Top Ten Tuesday #21

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Each week, they post a book-related prompt for book bloggers to answer. This week’s prompt is Top Ten All Time Favourite Classics

I love classic lit! As you probably know – because I mention it every chance I get – Jane Austen is my literary queen. However, she’s not the only one – the Brontë sisters, Elizabeth Gaskell, Sylvia Plath, and Virginia Woolf are just some of my favourites.

  1. Emma by Jane Austen: Jane Austen is the master of social commentary, and she contributed to much to what we know as the modern day novel. A lot of the techniques she used are pretty commonplace today, but she was actually the pioneer of these techniques, most notably free indirect discourse. Emma is Austen at her best – so simple, and yet so brilliant. It also features my favourite Austen heroine, Emma Woodhouse, who is an ‘obstinate, headstrong girl’ if you ever saw one.
  2. Villette by Charlotte Brontë: If you only read one novel by Charlotte Brontë in your lifetime, make sure it is Villette. It is fascinating how much you come to care for a protagonist that does not care for you.
  3. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë: Anne combines the social commentary you’d expect from an Austen novel with the absolute madness that is basically the Brontë trademark. It is so much more mature than Agnes Grey, and rumoured to be a response to Emily’s Wuthering Heights.
  4. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell: This is kind of like a politically charged Pride and Prejudice, if Lizzy had the personality of Darcy and Darcy was new money. I didn’t sell it well, but
  5. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath: People often associate this book with angsty teenagers who want to be different. It is full of dark, biting humour and bleak truths, but is mostly a poignant tale of an individual trying to come to terms with their personal demons.
  6. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott: Who doesn’t love Little Women? My lifelong dream was to be one of the March sisters, and while everyone adores Jo, I always wanted to be Beth. As a child, I was impatient and a little fiery (not unlike Jo), and I always felt like Beth was the person I should aim to be. No matter how many times I reread, it always manages to break my heart (Beth, no!). This one is purely on the list for sentimental reasons, but always a fun, quick read.
  7. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery: This one is mostly on the list because it is one of the defining series of my childhood. Before Harry Potter, before A Series of Unfortunate Events, there was Anne. There is something so charming about Anne, and I was always jealous of her red hair as a child (even more insulting: she didn’t appreciate it!). I enjoyed reading stories that revolved around a flawed heroine who constantly found herself in trouble. I appreciated the fact that Anne struggled with her temper, something that I struggled to do as a child. I identified with Anne, and her story is one that I love to revisit.
  8. Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf: Whenever I read Woolf, I get the impression that she understands life better than anyone else. She has such a beautiful voice – it’s so dreamy and wonderful. While reading, you float in and out of characters’ consciousness, and learn more about them in a few pages than other authors could pack into an entire book. It’s a wonderful character study.
  9. Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie: Is this not the most classic piece of children’s literature? It’s a complex story disguised as children’s literature, and has everything: brimming with adventure, tinged with nostalgia and filled with beautiful prose, I always walk away from this book wanting to hug my mum.
  10. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll: Okay, so Alice in Wonderland has no plot and is a bit nonsensical – but therein lies its charm. It is whimsical and is able to bring me so much joy, even as an adult.

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