Top 5 Favourites from the Classics Section

Summer is a busy time for the classics section at Oxfam. We receive piles and piles of donations at the end of July from GCSE, A Level and university students who have finally come to the end of the year. They struggle in with heavy bags, eager to rid themselves of any course material that will remind them of long evenings spent at the library, scrutinising old texts. It’s a time of year when we get a huge increase in Shakespeare study guides, poetry and tattered old penguin classics.

One afternoon, I spent a good few hours sorting through the classics section in Oxfam, preparing it for the end of summer onslaught of new students armed with long reading lists. I love the classics section of any bookshop – I can spend hours looking at the different copies of my favourites and just as long discovering new titles to read. To give you a taste of what I like, here are my 5 favourites (from a very long list!)

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

I’ve been a big fan of this wonderful novel since I was a young teenager. It can be enjoyed by all age groups. As I’ve grown and re-read Jane’s journey of loneliness, pain, love and heartbreak, I’ve appreciated it in different ways. My younger self loved her honesty and rebellious streak as a child and my older self sympathises with her complex and emotionally charged life at Thornfield. But whatever age, every time I read Jane Eyre, I never fail to feel a shiver run down my spine when Jane hears noises in the night…

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

Don’t be daunted by the size of this book. Unlike some of Dickens’ work, David Copperfield is easy to get into and is bursting with some of the most colourful characters in literature. Of course, it wouldn’t be Dickens without some bleak moments, but young David Copperfield seems to be able to bounce back from anything. It’s a heart-warming tale with a few bag guys flung in to keep it interesting.

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Right from the very beginning, there’s an eerie atmosphere emanating from the pages of this unsettling book. The tension is constantly building until you find yourself on the edge of your seat! Vampires are ‘the thing’ at the moment, with lots of Young Adult vampire romances flooding the shelves, but Dracula is the real deal. It’s scary, it’s intense, – quite simply, it’s a really good read.

Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray 

The anti-heroine of this book is the character I most love to hate. Becky Sharp is ruthless, manipulative and selfish, but I still can’t help but like her – although admittedly, she could do with a slap every now and again. Vanity Fair  is witty and satirical, showing the greed and snobbery of society. It’s not necessarily an easy and uplifting read, but it does make you think.

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

This is a fantastic read for those who like a long and twisty revenge scheme. It’s exciting and adventurous; with escaped prisoners, thieves, back-stabbers and a life-long love affair. There are many complicated threads of story that tangle together and confuse the reader, but don’t worry, they all tie up by the end!

Did I miss your favourite? If so, there’s a big chance that I haven’t even read it yet! So let me know your favourite classics and why, so that I can add them on my never-ending list of books to read!

 

199 thoughts on “Top 5 Favourites from the Classics Section

    • I read Catcher in the Rye soooo long ago that I can barely remember it. I was a young teenager and my mum told me that I would appreciate more it when I was a couple of years older. It’s been longer than that, but maybe it’s time to read it again!

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  1. This is an awesome list! I think I’ll have to pick up Vanity Fair now. Have you read Kidnapped by Robert Lewis Stevenson – another fun adventure read with some great characters. Congrats on getting FP’d!!

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    • Thanks for the comment and recommendation! I have considering buying Kidnapped. There are a number of copies at Oxfam that I’ve actually had my eyes on! I do like a good adventure read! Hope you enjoy Vanity Fair!

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  2. Hi Bundle of Books! I really enjoyed your recommendations and it’s made me want to go back and try Vanity Fair again. On previous occasions I’ve given up because I don’t like the font. Is that stupid? To not read a book because of the font? I don’t know what it is but it makes my eyes tear up…
    Keep up the great posts, love it!

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    • I don’t think that’s stupid at all! It’s quite a big book, so maybe your copy has really small font, to fit it all in? Maybe you could get a better version? Oh well, it’s definitely worth reading – but not ruining your eyes over! Good luck!

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  3. Classics make me… apprehensive. I read a lot I – just not classics. t’s just that I’ve had bad experiences whenever I tried to read one.
    It’s the perfect present to chuck at someone if you don’t know them too well. Shows you don’t care. But then again, giving a person a classic, can mean you want them to enjoy it too! I’m stumped.
    The most recent one I read was ‘a tale of two cities’, which was about a year or two ago.
    It was draggy, but worth it in the very end.
    Always wanted to read Dracula.
    Could you suggest some relatively fast-paced ones for beginners?

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    • I have to say that I struggled through A Tale of Two Cities. I had to force myself to carry on. There were good bits, but also a lot of chapters did really drag.

      Dracula is a good one to read. You should definitely go for it! It’s written in a series of letters, which I don’t usually like, but in Dracula is really works.

      If you like adventurous books, The Count of Monte Cristo is a good one to try as well. There are lots of plots twists and you are always kept on your feet!

      I think the language in Jane Eyre is quite simple compared to a lot of classics, which is why I can relax when I’m reading it. I found Vanity Fair more difficult and had to concentrate a lot – but it was worth the effort in the end!

      Also, if you are into mystery stories, The Moonstone or The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins are great! They were supposedly the first ever detective-type novels!

      Good luck! And let me know what you find!

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      • Thank you so much! 🙂 Will definitely try out a few. I read an abridged version of Jane Eyre in 7th grade.. so I know the story. I really liked it.
        Oliver Twist was another abridged I read back in 7th. Like that one too..

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  4. It may not be a classic in the full sense of the word, but I recently stumbled upon The Moonstone, by Wilkie Collins, and loved it. Supposedly the first mystery novel, what I loved most was the voices of the different narrators, and especially the annoying spinster pennypinching busybody.

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  5. Only five … hard … I love Oscar Wild “Important of being Ernest”, Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald, Frankenstein by Mary Shelly, I would agree with Dracula and I do love Harper Lee’s To kill a Mockingbird …. and as a standby Joyces “Dubliners”

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    • I still haven’t read The Great Gatsby, but I’m hoping to read it before the film comes out and totally ruins the book for me! I also really need to read To Kill a Mockingbird. I can’t believe I haven’t read it, especially seeing as my mum has been telling me to read it since I was about 12!

      I’ve always steered clear of James Joyce. I’ve heard his books are difficult. I know I should still attempt to read Dubliners though as people mention it a lot!

      I was very close to putting Frankenstein on the list, but Dracula won I’m afraid. They are both brilliant though!

      Thanks for the comment!

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  6. I applaud your decisiveness in picking out just 5 classics! Thanks for pointing out some texts which I will most certainly be looking up later and to return the favour, have you ever read Hazlitt’s ‘Liber Amoris’? A splendid little read!

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  7. Finding “classics” in bookshops such as Waterstone’s can be difficult as the choice always seems to be a bit limited and in any case new books are so much thicker than they used to be as the paper is thicker. The prices are ridiculous. The less popular classics are even more difficult to get as they are often no longer in print. I prefer getting books second hand as they are much cheaper, although it is often a waiting game when you are looking for certain titles. I finished Anthony Trollope’s sequence of 6 Barsetshire novel’s but I’ve only managed 4 of the Palliser novels as I haven’t yet found “The Prime Minister” and “The Duke’s Children”.

    Regarding an earlier comment, how can someone not like Jane Eyre?

    My reading tastes don’t seem to be compatible with modern bookshops as most of what I want to read is not in print, it is “unfashionable” so it usually has to be second hand. Fortunately I now have all but of one of J.B.Preistley’s novels and have read several Hugh Walpole novels, the Herries Chronicle (4 novels) is excellent.

    I have a soft spot for Victorian novels in addition to the Trollopes mentioned earlier there have been two more Trollopes, over 20 Wilkie Collins (which can be on the sensational side), a Disreali, two Thackerays (The Newcomes is the other one), several H.G.Wells, four Robert Louis Stevenson (Catriona must be read after Kidnapped) and curiously only four Dickens (Little Dorrit, Our Mutual Friend, Bleak House and Great Expectations).

    For light relief there is always P.G.Wodehouse though I’ve only read “Psmith in the City”, “Psmith, Journalist” and “Leave it to Smith”.

    There have been many other novels published up to around the late 50s early 60s, a great many John Buchan for example. The pages in the back of old Penguins are useful for ideas of what to try next only to find that the books are out of print, so back to the second hand bookshop …

    Next up is Hangover Square by Patrick Hamilton.

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    • Thanks for your comment! Yes, second hand bookshops are definitely the place to find all the old or lesser known classics! Many of the authors you have mentioned above can be found at Oxfam. At the moment, we have a lot of Anthony Trollope. I keep meaning to pick one up but I have so many books at home to get through already!

      I’m not sure how anyone can dislike Jane Eyre either! I also love Wilkie Collins, even if his books are on the sensational side!

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  8. Jane Eyre is by far my favourite book of all time. So much so that I have it in many languages and use it as a guide of how well I can read that language. My ‘Jane Eyre standard’ is my little quirk which I love as it gives me the excuse to read it again and again – not that I need it mind. (The English is still the classic and the best though)

    Loved reading your list and impressions of the books. A true bookworm! Very interesting to read your thoughts. Thanks for the blog and congrats on Freshly Pressed!!!

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    • Thank you very much! I have tried to learn different languages with Harry Potter. For me it’s been useful because it’s so simple! Jane Eyre would be way too difficult for me to read in any language apart from English! 😀

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    • I do love The Grapes of Wrath – or did when I read it ages ago. I think it’s probably time for a re-read. I have never read anything by Dostoevsky or Tolstoy. I just find those big books very daunting! I know I need to change that though. I think I’ll at least attempt Anna Karenina before the film comes out.

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  9. I have Jane Eyre and Dracula on my shelf, unopened, one still with the shrink-wrap on… *groans* My current fave is Pride & Prejudice, though I loved The Three Musketeers and Black Beauty when I was 7 or 8.

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    • I’m not sure that I ever read Black Beauty when i was younger :(. I’ve also been told that I need to read The Three Musketeers – so that’s on my list. I hope you get a chance to read Jane Eyre and Dracula – if you do, let me know what you think! 🙂

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  10. You named 3 of my favorites…as for the other 2 I haven’t ready…lol. I’ve always loved Jane Eyre….I was kind of miffed when I recommended it to a friend and then she told me how horrible she thought it was, but to each their own! The Count of Monte Cristo never gets old….love it!

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      • Pleasure! Madame Bovary is definitely worth a read! 🙂 Do you have any recommendations for uplifting/inspiring fiction? (Sorry for the slow reply!)

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      • As in uplifting and inspiring classics? Or books in general? I’ll have to have a think about it and get back to you. Actually, it might be a good idea for a post! I have to say, I usually enjoy books that aren’t happy all the way through, so I’ll have to give it some thought!

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      • Purely uplifting/inspiring (they don’t have to be classics)! Ooh, a post would be great if you get chance! I finished Life of Pi recently and have been searching for other uplifting books! Any recommendations would be very much appreciated as you clearly have excellent taste! 🙂

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  11. Nice list…deff some good ones here. My favorite is The Grapes Of Wrath, prob because that book has just taken on a higher meaning with the economic situation we are currently in. It’s funny the news was talking about the record drought…boom I thooght of Tom Joad. Keep up the good work.

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  12. I’m not a huge classics person and the only book I read on this list is Jane Eyre. I liked it, but I actually skipped her childhood and jumped right into when she started working for Mr. Rochester. I honestly didn’t miss much!

    And of course Pride and Prejudice, the best book Jane Austen wrote. All of her other books fall flat for me compared to Pride and Prejudice. As for Wuthering Heights, I still don’t understand how people like this book! I read it because I had to for school but it was the longest, most tedious book I ever had to read!

    One book I really enjoyed and I’m not sure why–the Crucible which is a play by Arthur Miller. It is based on the Salem Witch Trials which occurred in the 1600s in Massachusetts and it’s awesome!

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    • It’s a shame you didn’t enjoy Jane Eyre. I love the bit about her childhood. If anything, towards the end, the storyline starts to get silly.

      I do love everything that I’ve read so far by Jane Austen, but Pride and Prejudice is also my favourite. It’s a difficult one to beat

      I haven’t read The Crucible – but thanks for the recommendation. I always find it hard to read plays though!

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  13. Excellent list. I’d include something by Dostoevsky. I’ve read the first half of “The Brothers Karamazov” three times, and I can’t stop imagining myself as an inhabitant of that world.

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    • North and South is on my to read list! I also loved Rebecca and Pride and Prejudice. Persuasion and Mansfield Park were good, but I still prefer Sense and Sensibility! Thanks for the comment! 🙂

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  14. I like your picks, and classics truly are the way to go. Jane Eyre is in my top five along with: The Lady of the Camellias by Alexandre Dumas, Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and the one most people scoff at but I really enjoyed was A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.

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    • I’ll have to try the book by Dumas and the one by Hawthorne. Two that you mention that I didn’t like though; Wuthering Heights and A Tale of Two Cities. I just couldn’t get on with them afraid! Oh well, each to their own! Thanks for commenting 🙂

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  15. How about The Three Musketeers series?
    I am not certain it’s my all time favourite book, but from the classics it very likely is. I especially enjoyed the 2nd book, Twenty Years After. A bit too much politics for my taste but the characters are at their best.

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  16. ”Little Women” by Loisa May Alcott – when I read this book even as a kid, I could relate to Jo & still do [a bit 21st century version though]. Somewhere, Jo is very much responsible in making me an ever-aspiring writer.

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  17. “Little Women” – when I read this book aeons ago, I really could relate to Jo & still do [a bit 21st century version though]. Somewhere, Jo is very much responsible in making me an ever-aspiring writer.

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    • I loved Little Women! And of course, Jo was my favourite character too. How could she not be. I remember when she cut off all her hair to sell, that was my favourite part always! (I’m hoping that was in the book as well as the film – it’s been soooo long since I last read and watched Little Women, that the two merge into one a bit. I must read it again!)

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  18. I’ve only read Jane Eyre on the list and agree it’s one of the greats. I’d add Great Expectations – Dickens, The Magic Mountain – Mann, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Twain, 100 Years of Solitude – Garcia Marquez, and Crime and Punishment – Dostoyevsky. They all have memorable characters and the writing is superb. Oops, with Jane Eyre, that’s 6. Sorry.

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    • I haven’t yet read any of the books you’ve mentioned. Someone was badgering me yesterday about 100 Years of Solitude, so that must go on my list! I think I started The Magic Mountain ages ago, but then the books disappeared. I’ve always wanted to finish it!

      I know how it feels – I kept narrowing it down to 6 instead of 5. It’s very difficult! Thanks for the comment!

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    • I left those ones out I’m afraid. I had big hopes for Sons and Lovers because it’s set very close to where I live and I was abroad at the time. I have to say that I didn’t love it. I enjoyed parts of it, but the main guy really irritated me! And the same goes for Lady Chatterley too! I haven’t read Women in Love, but will probably wait a while until I do. Oh well, we can’t all love the same books I suppose! 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

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    • I’m afraid I’ve never really enjoyed reading plays. I much prefer watching them! I did find The Importance of Being Earnest film good and I have always loved Macbeth when I’ve seen it. Unfortunately I can’t say the same for Hamlet. I had to study it and that can often spoil a book / play!

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  19. Great Post! Mine would probably be: Pride and Prejudice, The Mayor of Casterbridge, the Picture of Dorian Grey, along with Count of Monte Cristo and Oliver Twist instead of David Copperfield….

    or Perhaps 1984 and Frankenstein… wait, does Orwell’s work count as a classic?…. At any rate, definitely hard to pick just five.
    Don’t know why but I never liked the Bronte sisters, both Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre were a terrible bore….

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    • A lot of those books were on my long list too! I think you would count Orwell as a classic, but I wasn’t really sure myself… Also, I still haven’t read Oliver Twist. I did love Oliver! the film when I was littler though. I’m not sure I could read the book without the songs!

      I agree with you on Wuthering Heights, but do love Jane Eyre! Thanks for the comment.

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  20. I am not sure I have read any of your classics …. I have read parts of each, but I cannot be certain that I have read all of any of them.

    I know.

    They are ALL on my reading list. I just keep running out of time.

    Ghost.

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  21. I’ve read Jane Eyre and Vanity Fair in class, and Dracula on my own. I’ve never been a real fan of Dickens, so I’d probably pass on David Copperfield, but I do plan on reading The Count of Monte Cristo, probably after I read The Three Musketeers.

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    • I’ve heard The Three Musketeers is good, so I hope you enjoy. Let me know what you think of it! It’s a shame you don’t like Dickens. I know what you mean though, I can’t get on with some of his stuff (especially A Tale of Two Cities!)

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  22. I’ve always been afraid of classics, but I went into an opp shop in need of a book and Jane Eyre was just calling to me. I fell in love with that book and am relieved to find classics don’t zoom over my head like I thought they would. War and Peace is another favorite.

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    • I am still afraid of a few classics – War and Peace being one of them. I think it’s the larger ones that scare me the most. What if I get stuck half way? But many of them, such as Jane Eyre are not difficult at all! There’s a reason that they’ve been around so long and stood the test of time!

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  23. I love wuthering heights and I’d put it on my favourites but it is incredibly dark and I’m always surprised when people describe it as a love story because the relationships are really quite… dysfunctional.

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    • Yes, dysfunctional is a good word for it. If romance and love are like Wuthering Heights, I would want to steer clear! I can’t bear any of the characters, but I know it is a very popular book. I much prefer Jane Eyre.

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  24. Hi! Congratulations on making it to ‘Freshly Pressed’!

    Oh how I wish that I had a job where I could be knee deep in classics!

    Jane Eyre has never been much of a favourite with me. I love Dickens. David Copperfield? Not so much. But Dracula is one of my all time favourite reads. Even after so many re-reads, it still manages to spook me out! I’ve got Vanity Fair on my TBR pile. I hope to enjoy it when I finally do get to it. 🙂

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    • Hi, thanks! 🙂
      I certainly did enjoy sorting the classic out the other day – just wish I got paid for it though!

      I know that most people would probably choose Great Expectations over David Copperfield, but I still haven’t read it! I’m glad you like Dracula too, there are a lot of vampire related books and films out at the moment, and it’s good to see the real master at work!

      Hope you enjoy Vanity Fair! Let me know what you think when you’re done!

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  25. Jane Eyre took me to Wuthering Heights which took me to Pride and Prejudice which took me to Rebecca which took me to Jamaica Inn which took me to Lady Chatterly. All when I was 17 years old. I think it’s time for a re-reading! Thanks for reminding me.
    Wendy

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    • I wasn’t so keen on Wuthering Heights I’m afraid and also not a huge fan of Lady Chatterly (I think it was hyped up too much!) But the other books you’ve mentioned are some of my favourites too! It’s just too difficult to narrow it down to such a small list though!

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      • Ah yes, but I was 17 then and obviously an incurable romantic! Some years have passed since and I’ve can report LC holds no interest for me anymore. WH led me to Kate Bush and her song of the same title, so it can’t be all bad, can it? : )

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  26. I simply cannot get enough of reading, words and of course Classic Literature-you have picked out wonderful choices! I’m majoring in English in University and I would like to become a high school English Teacher one day in order to teach and inspire students about Literature, Poetry, etc.

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    • I love reading to little children the best. I find older children and teenagers a bit scary and don’t think I could teach them! Also, the questions they ask are a lot more difficult! It’s so nice to read to a child and find that they are just as excited as you are to know how the book will turn out!

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  27. I love The Count of Monte Cristo and am dying to read Jane Eyre from a long time but can’t seem to find an abridged version!
    Anyhow, thanks for the list! 🙂
    Congrats on freshly pressed!
    Check mine too?
    Cheers! 🙂

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    • Hi! Yes, Pride and Prejudice is my number 6! I did enjoy Far From the Madding Crowd. I read it quite a while ago now. It’s pretty much impossible to choose 5 out of so many brilliant classics out there!

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  28. I couldn’t have found a list more similar to my interests! Jane Eyre is one book I will keep by my side until my end. And I just love re-reading it on cold afternoons when all my friends are out to “party” and socialise. The solitary feeling that you experience along with the adventure that never abondons the plot keep me in an ecstatic high!

    And I’m definitely going to read ‘The count of Monte Cristo’ and ‘Dracula’ after reading your thoughts on them. Thanks for this beautiful post 🙂

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  29. Good, basic selection of classic literature that will keep your mind and emotions busy. My favorites include Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” and “Anna Karenina” (all read in Russian, of course!), Dostoevsky’s “Crime and Punishment” and “The Idiot”, and one of my favorites–Chaucer’s “Cantebury Tales” (a little hard to read in Middle English, but worth the effort).

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    • I know I should really read both War and Peace and Anna Karenina, but they just look so daunting! Also Crime and Punishment is on the list, but I haven’t picked it up yet for the same reason. I tried to read the Cantebury Tales when I was about 13 at school and found it sooooo difficult. I should really give it another go.

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  30. The Count of Monte Cristo would be on the list for me. I would choose Great Expectations as my Dickens and add an Austen and a Collins. I would also choose The Professor instead of Jane Eyre for my Bronte.

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    • I am very ashamed to say that I still haven’t read Great Expectations! It’s on my shelf and I’ll be reading it a little closer to winter, I think. I was considering a Collins and Pride and Prejudice, but in the end I chose Vanity Fair. I’ve also never read The Professor. I’ll add it to my wish list!

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  31. Great list. Nice diversity between romance and horror. Would you like to be added to the Book Boosters list? We all love books and it’s a way of connecting with other book lovers.
    Happy Pages,
    CricketMuse

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    • The Count of Monte Cristo also really surprised me. For some reason, before I read it, I had a feeling it was going to be boring. It was very exciting though, with some very clever plots twists!

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  32. I’ve actually been thinking I need to reread Jane Eyre, and this post only confirms it. 🙂 Also, David Copperfield is my favorite Dickens book, and The Count of Monte Cristo is my favorite Dumas book. I haven’t read Vanity Fair yet, but if it’s included in such good company I’ll put it right on my to-read list.

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    • Oh good! I’m glad! Vanity Fair is great. There’s something about David Copperfield that I love – it’s great to read on a winter’s evening. Come to think about it, Jane Eyre is pretty good for some autumn/winter reading too.

      I haven’t read any other of Dumas’ books, but it looks like I started with the right one! Thanks for the comment! 🙂

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  33. I always love to read classic. What a coincidence that i really want to read The Count Of Monte Cristo!

    .the.other.tuesday.

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  34. Thank goodness Freshly Pressed has brought your blog to my attention! There are too many book blogs to browse them effectively. I agree with you on Jane Eyre and Dracula but would probably add Rebecca, To Kill A Mockingbird and Emma (even though the last time I read it I thought SHE needed a slap). I Capture the Castle is also underrated – I only discovered it last year.

    Look forward to hearing more from you.

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    • I also love Rebecca and I Capture the Castle. In fact, I’ve been thinking of re-reading I Capture the Castle again sometime soon. I read it when I was about 15 and felt very much as though I understood Cassandra. I’m wondering if I will see the book from a different perspective ten years later. The other two books you mention are on my reading list. I can’t believe I still haven’t read them yet!

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      • Well given that time is short and I’m currently not speaking with Emma, I’d bump To Kill A Mockingbird up the list a little. It really is quite special. As for Cassandra, I think she might be a bit of a timeless ‘every girl’, certainly for us bookish types. Thanks for the visit and follow!

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  35. I really like your list! The only two books that I haven’t read are Dracula and The Count of Monte Cristo. I adore David Copperfield and Jane Eyre. I really liked the BBC Adaptation that came out last year. Have you read The Tenant Of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte? If you haven’t I highly recommend that one. It’s a wonderful book :).

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    • Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll add it to my wish list!
      I watched the BBC adaptation of Jane Eyre last year and really enjoyed it. I haven’t seen the film version that was released last year though – but I’ve heard some very good things about that one too.

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    • I’ve never read anything by Dostoyevsky. His books always seem so daunting!

      I prefer Jane Eyre to anything by Austen. I think Pride and Prejudice would have to be my number 6 though!

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  36. I read Of Human Bondage years ago and still think about the meaning of life as it relates to the patterned carpet. Gives you lots to think about. Often a dreary read but oddly uplifting at the same time.

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  37. I actually really liked The Picture of Dorian Gray. Definitely interesting. Although I’m sad to say I haven’t read as many famous classics as I like, including two and a half from your list.

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  38. WordPress was brave enough to feature a “Favourite” and not a “Favorite” in their Freshly Pressed? At last. A very enjoyable post. My friend, Jane and I can discuss Jane Eyre for hours and cry every time. She is thrilled to bear our heroine’s name.

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  39. WordPress is brave enough to have a “Favourite” and not a “Favorite” in Freshly Pressed? At last! A very enjoyable post. My friend, Jane and I can discuss “Jane Eyre” for hours and cry every time. And she gets a thrill of satisfaction from bearing our heroine’s name.

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  40. No Wuthering Heights for me, please. I understand why it’s a classic, but most of the characters annoyed the heck out of me. You have a very interesting list. I would probably add Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. This is definitely a long shot for a Top 5 list, but I really enjoyed Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskill, too.

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    • I always thought “Wuthering Heights” was to classic literature as “The Sound of Music” was to musicals – but then I realized that everyone in “The Sound of Music” annoyed the heck out me, too!

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    • I still haven’t read anything by Gaskell, so will have to get on to that at some point! I was considering Pride and Prejudice but in the end went for Vanity Fair, because it’s got more to it. Looking through the comments, a lot of people think I should have put Pride and Prejudice up there though!

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    • I haven’t seen the most recent Jane Eyre film yet, but have heard some really good things, so I’m looking forward to it! Luckily, Jane Eyre films never seem to change my idea of the books!
      Thanks for the link to your blog. Since cinema prices have gone up so much, I hardly get to go to the cinema! So reading your blog will be a nice way of keeping up and choosing the best films to see!

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    • I like A Christmas Carol and want to get into a tradition of reading it every year at Christmas – it’s not very long. Otherwise I really did love every minute of David Copperfield! I wasn’t too keen on A Tale of Two Cities as it was a bit depressing and confusing. Apart from that, I’m ashamed to say that I have not read that much Dickens. I really need to read Great Expectations (Yes, I haven’t even read that!) It’s on my shelf along with Our Mutual Friend. I’ve been waiting for more Dickens like weather before I read them, so maybe I will join you with your Dickens’ month!

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  41. Yes! I’ve read 3 out of 5. Usually when I read people’s lists I haven’t read any of them. I haven’t read The Count of Monte Cristo or Vanity Fair yet. Out of the three I’ve read, it’s a tie between David Copperfield and Dracula. Jane Eyre isn’t far behind!

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    • Oh The Count of Monte Cristo is loads of fun! Vanity Fair is a bit tougher, and I did struggle in parts, but it’s still worth the read. I couldn’t put this Top 5 in any particular order because I love them so much!

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  42. One of my life’s regrets is that while I lived in England for 4 years, I never realized the literary treasure trove to be found in Oxfam shops. It would have been hard on my pocketbook, but so worth it!

    Great list, I’m sure it was difficult to winnow it down.

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    • It was very difficult! I still feel bad about some of the books I left out; The Woman in White, Robinson Crusoe, Frankenstein, Pride and Prejudice and more!

      I do love Oxfam. After looking through the Classics shelves, I realise that there are so many more that I need to read – a lot of them I haven’t even heard of!

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  43. Great list! I’d have to include an Austen in there instead of Vanity Fair, but otherwise pretty close to what mine would be.

    And, I agree, Wuthering Heights is very much a love it or hate it book. Or at least I felt that way when young and really didn’t like it. Perhaps now I might appreciate it more.

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    • I was considering a Jane Austen. It was such a difficult choice. But I think Vanity Fair manages to poke fun at society and give you a bit of a laugh, but at the same time it has a much more serious undertone. I’m sure in a few months time I’ll have a different idea of what should be on my Top 5 though.

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  44. That’s a nice choice! I’d have to add Wuthering Heights though, and Rebecca, Tess of the Durbervilles, A Christmas Carol… hard to narrow it down!

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    • It was a very difficult choice. I had a long list of about 15… I have to admit though that I have a bit of hatred towards Wuthering Heights and Tess of the D! I think Wuthering Heights especially is a bit of a ‘love it or hate it’ type of book!

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