Hello, dear readers.
I’m currently busy with university work (mainly funding applications) so I thought I’d just do a really quick post today instead of the review I had planned.
If you didn’t already know, I’m a huge fan of classic books. I try to read as many as I can every year and I almost always end up re-reading my favourites. However, this year I’m aiming to read at least 12 classic books that are new to me. I’d love to read even more if I can but I think that 12 is a reasonable number.
So, I thought I’d share the 12 classic books that I’d like to read in 2017…
1. The Blazing World and Other Writings by Margaret Cavendish (1666)
I’m a huge fan of Early Modern writing but most of what I’ve read, and I’ve read rather a lot, has been by men. So when I found this collection of Margaret Cavendish’s work, including her (science-fiction-y) story The Blazing World, I knew that I had to read it some time in 2017. This book includes some elements of science fiction, romance, adventure, and even autobiography.
2. The Professor by Charlotte Bronte (1857)
I’ve only ever read Villette by Charlotte Bronte but I really enjoyed it. I’ve been trying to decide which of her books to read next for a long time but I have finally settled on The Professor. I chose it because it was written before Jane Eyre but it was constantly rejected by publishers and was only published after Charlotte Bronte had died.
3. Middlemarch by George Eliot (1871)
Middlemarch is one of those classic books that you just need to read. Well, I feel like I need to read it at some point in my life so I’ve decided that I should read it in 2017. I’ve read bits of The Mill on the Floss by Eliot but I’ve never read a full novel by her. I chose Middlemarch for no particular reason but I do plan on reading The Mill on the Floss at some point in the future too.
4. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (1868)
I was searching for Christmas books last year when I came across Little Women. It was already on my TBR but I didn’t know that it was a Christmas book so I have decided to read in December 2017. Yes, that’s absolute ages away but I like to plan ahead sometimes. Too far ahead. I’ve never read anything set during the US Civil War so this will be a different experience for me since it’s one of those events in history that I know very little about.
5. The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton (1905)
I love satirical novels so much. I also enjoy stories like The House of Mirth that are set in New York and expose the upper-class. Social critiques are some of my favourite books because I have an unhealthy obsession with criticising the class system. I’ve wanted to read this book for a while now but I’ve never gotten around to actually buying it (I still haven’t) but I will read it in 2017.
6. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (1938)
This is another book that I’ve wanted to read for ages. The summary just sounds so intriguing and I love that it’s a crime and mystery novel. I’m a huge fan of crime novels so I’m sure I’ll enjoy this best-selling classic. Also, Daphne du Maurier’s life sort of fascinates me too because she was an incredibly successful woman but she was accused of plagiarism several times.
7. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (1966)
This is a sequel and response to Jane Eyre, which I haven’t actually read, but it’s a postcolonial novel which explores the power relationships between men and women. I think postcolonial writing is incredibly interesting and it really helps you to see the world from a different perspective than your own. I don’t think that it will be necessary to read Jane Eyre before I read this book because I can’t imagine that Rhys didn’t want it to stand alone as its own entity.
8. The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad (1907)
This book was turned into a mini series by the BBC but I only watched one episode in the middle of the series so that didn’t really inspire me to read it. However, I seem to be really interested in spy novels at the moment so I thought that this would be a good book to read. This book deals with themes such as anarchism, espionage and terrorism, as it explores the events surrounding the Greenwich Bombing of 1894.
9. Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte (1847)
If I read Agnes Grey in 2017 then I will have finally read a book by each of the Bronte sisters. Yay!
I only really had two choices when it came to picking an Anne Bronte book to read in 2017 and I didn’t choose Agnes Grey for any particular reason. If I enjoy this book then I’ll certainly read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall too.
10. Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy (1891)
I bought this book for 50p from a charity shop and it’s in perfect condition. It actually not as long as I expected it to be so I’m really looking forward to reading it. I know lots of people that have read this book so I know what it’s about. Any book that challenged the ideals of the Victorian Era is usually a winner for me so I’m hoping that this book is the same.
11. We by Yevgeny Zamyatin (1924)
This book has been on my TBR for years. That’s not an exaggeration. I love dystopian novels and this is a classic. This book directly inspired so many amazing novels including Brave New World, 1984, and The Dispossessed. I can’t really call myself a fan of dystopian books when I haven’t read this one yet. I don’t know why I haven’t read it yet because I keep planning on reading it but I will read it in 2017. I will.
12. The Trial by Franz Kafka (1925)
I actually started reading this book about 4 years ago but it was just sample of the opening chapter that I found online. It sort of got put to the bottom of my TBR since I had so many other books that I wanted to read. However, in 2017 I will finally buy and read this classic book. I just find the concept of the main characters crime never being disclosed incredibly fascinating. I want to see how that will work and I want to know how it will make me feel as a reader.
Over half of these classics are by women and that was a semi-conscious decision. I found a lot of classics by women that I wanted to read and then decided that I would actually challenge myself to read more classics by women in 2017.