If you want to get into the classics but you go into a bookshop and are horrified by the thought of attempting to get into Dickens or War and Peace, these are some good books to start with. There are plenty of classics that aren’t too daunting, but here are a few suggestions from a mixture of time periods and genres.
Jane Austen – This isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but if you like a good period drama, it might be worth giving an Austen novel a go. Pride and Prejudice is probably the most famous, but there are also Sense and Sensibility, Northanger Abbey, Emma, Persuasion and Mansfield Park.
Around the World in Eighty Days – Don’t go into it expecting it to be like the Jackie Chan film which, while keeping the basic plot, embellished it rather dramatically.
Frankenstein – The ‘myth’ of Frankenstein’s monster has changed and developed so much over the years that most people don’t know the original story. It is a surprisingly easy read.
The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde – I didn’t realise how short this is before I purchased it, at around 70 pages.
20th Century Classics:
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – You may have read this as a child, but if you haven’t it isn’t too late to delve into the imaginative and quirky world of Lewis Carrol.
The Bell Jar – Probably the most famous novel on depression and an incredibly important book in the history of mental illness in literature.
Arthur Conan Doyle – Sherlock Holmes is the most famous detective around. Doyle wrote four novels and many short stories centred on the famous detective. These books are very easy to read and the mystery keeps you hooked. The published order of his novels are: A Study in Scarlet, The Sign of Four, The Hound of the Baskervilles, and The Valley of Fear.
Agatha Christie – Some of the best are considered The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, And Then There Were None, Murder on the Orient Express, and The ABC Murders, but there are plenty of them to choose from.
Fahrenheit 451 – This novel imagines a world in which books are burnt and although not as well-known as 1984, is a captivating and thought-provoking read.
Animal Farm – A political and satirical novella, this is a must read if you are interested in the classic science fiction genre.
(other science-fiction choices: 1984, Brave New World, Flowers for Algernon)