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Top 15 Must Read Classics

Top 15 Must Read Classics

A ‘Classic’ is a book that remains relevant even with changing times. An exemplary work of fiction that represents its time and is recognized through generations is what we consider as ‘classics’.
Here’s a list of 15 such classics novels that are a must read for everyone.

Novel – Pride And Prejudice
Author – Jane Austen
Genre – Romance
Year – 1813

Set up in the Regency Era of Britain, the novel tells the tale of probably the most popular characters in the history of English Literature – Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett. Escape the chaos of the modern world and experience this classic romance that also focuses on societal customs, beliefs, courtship and a lot of humor despite its male protagonist being quite a humorless character.


Novel – Wuthering Heights
Author – Emily Bronte
Year – 1847
Genre – Gothic Fiction/Romance

Regarded as one of the darkest love stories ever written, Wuthering Heights is set in a pseudo medieval era period and is the only existing novel penned by Emily Bronte. This harrowing tale of love is a mixture of indescribable passion, extreme revenge and rivalry. The primary characters of Heathcliffe and Catherine are quite consuming with Heathcliffe probably being the source of today’s concept of ‘anti hero’.


Novel – Great Expectations
Author – Charles Dickens
Year – 1861
Genre – Bildungsroman

The novel will take you on a journey of rags to riches as its main protagonist Philip Pirrip or Pip, an orphan, goes through the trials and tribulations of life. From poverty to prison, from love to mystery, Great Expectations has an extraordinary blend of elements that make it a universally acclaimed novel.


Novel – The Great Gatsby
Author – F. Scott Fitzgerald
Year – 1925
Genre – Psychological Fiction

With high profile parties and extravagant life style, Fitzgerald takes you on a ride with millionaire Jay Gatsby and his earning to earn the attention of his lost love, Daisy Buchanan.
The novel is regarded as a magnum opus and is also listed as one among the ‘Great American Novel’.


Novel – To Kill A Mockingbird
Author – Harper Lee
Year – 1960
Genre – Bildungsroman/Thriller

Part of curriculum in American High Schools, To Kill A Mockingbird is regarded as a ‘classic of modern American Literature’. Set up as a fiction in the ‘Deep South’ zone of USA, the book heavily deals with the ‘racial inequality’ and social injustice in America. The British Library in 2006, recommended the book as a novel ‘every adult should read before they die’, a rank that’s said to be ahead of the Bible.


Novel – Frankenstein
Author – Mary Shelly
Year – 1818
Genre – Horror

Perhaps one of the earliest science fictions, Mary Shelly’s novel is all about Victor Frankestein who creates a ‘Creature’ during a scientific experiment in his laboratory. A novel that has inspired several movies, series and adaptations over the years, is probably one of the most relatable story of clash between creator and creation and science and nature that is relevant even today.


Novel – Little Women
Author – Louisa May Alcott
Year – 1868
Genre –Coming of Age

Four sisters along with their mother face the difficulties of life and emerge as strong women dealing with every adversity coming their way and struggling to fulfill their ambitions – Little Women by Louisa May Alcott “has been read as a family drama that validates virtue over wealth”.


Novel – The Picture Of Dorian Gray
Author – Oscar Wilde
Year – 1890
Genre – Gothic/ Philosophical

The novel was quite a surprise for the readers and critics back in the 1890s. Dorian, a handsome young man who never wants to age but his portrait starts to age bearing the mark of his ‘cruelty ‘and narcissist nature. Set up in the Victorian Age, The Picture Of Dorian Gray is a fantastic tale of corruption and morality.


Novel – Sense And Sensibility
Author – Jane Austen
Year – 1811
Genre – Romance

Middle class life of the 19th century with focus on a family of a mother and three sisters forms the crux of Sense and Sensibility. The story also is a satirical work on romance as it goes on to tell the tale of love of one of the sisters, Marianne DashwoodwithElinor.


Novel – Jane Eyre
Author –Charlotte Bronte
Year – 1847
Genre – Romance

Jane Eyre is regarded by many as one of the best classics with the idea of feminism at its core. Charlotte Bronte was regarded as ‘first historian of the private consciousness’ after the novel was published. Jane and Mr. Rochester’s story written in the first person narrativestyle is considered by critics as a novel that was penned much ahead of its time.


Novel – Dracula
Author – Bram Stoker
Year – 1897
Genre – Horror

Dracula is the real source behind the numerous vampire fantasies we get to read or watch today. The story revolves around the man ‘Count Dracula’ who moves to England in his quest to spread the ‘undead curse’. However, he is stopped by a group of men and women led by Prof. Abraham Van Helsing.


Novel – Gone With The Wind
Author – Margaret Mitchell
Year – 1936
Genre – Bildungsroman

Gone With The Win is a coming of age story with principal focus on the character of Scarlett O’Hara, daughter of a rich plantation owner and her struggles in life during the course of the American Civil War. The title of the novel is picked from one of the poems written by Ernest Dowson.


Novel – Alice In Wonderland
Author – Lewis Caroll
Year – 1865
Genre – Fantasy

Alice, a little girl of seven years goes ‘down the rabbit hole’ to reach a fantasy world and meet creatures that were unknown to her. The novel is not only popular among children but adults too across the globe.


Novel – Tale of Two Cities
Author – Charles Dickens
Year – 1869
Genre – Historical

The story is set in Paris and London. It tells the tale of a doctor who gets imprisoned in France and later shifts to London to live with his daughter after 18 years. Through his eyes Charles Dickens set the plot and described how the French Revolution took place in France.


Novel – Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Author – Harriet Elisabeth Beecher Stowe
Year – 1852
Genre – Political Fiction

Uncle Tom’s Cabin is probably one book written by an American author that formed a part of Indian school curriculum too. The novel played a crucial role in raising anti-slavery slogans in USA and also is regarded to have ‘helped lay the groundwork for Civil War’.


Note: iLEAD Street Library is a first-of-its-kind movement of setting up a chain of Street Libraries across the city, initiated by iLEAD, Kolkata. It provides every people free books and makes it accessible at every corner of the city. You may find us in these locations. Come, visit us and be a part of this book loving community.

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