So today, in Armchair BEA land, we’re talking about classics and the wonderful books that lie in this sacred space. Classics are my favorite books to read, so I’m more than happy to contribute.
My deep, abiding love for this particular literary section started when I was twelve. I ran out of books to read in my library and my mother, desperate to keep me away from the more “adult” sections told me to read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. She had no idea that the results of such a recommendation would be turning me into a classic bibliophile for life.
While Jane Austen led me to similar classic authors like Charlotte Bronte and Charles Dickens, my Dad led me to another area. Star Wars and other sci-fi (ahem, space opera) movies were sacred in my house and Dad read The Lord of the Rings aloud when I was little. These stories stirred in me a love for science fiction and fantasy. I read Dune and The Silmarillion and all of the Star Wars books in high school and my freshman year in college.
My love for classics has grown in the past couple of years to the point where I actually feel qualified to give you a list of classics from multiple genres. So here’s my list of top 20 classic authors and their genres (and specific books, if I’ve only read one or two).
1. Jane Austen – 18th century, typically categorized as romance, British literature
2. Anne Bronte -18th century romance, British literature
3. Charles Dickens – 18th century suspense, British literature
4. Oscar Wilde – Plays and horror (Dorian Grey?), British literature
5. Ernest Hemingway – American literature (A Moveable Feast)
6. Mark Twain – American literature
7. F. Scott Fitzgerald – American literature
8. Louisa May Alcott – American Literature
9. C. S. Lewis – non-fiction, British fantasy, science fiction
10. J. R. R Tolkien – British fantasy
11. Frances Hodges Burnett – children’s literature
12. Dr. Seuss – children’s literature
13. Orson Scott Card – science fiction
14. Frank Herbert – science fiction
15. J. K. Rowling – children’s literature
16. Edgar Allen Poe – horror, poetry
17. Alfred Lord Tennyson – poetry
18. Sir Walter Scott – 18th century poetry and literature (Ivanhoe)
19. Elizabeth Gaskell – 18th century romance
20. Stephen King – modern horror
So those are my top author recommendations. The two classic books that I recommend to every person living are Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows.
I read these authors over and over again because they always have something to teach me. They’ve walked through the ups and downs of life with me. They’ve given me strength, wisdom, and companionship and they are something I share with hundred of thousands of others who have come before me and walk with me now. I’m partial to older literature because it gives me ideals to aspire toward. Austen and the Brontes have shown me what being a lady really means. Guernsey taught be the value of books and fellowship in times when hope is just a distant memory. I guess I love classics because they’re kind of like a guide book in life. If you can’t find the answer in a classic to one of life’s problems, you can at least find someone to commiserate with.
What do you all think? Any author of book that I’ve forgotten? Let me know in the comments!