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Classic Literature


e-Writer in Residence

  • Old textbooks

Madeleine Banman | August 3, 2018

Classic literature. Maybe you love it... maybe you hate it. Maybe you think it's beautiful, unique, and wonderful... maybe you think it's boring, hard to read, and dated. Honestly, I can understand both points of view, but I love most classical literature! Sure, some of it is hard to read, but I see that as a challenge and a way for me to learn. Plus, not all classical literature is hard to read and full of superfluous descriptions. Classic literature, to me, is a window to the past.

Here are some of my favourite classics:

Alice in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking-Glass, by Lewis Carroll:

Written in 1865 and 1871, these books are fun to read for all ages! Full of nonsense poems, dream-like scenes, and symbolism, they will keep you entertained and thinking the whole time! Alice in Wonderland is about unendingly curious, seven year old Alice, who follows an odd white rabbit down a hole, landing her in Wonderland. While fascinated by this place, Alice longs to find a way home; and back to her normal size, after having grown and shrunk so many times while in Wonderland. To make matters worse, the residents of Wonderland are often less than helpful and they often talk riddles and nonsense! Its sequel is just as good, but this time Alice finds herself in the looking-glass world, which is a parallel of ours. Alice finds this world is very much like a giant game of chess, with living chess pieces and fields that resemble the squares of a chessboard. She is told she can become a queen by reaching the “8th row”, so she sets off to do so. Throughout her journey, she meets several new characters, each as amusing and colourful as the characters of the first book!

Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott:

Originally published in 1869, Little Women is a wonderful book, and one of my favourites. It is enjoyable, inspiring, and relatable, with wonderful characters. Little Women is about the March family. There are four girls: 16 year old Meg, 15 year old Jo, 13 year old Beth, and 12 year old Amy. Their mother takes care of them mostly by herself, as the girls' father is away at war. Their next-door neighbour is a sweet but mischievous boy named Laurie, who is Jo's age. Over the course of the book, the girls and Laurie must deal with some very realistic problems, such as gossip, money, vanity, anger, illness, missing a family member, death, and romance.

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis:

These books were published in the 50's. I've yet to finish the series, but it is incredibly good! The Chronicles of Narnia is about four siblings, the Pevensies: 13 year old Peter, 12 year old Susan, 10 year old Edmund, and 8 year old Lucy. After being evacuated from London because of the war, they stay in a house where Lucy finds a wardrobe she claims leads to a magical land called Narnia. Her siblings don't believe her, until they too find Narnia. Once there, they learn that there is a prophecy about them helping to defeat a woman called the White Witch. And that's just the first book! There is also a prequel, which is very enjoyable and gives a wonderful backstory.

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne:

Published in 1870, this one is a bit slower paced and more of a challenge to read, but that's not much of a downside because it's so well written! I haven't finished this one yet either, but it's on my list! Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea is about a French man named Professor Pierre Aronnax, who joins the crew of a ship to search for a mysterious sea monster. This massive creature has been destroying ships and is unlike any creature ever seen before. But is the monster what it seems?

If any of these book have piqued your interest, then you'll be glad to know they're all available at the library! Check out Idea Exchange's Recommended Reads Classic booklists. There's still a good amount of the summer left, and that's plenty of time to start a good book!"