Top Ten Tuesday: The Classics


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they will post a new Top Ten list that one of their bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join.

The topic for this week is:  Top Ten Favourite Classic Books (however you define classic) or Top Ten Classics I Want To Read.

This got me thinking.

How exactly do I define a classic book? 

Most of the books I consider to be classics are the ones in the black Penguin Classic covers or have been made into period dramas by the BBC.

In my search of a better definition of what makes a book a classic, I found an article on the Guardian Book Blog by Chris Cox which describes his two categories of classic books:

There are two kinds of classic novel. The first are those we know we should have read, but probably haven’t. These are generally the books that make us burn with shame when they come up in conversation. […]

The second kind, meanwhile, are those books that we’ve read five times, can quote from on any occasion, and annoyingly push on to other people with the words: “You have to read this. It’s a classic.

I think this is a great way to view it.

There are the books which are classic because of their history and the books which have such a profound impact on us that we find ourselves forcing copies onto our nearest and dearest.

My top ten today is going to be composed mostly of the classical literature type because most of the time the other type of classic tend to appear on my usual TTTs and I wanted to add some variety.

Top 5 Classic Literature Novels I Have Read and Adored:

Persuasion Little Women Jane Eyre The Canterbury Tales Candide, or Optimism

Persuasion by Jane Austen – I have two all time favourite books and Persuasion is one of them. It’s about making mistakes and having to deal with them. Anne, the heroine, is a little older and more jaded by life than Austen’s other leading ladies but I fell in love the first time I read it and I find something different to like or think about each time I re-read.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott – This is one of the first “classic” novels I ever read. My mother bought me a gorgeous copy when I was around 10 and I think I liked the edition more than the actual story. This is because this is also one of the first books in which I disagreed with the ending. I devotedly shipped Jo/Laurie before I even knew that people didn’t always like the pairings authors wrote. I rewrote the ending the way I wanted it and this was my first introduction to fanfiction. I’ve read this book a few times in the years since and I do see why Alcott wrote it the way she did… and I have come to like her version of the book.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – I’ve always considered this book to be a little like Beauty and the Beast.

The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer – I read this book for a class and liked the variety. There’s the stories of courtly love, tales of cuckolding and other metaphors and allegories throughout. It is one of the few books I’ve read for a class that I really enjoyed.

Candide by Voltaire – Another one I read for class (Yes… I took MANY literature courses for my undergrad degree despite none of them being necessary. Good thing I did a degree where I had to do one completely unrelated elective per semester). This one is a quick read but entertaining. I liked the message of tending to ones own garden.


5 Classic Novels I Want to Read:

Dangerous Liaisons Anna Karenina  Oliver Twist The Three Musketeers The Diary of a Young Girl

Dangerous Liaisons by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas (I’ve actually read part of this one but I’m not sure I finished it)

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank (Never read it. But I feel like I’m missing out on something if I don’t read it)

How do you define a classic book? Are my favourites on your list? Which classic books do you want to read? Feel free to leave me a comment 🙂 

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  1. I’ve started purchasing quite a few classics lately and planning on reading one per month. The well known ones like P & P, Oliver Twist, even The Secret Garden and already have too many copies of Alice in Wonderland to be normal. Awesome list, going to add these ones to my wishlist to keep building my library. We should start up a Aussie classics club. Thanks for sharing Kate.

    • That would be fun. Were you serious about having a readalong for P&P because I’d love to be a part of that if you were. I haven’t read it in a while and I think it would be fun.

      Also – I’ve never read Alice in Wonderland. I’ve started and I’ve seen movies but never finished the book. I don’t even own a copy! :O

  2. It’s really hard to define what a classic is. I’m never quite sure! I adore Little Women though. It’s one of my favourites. I found Oliver Twist good, but longer than I anticipated.

  3. I’ve read all the books on your Classics TBR except The Three Musketeers, and I can recommend them all highly. That said, I forgot all about Candide when I was making my list…and Jane Eyre.

  4. I feel like I desperately need to read The Diary of Anne Frank! It’s such an amazing story, and I think it would be better to read it while I am not too different in age to Anne.

    I love Little Women, even if I haven’t read the whole thing – my copy was dodgy and only gave me the first half D:

    My favourite classic by far, though, would have to be Frankenstein. I absolutely ADORE it. When i was reading it, it completely consumed me and raised so many questions about life and living and being human. It’s simply amazing.

  5. I read Candide ages ago but DO NOT REMEMBER IT, which seems to be the theme w me and classics. I do remember reading Persuasion though!! Great list!

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