I am a firm believer that while we might only have one life to live, we can live a thousand and more by immersing ourselves in books. Books can open our eyes to a wider world and experience. They make us think and they fulfill us emotionally. One thing I think is important, as an addict of the written word, is to honor the classics. There are so many that could be listed here, but for the sake of time we’ll stick with five. Here they are, in no particular order:
1. Anne Of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Of course this is on the list! This book has been inspiring people since 1908, with the story of the freckled faced orphan with an indelible spirit. It is heartwarming, funny and timeless classic. If you haven’t read it yet, it is definitely one that should be on your to read list. Heck, even if you have read it, it is definitely worth multiple re-reads.
2. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
Northanger Abbey is Jane Austen’s most underrated book. It is also, in my opinion, her best. Seriously. Pride and Prejudice might be first in most people’s hearts, but for classics it cannot match the bemusing story of Catherine Morland and her imaginings of murdered Mothers and haunted Abbeys. The book is Austen’s shortest and is a great read on a slow spring night.
3. North And South by Elizabeth Gaskell
After reading this book I thought about it for a straight week and how it’s such a reflection of societal issues. First published in 1855, the book gives a fairly balanced portrayal of the relations between employers and workers in Northern England during the industrial revolution. North And South is a great classic read, if a little long.
4. Slaughter House Five by Kurt Vonnegut
This is the strangest book I have ever read. The first time I read it I had to put it down multiple times and ask myself if I had really read that last passage right. But it has a certain magnetism that is hard to ignore. Slaughter House Five, published in 1969, is the story of Billy Pilgrim, his time in World War II and his strange time and space adventures that occur during and after the war. It is satirical and moving.
5. The Wars by Timothy Findley
The Wars is more what would be considered a ‘modern classic’ but I felt it deserved a place in this list, as it is quite possibly the best book I have ever read. Published in 1977, The Wars is the story of a young Canadian officer in World War I and the desperation being at War drives him to. Findley’s writing is very engaging, heartbreaking and witty and is a perfect example of historiographic metfiction.