Hello Mondays, welcome back to #5OnMyTBR, a meme created by the wonderful E @ The Local Bee Hunter’s Nook. This bookish meme gets us to dig even further into our TBRs by simply posting about five books on our TBR! You can learn more about it here or in the post announcing it. You can find the full list of prompts (past and future) at the end of this post!
This week’s prompt is: Classics
You know, I think this is the first time I’ve done a prompt related to classics! Though with my patchy memory I could be very wrong. If it isn’t obvious, I don’t spend a lot of time reading classics, although Jane Austen is one of my all time favourites and two of her books are comfort reads. But outside of school and Austen, I have yet to pick up a classic of my own volition. (Oh, wait. I lie. I picked up Tess of the D’urbervilles a few years ago and let’s just say it was really not my jam at all (no offense)!)
It’s not that I don’t like classics. I’ve enjoyed most of the ones I read in school but I think without a hand to hold to “guide me” through (or to at least talk it out with me) I feel as if a lot of it goes over my head–especially with the older classics, less so the modern classics. It just plain makes me feel dumb LOL. 😂 Still, I do want to give some of the more “famous” ones a try because they sound really good and I have a feeling I will like them so long as I keep pushing through. So here are five that have sat on my TBR for a while now…
Thrown in prison for a crime he has not committed, Edmond Dantes is confined to the grim fortress of If. There he learns of a great hoard of treasure hidden on the Isle of Monte Cristo and he becomes determined not only to escape, but also to unearth the treasure and use it to plot the destruction of the three men responsible for his incarceration. Dumas’ epic tale of suffering and retribution, inspired by a real-life case of wrongful imprisonment, was a huge popular success when it was first serialized in the 1840s.
Robin Buss’s lively English translation is complete and unabridged, and remains faithful to the style of Dumas’s original. This edition includes an introduction, explanatory notes and suggestions for further reading.
Acclaimed by many as the world’s greatest novel, Anna Karenina provides a vast panorama of contemporary life in Russia and of humanity in general. In it Tolstoy uses his intense imaginative insight to create some of the most memorable characters in literature. Anna is a sophisticated woman who abandons her empty existence as the wife of Karenin and turns to Count Vronsky to fulfil her passionate nature – with tragic consequences. Levin is a reflection of Tolstoy himself, often expressing the author’s own views and convictions.
Throughout, Tolstoy points no moral, merely inviting us not to judge but to watch. As Rosemary Edmonds comments, ‘He leaves the shifting patterns of the kaleidoscope to bring home the meaning of the brooding words following the title, ‘Vengeance is mine, and I will repay.
The chilling true crime ‘non-fiction novel’ that made Truman Capote’s name, In Cold Blood is a seminal work of modern prose, a remarkable synthesis of journalistic skill and powerfully evocative narrative published in Penguin Modern Classics.
Controversial and compelling, In Cold Blood reconstructs the murder in 1959 of a Kansas farmer, his wife and both their children. Truman Capote’s comprehensive study of the killings and subsequent investigation explores the circumstances surrounding this terrible crime and the effect it had on those involved. At the centre of his study are the amoral young killers Perry Smith and Dick Hickcock, who, vividly drawn by Capote, are shown to be reprehensible yet entirely and frighteningly human.
‘It is the American dream turning into the American nightmare …By juxtaposing and dovetailing the lives and values of the Clutters and those of the killers, Capote produces a stark image of the deep doubleness of American life …a remarkable book’ Spectator
‘Liberty, equality, fraternity, or death; — the last, much the easiest to bestow, O Guillotine!’
After eighteen years as a political prisoner in the Bastille, the ageing Doctor Manette is finally released and reunited with his daughter in England. There the lives of two very different men, Charles Darnay, an exiled French aristocrat, and Sydney Carton, a disreputable but brilliant English lawyer, become enmeshed through their love for Lucie Manette. From the tranquil roads of London, they are drawn against their will to the vengeful, bloodstained streets of Paris at the height of the Reign of Terror, and they soon fall under the lethal shadow of La Guillotine.
This edition uses the text as it appeared in its serial publication in 1859 to convey the full scope of Dickens’s vision, and includes the original illustrations by H. K. Browne (‘Phiz’). Richard Maxwell’s introduction discusses the intricate interweaving of epic drama with personal tragedy.
On a trip to the South of France, the shy heroine of Rebecca falls in love with Maxim de Winter, a handsome widower. Although his proposal comes as a surprise, she happily agrees to marry him. But as they arrive at her husband’s home, Manderley, a change comes over Maxim, and the young bride is filled with dread. Friendless in the isolated mansion, she realises that she barely knows him. In every corner of every room is the phantom of his beautiful first wife, Rebecca, and the new Mrs de Winter walks in her shadow.
This haunting 20th century classic is perfect for the teenage market. Rebecca, Jamaica Inn and Frenchman’s Creek are now available for the first time in YA editions.
Do you love to read the classics or do you rarely read them?
What’s your favourite classic? Any of these also on your TBR?