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text 2017-05-14 20:56
Classics That You Should Read

For those who love to read, there is nothing more difficult than someone asking you to put together a list of your favourite books. After all, no two lists will ever be the same and how can anyone possibly choose, it’s like asking which of your children you love the most…

Similarly, those who love to read fully understand how expensive books can be, particularly in this difficult economic climate. Therefore, I decided to put together a few of my favourite classics, some of which are out of copyright and can be online for free. For out of copyright books, I have added a link where the book can be found for free.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Written by English writer Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre is a classic novel which has been hailed as one of the greatest pieces of English fiction. Set against the backdrop of the magnificent Yorkshire Moors, this story follows the coming of age of a plucky young governess who faces a number of great adversaries to find happiness in the arms of her first love.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover by DH Lawrence

First published privately in Italy in 1928 and later the subject of an obscenity trial in the UK. Lady Chatterley's Lover gained notoriety due to its hugely erotic content. Based in Nottinghamshire where DH Lawrence grew up, the story focuses on a young married woman who becomes disenchanted with her upper class husband. When an injury from the war leaves him unable to connect physically and emotionally with Lady Chatterley, she seeks sexual fulfilment in the arms of Oliver Mellor’s, the gamekeeper.

To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee

Renowned for its warmth and humour, To Kill a Mocking Bird is loosely based on Harper Lee’s observations of friends and family, but carries an important message about the realities of racism in the 1930’s. A classic piece of American literature, To Kill a Mockingbird is widely taught in schools all over the world and addresses themes of rape, racial inequality, courage and compassion. If you haven’t read this book, it’s one to put on your list of ‘must reads’ immediately!

Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James

Not everyone’s favourite book, but a book that has earned its place in history. Fifty Shades of Grey tells the story of Anastasia Steel and the ‘emotionally damaged’ billionaire Christian Grey. After a chance meeting, a story of all consuming love begins to unfold. What makes this story stand out, are the BDSM themes and erotic scenes weaved throughout the tale. The book may not have been well received by critics. However, what followed was a sexual revolution that rocked the twenty first century. Sales of sex toys rocketed, BDSM practices which were previously criminalised were normalised and a new age of sexual freedom began.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

HYPERLINK "http://www.literatureproject.com/little-woLittle Women is a timeless tale of four American sisters – Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy. Following their lives from childhood to adulthood, Little Women has been a difficult book to define. Some describe the book as a romance novel, others claim that it is a children’s book. However, for those who have read it, the ongoing themes in this book work together to create an incredible piece of fiction that simply begs to be read.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

With over 20 million copies sold, Pride and Prejudice has certainly earned its crown as one of the most popular novels in English Literature. Using good, solid British humour, Pride and Prejudice tells the tale of the Bennet family – the overbearing Mrs Bennet, the long suffering Mr Bennet and their five daughters. Due to the laws of the land at the time, if Mr Bennet passes away the inheritance cannot be passed onto his own children and falls into the hands of a distant relative. With the pressure on to find a suitable marriage, the arrival of a handsome stranger causes rather a few trials and tribulations for the Bennet family.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Believing that he was a failure and his The Great Gatsby forgotten, F. Scott Fitzgerald died in 1940 with sales of just 20,000 copies. However, due to the glitz, glamour and sheer escapism of this 1920’s tale, The Great Gatsby saw a revival during World War 2 and fast became one of the greatest classics in American history. The story follows characters from a fictional town called West Egg. Featuring millionaires, shady business connections, unrivalled glamour and scandal, The Great Gatsby worked hard to earn the title of one of America’s best loved novels.

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review 2015-08-19 20:54
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
To Kill a Mockingbird, 50th Anniversary Edition - Harper Lee

I seem to have had a run of good books recently and this one was no exception. I may have read this one in the past, but I didn’t feel any re-collection in the far-reaching corners of my mind while reading, so I assume that somehow this American classic passed me by. Thank God I’ve rectified that now.


Due to the fact that so much has already been said about this book, I don’t feel there’s much to be gained by me going into it at length, so I’ll just say a few key things.


First off, as I said, I loved it. It was one of those books that really makes you think and even though it was written so long ago, nothing about the idiosyncrasies of the time frustrated me or in any way negated my thorough enjoyment of it.


Set between the years of 1933-35, the story is told from the perspective of six-year-old Jean-Louise Finch a.k.a Scout. The story is centred on Scout and her brother, Jem, whose lawyer father, Atticus, represents a black man accused of rape.


This book tackled weighty issues alongside the unrelenting heat of their home town of Maycomb, but it had such warmth and humour that it never felt like too much. I don’t think there can be any bigger endorsement made for a book than to say that it changed me, in the way that Catcher in the Rye did. The lessons it taught and the humanity present made a lasting impression on me.


A mark of a fantastic book is when details that appear to lack significance, later flare into consciousness once again and change the landscape of the narrative. This happened many times here and to great effect.


The characters were fantastic, and as I said, gave a humour and warmth to the novel that I’ll never forget. I’ve begun reading Go Set a Watchman and will let you know soon how I’m getting on.

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text 2015-08-17 10:26
Reading progress update: I've read 77%.
To Kill a Mockingbird, 50th Anniversary Edition - Harper Lee

Hard to believe that I've never picked this one up before, but there you go. Anyway, I love it and can tell it's going to be one of my all-time favourites.

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