Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Dubbed as the first novel of horror, Frankenstein is the perfect classic read to kick off your book binge. We know that you have probably seen the film versions of Mary Shelley’s spine-chilling novel, but there is nothing quite like reading her vivid descriptions of Frankenstein’s monster for yourself. And, even if you have read Frankenstein before, now seems like the perfect time to delve back into its world of charming and mysterious terror.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Looking for a little romance to cheer you up in these uncertain times? Look no further than Jane Austen’s beloved classic, Pride and Prejudice. Revel in the burgeoning romance between the prideful Mr Darcy and the stubborn Miss Elizabeth Bennet. Again, there are many television and film adaptations of this dashing novel, including the most recent Pride and Prejudice and Zombies! However, Austen’s clever dialogue shines best when read, as you can imagine each character in your mind’s eye, delighting in their wittiness and naivety.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Another female-led narrative, Little Women is scattered with moments of light and shade, offering the reader an emotive journey. Follow the five March sisters, as they come to terms with growing up, falling in love and losing a precious treasure. If you are in need of a good cry to relieve the stress of the current moment, Little Women is a ticket to cathartic relief. Having recently seen Greta Gerwig’s Oscar-nominated adaptation of the novel at cinemas (before COVID-19 took over our lives), we highly recommend reading Louisa May Alcott’s original.
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Does the reality of the COVID-19 outbreak seem somewhat absurd and unreal? Read Joseph Heller’s masterpiece, Catch-22. Set during WWII, the novel follows a disenchanted private, named Yossarian, as he fumbles his way through combat, trying every which way to get himself out of active duty. Tackling issues of sanity, reckless heroism and the selfishness of human nature, Catch-22 is by no means an easy read. However, buried beneath Heller’s difficult storytelling is a hope for shared humanity and a comfort that no matter how absurd things may seem, we can find the courage and strength to carry on. George Clooney’s television adaptation of Catch-22 is also available to stream on Showmax.
Cry The Beloved Country by Alan Paton
South Africa has a rich literary history, well worth getting yourself stuck into while you hole up at home. We recommend starting with the ultimate South African classic - Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton. A story of hardship, community, hope and reconciliation, this is a definite must-read or re-read for those who have scanned its prophetic pages before. Cry the Beloved Country is an ideal read for this period of isolation, as it delivers a message of hope and a nation united as one, which may just be the message we all need to get through the next few months.
Don’t have any good classic reads on hand? Check out our list of top book stores that sell classic works. A few of these stores are likely to be offering contactless delivery services during this period, so keep their details on hand for when the reading bug bites.
Do you have any go-to classic reads? Let us know about them in the comments section below!