Summer is the perfect time to get away or to take a break from the daily grind. Whether you find yourself at the beach, on a plane or a road trip, books are great companions and can transport you into another world.
One way to dive right into substantive reading is to catch up on some classic literature. You’ve probably read a few classic books when you were in school a while back and perhaps would like to revisit those books, or you haven’t had a chance to explore some must-read classics.
While reading War and Peace or Frankenstein, while lying on the beach probably does not sound appealing, there are other classics you can indulge in to make the most of your summer reading.
Here are five classic books to keep you company this summer.
This book was written in 1925 and follows the life of Jay Gatsby—who is young, handsome, mysterious, and wealthy. Although Jay has it all, he yearns for something he once had but will always be out of his reach. In his pursuit of happiness, he experiences lavish parties, bright lights, and love triangles—all things that make for a great summer read.
The story primarily revolves around Jay Gatsby and his unrealistic passion and obsession for the beautiful former debutante Daisy Buchanan.
F. Scott Fitzgerald brilliantly captures the disillusion of a society obsessed with wealth and status in this often cited “Great American Novel.”
Published in the United States in 1885, this classic is often considered one of the Great American Novels.
It’s a tale of a boy from a Mississippi River town, told in the first person by Huckleberry “Huck” Finn. He narrates his adventures as he travels down the river with a runaway slave who is seeking liberation.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is set in pre-war Southern society and is known for its flamboyant description of people and places along the Mississippi River.
Mark Twain tackles timeless and universal issues of prejudice, bravery and hope, and deep-rooted attitudes, particularly racism.
It has been criticized for its extensive use of coarse language and perceived use of racial stereotypes.
But that should not put you off from reading this great piece of American literature which is a direct sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
Another American classic, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a tale about an ambitious adolescent girl, Francie Nolan, and her family living in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York City. Living in the slums, Francie has to deal with the harsh realities of her life with endurance and strength of spirit.
The novel is split into five books, with each book capturing a different experience in the lives of the Nolans.
Betty Smith brilliantly transports the reader through this inspiring, heartbreaking, and an uplifting story filled with compassion, heartbreak, cruelty, laugher, and love—from the time Francie and her brother collect scrap junk to sell for pennies to when Francie prepares to move to Wisconsin to attend college.
The most poignant metaphor in this book is the Tree of Heaven, which always grows in the courtyard, regardless of whether it is watered or not.
One of America’s favorite books, Gone with the Wind was first published in 1936. Set in Clayton County in Georgia and Atlanta during the American Civil War Reconstruction era, this historical novel depicts the struggles of Scarlet O’ Hara.
Scarlet is the spoilt daughter of a well-to-do plantation owner, who finds herself in poverty and must do all she can to survive.
Margaret Mitchell’s epic tale of love and war gives rise to two unforgettable characters and star-crossed lovers—the irresistible Scarlett and the disdainful Rhett Butler—who are torn apart and brought back together in most unconventional ways.
The novel has been criticized for its controversial portrayal of slavery and African Americans and is written from the perspective of the slaveholder. But it serves as a reference point for scholars and writers and is firmly rooted in American pop culture.
The Portrait of a Lady is considered one of the most significant works of Henry James. It was initially released as a serial in the Atlantic Monthly magazine, and Macmillan’s Magazine and then got published as a novel in 1881.
The Portrait of a Lady is a story about a young American woman, Isabel Archer who travels to Europe for a grand tour. Here she rejects two marriage proposals and finds herself drawn to the irresistible American, Gilbert Osmond and marries him. But Isabel’s resolve to determine her own fate is her downfall as she falls victim to Machiavellian schemes and Osmond’s cruelty.
Regarded as a masterpiece, this classic novel explores love and betrayal in psychological detail, making it a top-selling classic even today.
Summer Ready with a Classic Collection
Now that you have five sensational classic books to choose from, all you have to do is sit back, relax and immerse yourself in some great literature which has touched the lives of many readers over so many years.
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