The book The Little Guide to your Well-Read Life by Steve Leveen (see my article about this book) includes the concept of developing your own personal list of classics. As I see it, you own classics are the books that you expect to re-read at regular intervals for the rest of your life. This list will be unique for every individual. Here is a first pass at my list (as of January 21, 2006):
- JANE AUSTEN: Pride and Prejudice. My absolute favorite of the traditional classics. I find new humor in it every time I read it (I've also listened on MP3).
- CHARLOTTE BRONTE: Jane Eyre. I read this book when I was really too young for it, but bonded with it nevertheless.
- GEORGETTE HEYER: Frederica and The Grand Sophy, among others. These books are Regency romances written by a master of the genre. They are also wonderful comfort books, in which you can count on things ending happily ever after, once the requisite trials have been overcome. They also have a lot of humor, once you accustom yourself to the brand of humor, similar to Jane Austen.
- STEPHEN KING: The Stand : Expanded Edition: For the First Time Complete and Uncut. I realize that this isn't what most people would consider a classic, but I love it, and I get the urge to re-read it every 3 or 4 years.
- CAROL O'CONNELL: Mallory's Oracle (Kathleen Mallory Novels). The first book in the Mallory series. I don't normally re-read mysteries, and so they don't make it onto my classics list. The characterization in this series is so amazing, however, and the plots so complex, that I can read them over and over again. My favorite in the series is Stone Angel
- AYN RAND: Atlas Shrugged. This book changed the way I look at the world.
- D. E. STEVENSON: Listening Valley and Celia's House, among others. These are my comfort books, reminding me that stories can have happy endings. They are all set in England and Scotland before, during and after WWII, and are gentle family stories, and romances that end with marriage and children.
- FRANCES HODGSON BURNETT: A Little Princess and The Secret Garden. I've read these books so many times that I know many of the chapter titles by heart, but I never tire of them.
- LOIS DUNCAN: Down a Dark Hall. A creepy, atmospheric young adult novel, my favorite by Lois Duncan.
- ELIZABETH ENRIGHT: Gone-Away Lake. A wonderful summer adventure that makes me want to be a child again.
- INEZ HAYNES IRWIN: Maida's Little Shop, Maida's Little House, and Maida's Little School. I loved these books as a child, and they were the first children's books that I started to collect as an adult. I have nearly the entire series. My grandmother introduced me to them.
- ALEXANDER KEY: The Forgotten Door. About a boy from another planet who lands in a cave near a small town. By the author of Escape to Witch Mountain.
- WALTER MACKEN: The Flight of the doves. About two children who run away from their abusive stepfather, across Ireland to find their grandmother.
- L. M. MONTGOMERY: Anne of Green Gables. I'll likely re-read the whole series at intervals, but this one is my favorite.
- PHILIP PULLMAN: His Dark Materials Trilogy (The Golden Compass; The Subtle Knife; The Amber Spyglass). A classic trilogy that I've already read twice, despite its relatively recent publication.
- J. K. ROWLING: The Harry Potter Books
- ZILPHA KEATLEY SNYDER: The Velvet Room and The Changeling. My two favorites by this author, both speak to something inside of me, in different ways.
I hope that this list inspires you to think about what comprises your classics list. If you feel like sharing, I would love to hear about it. Happy Reading! -- Jen
© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.