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10 Outstanding Classic Books for Beginners

Updated on December 3, 2019
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Classic literature constitutes a notable piece of work that has enduring quality over the years. It is accessible and timeless. But still classic literature is usually not on a leisure reader's list.

Classics are perceived to be written in difficult, ornamental language and so many don't prefer to read them. Largely wasted on high schoolers who have to read classics as a part of curriculum or those in college who opt for English literature as a subject, the classics remain for many an untapped source for knowledge.

Classics abound in many genres and eras. You could spend your whole life reading the golden reservoir of classic literature. Here are 10 classic novels that are perfect for beginners and can help one get started on a never-ending journey into the literary excellence that classic literature offers:


1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice is a timeless classic which centers around the Bennet family with five unmarried daughters. Their familial estate has been promised over to a male line descendant of the family. So the mother is in constant fear of losing their home and like every loving mother, she wants to marry off her daughters to rich suitors. When the rich Mr. Darcy comes to town, the perfect opportunity is foreseen, the action commences and we're left with this delightfully wonderful tale.



A lady's imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.

— Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

2. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

We've all probably read about Alice's adventures as a child and if not then, at least have heard about Alice. It would be wrong to dismiss it as just children's book as children's literature can give us a whole new perspective when read as an adult. Alice's adventurous journey begins when she sees a white rabbit wearing a waistcoat. Finding it queer, she starts following it and soon she falls into a rabbit hole and finds herself in the wonderland. There are intriguing creatures she meets and unique experiences she gathers.

The book when read as an adult, seems to be a metaphor for life. It is thoroughly enjoyable and also teaches us that it is always good to be imaginative and to believe that we're all a little mad.

3. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley was just 18 years old at the time of writing this novel. She wrote the book on a bet with a number of renowned literary genius. Shelley shows her writing prowess and historical knowledge in the story of Victor Frankenstein- a young scientist who creates a hideous sapient creature in an unorthodox scientific experiment. Frankenstein is not just a Gothic thriller but also a cautionary tale on the boundless powers of science.

Learn from me, if not by my precepts, at least by my example, how dangerous is the acquirement of knowledge, and how much happier that man is who believes his native town to be his world, than he who aspires to become greater than his nature will allow.

— Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

4. A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens

This classic from Charles Dickens is a novella about the mean-spirited, miserly old man named Ebenezer Scrooge. His personality undergoes drastic transformation after his encounters with three ghosts who represented Christmas traditions. There is an interesting commentary on the views of the elite on the destitute and the downtrodden, which still remains to the present day.

5. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Brontë’s eerie and obsessive love story about Catherine and Heathcliff still resonates with readers today. This doomed romance is a literary masterpiece. The tormented love and grief between Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw continues to inspire writers even today. Wuthering Heights is a masterpiece of Gothic fiction and has catapulted .Emily Brontë into the league of Literary genius.

6. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Mark Twain's most famous novel delves into a number of social issues like racism, war, religion and so much more. Huckleberry Finn is synonymous with American literature. It tells the story of an orphan boy and runaway slave in the Southern United States. Twain delved into the heart of so many important moral issues like slavery, abuse and corruption through this story which on the surface seems like a simple adventure. It has achieved the status of a foundational classic.

7. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Literary excellence seemed to run in the Brontë family. Written by Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre was an incredible breakthrough for an English novel at the time. The reader is brought into a very personal account of the story right from the very beginning. Jane Eyre is regarded as one of literature’s steeliest heroines. She has overcome a traumatic childhood only to be challenged by secrets, strange noises and mysterious fires in her new home at Thornfield Hall. And that's not all, she falls in love with her employer, Mr Rochester. Jane Eyre is a Gothic masterpiece which was groundbreaking due to its intimate use of the monologues.


If all the world hated you and believed you wicked, while your own conscience approved of you and absolved you from guilt, you would not be without friends.

— Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

8. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is a classic novel about adventure and magic. It tells the story of little Dorothy Gale when she and her dog, Toto, are caught up in a cyclone They are whisked away from their Kansas farm and find themselves in the land of Oz. Here they meet a host of colorful characters including the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodsman, and the Cowardly Lion. Together they travel to the Emerald city to meet the celebrated Wizard. The novel is a beautiful,heartwarming stale of friendship and bravery.

9. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird is told through the point of view of the 6 year-old Scout Finch. It recounts a crime that rocks her Alabama hometown. African American Thom Robinson is accused of raping a young white woman. Scout’s father, Atticus Finch, is the lawyer who is appointed to represent Robinson. The novel looks critically at social issues of class and race with humor and brutal honesty .

10.The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway

The Old Man and the Sea is a short novel which is fierce and full of vibrant energy. The story centers around an aging fisherman who engages in an epic battle to catch a giant marlin. This standard “man against nature” story is told with such craft that it has become a timeless classic.

Which is your favorite book out of the following:

See results

Pride & Prejudice Official Trailer #1 - Keira Knightley Movie (2005) HD

© 2019 Shaloo Walia

Comments

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    • swalia profile imageAUTHOR

      Shaloo Walia 

      19 months ago from India

      Thanks Umesh ji.

    • bhattuc profile image

      Umesh Chandra Bhatt 

      19 months ago from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India

      Nice article. Well presented. Thanks.

    • swalia profile imageAUTHOR

      Shaloo Walia 

      21 months ago from India

      Thank you, conscious dreamer.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      21 months ago from london

      Great expectations, Tom Jones ... lots more

    • Haleema Bibi profile image

      Rêveuse Consciente 

      21 months ago from Pakistan

      Your list is nice Shaloo. I have read few of them and planning to read more. My favourite is the old man and the sea by Ernest Hemingway. Good read!

    • swalia profile imageAUTHOR

      Shaloo Walia 

      21 months ago from India

      @Manatita I haven't read the other ones you mentioned. Will check them out.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 

      21 months ago from london

      I like them all, except Harper Lee's. Perhaps it came too late for me. Dickens and Twain are my favourites.

      So good of you to highlight these great books. Others are Lord of the Flies; The Grapes of Wrath; The Duchess of Malfi and more. Om Shanti!

    • swalia profile imageAUTHOR

      Shaloo Walia 

      21 months ago from India

      @Devika Great!

    • swalia profile imageAUTHOR

      Shaloo Walia 

      21 months ago from India

      @JC Scull Thank you! Frankenstein is an awesome book indeed.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      21 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway is among other books on this list of my favorite and enjoyed the rest as well.

    • JC Scull profile image

      JC Scull 

      21 months ago from Gainesville, Florida

      Good Article Shaloo. Of course, we all have our personal favorites, and out of this list mine is Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. I am somewhat fascinated by the creation of monsters, since they are always representative by the author's perceived ills, whether external in society or within oneself. Thank you for sharing.

    • swalia profile imageAUTHOR

      Shaloo Walia 

      21 months ago from India

      Alice in Wonderland is such a beautiful book to start with. Loved by children and adults alike!

    • alocsin profile image

      Aurelio Locsin 

      21 months ago from Orange County, CA

      I've read about half of these books and I'm glad to see that my favorite, Alice in Wonderland, made it to the list.

    • swalia profile imageAUTHOR

      Shaloo Walia 

      21 months ago from India

      I agree, Abitha! All three of them make for fantastic reads. Elizabeth Bennet & Jane Eyre were among the best literary heroines.

    • swalia profile imageAUTHOR

      Shaloo Walia 

      21 months ago from India

      @Venkatachari ji that's great...I wasn't aware that you are a published author.

    • Abitha Deepak profile image

      Abitha 

      21 months ago from Chennai, Tamilnadu

      There are so many favourites in this list Shaloo. The top 3 being Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre. There are paragraphs that you can read over and over again and remain awed with how the words are weaved! Thanks for the nostalgic read.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      21 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      I, actually, can't give more than one hour for reading a novel. I do it during my after-lunch rest between 2:30 to 3:30 pm. Sometimes 45 minutes, sometimes for one hour.

      My time-table is fixed. I get up at 6or 6:15 am. and go to sleep at 10:45 pm normally. And, everything is scheduled within that period. I sit at the computer from 11:30 to 1:30, then from 4 to 5:30 pm and in the night from 9:45 to 10:40 pm. I am working on a novel for around 2 hours daily. The other time at the computer is for browsing. I hope you know about one book published by me dealing with Economics on the Amazon platform.

    • swalia profile imageAUTHOR

      Shaloo Walia 

      21 months ago from India

      @Venkatachari ji I try to read 3-4 books a month. I have taken Goodreads challenge to read minimum forty books this year and I am on my 33rd book now. Taking up a challenge has made me more committed towards reading.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      21 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      Your list looks very good. But, I haven't read any of them. I have hard copies of two books for many years that were purchased by my son- Pride and Prejudice, and To Kill a Mocking Bird. I will read them soon. Overall, I have around 50 books with me out of which 30 have been read by me till now. Just now, I am reading Judge and Jury which will be completed in 3, 4 days. Normally I take one month to complete a book of 450 pages.

    • swalia profile imageAUTHOR

      Shaloo Walia 

      21 months ago from India

      @Dora I am glad you liked it.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      21 months ago from The Caribbean

      Haven't read all, but those on the list that I have read are excellent choices. Thanks for compiling the list. Very helpful.

    • swalia profile imageAUTHOR

      Shaloo Walia 

      21 months ago from India

      You're welcome Linda.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      21 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I've read most of these books, but not all of them. I love them. As you say, they are a golden reservoir. Thank you for sharing the list, Shaloo. I'll read the books that I've missed soon.

    • swalia profile imageAUTHOR

      Shaloo Walia 

      21 months ago from India

      My pleasure, Lora. We often avoid reading classic literature thinking that it will be way too difficult to read. These books can serve as a good introduction.

    • swalia profile imageAUTHOR

      Shaloo Walia 

      21 months ago from India

      Glad you enjoyed the hub, Prantika... thanks!

    • swalia profile imageAUTHOR

      Shaloo Walia 

      21 months ago from India

      @Bill hahaha...but you are indeed a scholar :)

    • swalia profile imageAUTHOR

      Shaloo Walia 

      21 months ago from India

      @Alexander It's my all time favorite.

    • Lora Hollings profile image

      Lora Hollings 

      21 months ago

      What a great list you selected to introduce the young as well as old into the awesome world of literary classics! I think what makes these books classic is that their messages and great insight about life, about our society, and about the human condition are as relevant today as they were when they were written. You did a great job in summarizing these books. Thanks for sharing!

    • Prantika Samanta profile image

      Prantika Samanta 

      21 months ago from Kolkata, India

      Thank you for sharing the list of the books and their description. A wonderful read.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      21 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I've read them all, so I'm feeling quite scholarly right now. :)

    • Guckenberger profile image

      Alexander James Guckenberger 

      21 months ago from Maryland, United States of America

      'Pride and Prejudice' is so well written! I love that book.

    • swalia profile imageAUTHOR

      Shaloo Walia 

      21 months ago from India

      Yes, Louise. They are perfect for the beginner's.

    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 

      21 months ago from Norfolk, England

      There's so many good books here, and classics too! To Kill a Mockingbird is a really good book.

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