Did you cringe in fear every time your English teacher said “This semester we’ll be reading….“, and then proceeded to trot out some classic novel that sounded like a lot of work?
Take it from us, you are not alone! Reading is rarely fun when it’s being forced upon you. That’s why so many of us are so resistant and resentful about some of the actually great books we’ve been assigned to read.
However now we’re older, and wiser, it might just be time to take a second look at some of those books again… you just might enjoy them!
Payton has put together a list of common classroom classics that are definitely worth a second glance.
1. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger:
I approached this book with trepidation, believing that it would be full of dense sentences I would hardly be able to understand , but with less than two-hundred pages, I felt like I had no excuse to not dip my toe into the classic genre with this book. All of my worries turned out to be irrelevant as this quickly became one of my favourite stories of all time; the stream-of-consciousness writing style Salinger adopts sucked me into Holden’s psyche. If you’re interested in stories that don’t sensationalise mental illness, and elaborate on the issues young adults go through, this book is timeless, relatable, and easy to read.
2. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde:
The language of this novel is slightly less modern than that of The Catcher in the Rye, but the story is so twisted and gothic that I found it to be just as encapsulating. Plus – it’s another short one with less than three-hundred pages!
3. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut:
I just read this for my university literature class , and even researching and writing a series of mini-essays and a major two-thousand word essay hasn’t negated from my love for this book. It is very easy to read, fast-paced, and the story itself is thought-provoking and sadly relevant in today ‘s political climate, where people all around the world become casualties in conflicts they cannot escape.
4. A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams:
Yes, yes, this is a play – I’m still new to the classic genre, too, okay? And I want to keep the running theme of books that are easy to read – we’re still just dipping in our toes! This story is charming, sad, and incredibly aggravating as we see Blanche DuBois struggle with internal and external conflicts and pray that she finds self esteem, inner strength, and happiness.
5. A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen:
This is another play, and like “A Streetcar Named Desire” it deals with a female protagonist who struggles to be independent and respected in a male-dominated world. Both of these stories highlight how far our Western society has progressed in the past century, while also reminding us of what our fore-mothers had to live through and encouraging us to continue fighting for our rights and freedom.
I hope you enjoy these stories. Classic books don’t have to be scary – or boring! ~ Payton