. There is a cast of characters mostly unknown to those who haven’t read it or watched the movie versions. The way they are thrown together, the mysteries occurring in the first several chapters, and so many other intersecting details are completely gripping. Yes, it’s gothic, it’s dark, it’s totally a story about a vampire who does absolutely unholy things (insert the stressed face emoji here)… I loved it. #sorrynotsorry
War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells. Okay. We have all heard the story… Orson Welles read this over the radio and panic ensued. (Click on the book cover for the Wikipedia story of this) I wish I would’ve felt like the people listening to the radio version must have as I was reading it… I must admit to reading this LONG after the Weirdy-Tom Cruise movie version, which I happened to love. So, my expectations were to be thrilled, excited and totally gripped. Not even close. The descriptions of the aliens were confusing, I believe I may have even tried to draw them at one point so I could make sense of what he was describing! It was just sort of… meh. A little slow and sadly, I was, more often than not, bored. But I pushed through because I didn’t HATE it, and I had wanted to read it so much that I just couldn’t quit. This was another Serial Reader download, but I had a hard copy that I would pull out so I could move ahead and finish. Don’t discount it, but just proceed with a little lower expectations than a fast-paced, sci-fi thriller.