Here are 5 Classic Books to Read Again. A lot of classic books are read in high-school and college, but there are some that are really worth a reread!
Last month I saw that a friend of mine had posted a list on Facebook of 5 classic books to read this year. I thought it was such a good idea!
After looking over my own reads from the past year, I realized that out of the 122 books I read last year, only 3 of them were classics. There’s a reason why some books are still being read over and over again as the decades pass – it’s because they’re great books. I vowed to do better this year and read more classics on purpose.
I decided to read 10 classic books this year. 5 of them will be classics I’ve already read, mostly in high-school or college, and 5 will be classics that are new to me.
Let me make a case for re-reading classics. In 2016 I reread Vanity Fair and The Age of Innocence. Both were books that I had read when I was 19 and heading off to college. I loved the books even back then, but rereading them as an adult with a few more years of life behind me was a completely different experience.
Wharton’s brilliant love triangle and criticisms of upper class society appealed to me on a whole new level. And then there was Thackeray’s Becky Sharp in the novel without a hero. As an adult, I found that I understood and empathized with Becky in a way I never could have as a 19 year old who didn’t know much about anything. With more perspective this time around, I saw Becky for the flawed and wonderful character she was meant to be.
The first time I read those novels, they were just good stories. The second time around, I saw the wisdom and great meaning behind those good stories.
With that in mind, I’m excited to reread classics that I remember enjoying a decade or so ago. I’m excited to see what they might mean to me now. Here are my 5 Classic Books to Read Again.
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5 Classic Books to Read Again
The Brother’s Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
For years, when pressed, I’ve been saying this Russian masterpiece is my favorite book. However, I haven’t read it since I was 20. Fifteen years later . . . we’ll see. I’m also joining the instagram read along for this one with @thejourneybooks. You can see the reading and discussion schedule here. This is a murder mystery and courtroom drama with a tangle of love affairs.
The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
I last read this book the summer between my freshman and sophmore year of college. But I had such a good experience rereading Age of Innocence, that I wanted to try more Edith Wharton. This one is set in New York at the turn of the 19th century – another satirical portrait of America’s high society.
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
I haven’t read this one since high-school. I read it, just for fun, my senior year and I remember feeling like it was the most disturbing and brilliant book I had ever read. I remember even then knowing that the book was deeper than I really understood. I am excited to dig in. This is set in California during the westward migration of early modern America, but it’s a retelling of sorts of the Cain and Abel story from the Bible.
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
I feel certain I’ve read this one . . . and yet, I can’t remember when. Obviously time for a reread. I recently read two retellings of this book that made me want to go back to the original. The first was a sweeping Japanese translation called A True Novel, set in postwar Japan. The second was a new and quirky YA book called Dear Reader in which a Catholic school girl discovers that her favorite English teacher has gone missing and the clues to find her are in an old copy of Wuthering Heights. After those two, I’m ready for the real thing. Bring on the tragic and haunting love story!
Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
I read this in high-school and I probably remember it the better than any of the other books on this list. Of all the classic books to read again, I’m most excited about this one! I can’t detail the plot anymore, but the emotional impact it had on me then is still vivid now. The book follows Tess, a young girl driven by poverty, in 19th century England. She wants to make a connection with wealthy relatives but instead meets her downfall through a series of unfortunate mistakes. All these years later, I do know a little something about making foolish mistakes.
What are your favorite classic books to read again? I’d love to hear what you’ve enjoyed rereading or what you want to read again!
Brilliant! I love this. Can I also make a pitch for you (re)reading Middlemarch and Of Human Bondage.
Yes! I loved both of those books the first time, but it’s been years. Definitely time for a reread soon. Ahh, so many good books so little time.
Count of Monte Christopher :?)
I have that on my shelf, but it looks so thick sitting there – such a time commitment. But, I really do want to read it so thank for the nudge. I haven’t finalized my list of 5 New to Me Classics so this just might make the cut this year . . . finally!
Payneless Photography says
On Instagram you talked about how every time you read one of these books you get something totally new out of it, that’s what made me think of the scriptures LOL. I forgot to mention that part on Instagram haha. A few of these books look rather interesting I may have to read a few. Thanks for the inspiration!