As the crisp chill in the fall air turns cold, the dark days of winter are upon us. But these days provide ample opportunity for a cozy retreat indoors and hibernating with a well-loved book or a book you’ve meant to read for some time now. These classic novels are what those cold, dark winter days were made for. From mystery novels and family dramas to books about fantastical worlds and stories of self-discovery, select a book (or three) from this list of classic novels to read this winter!
Pip doesn’t expect much from life…His sister makes it clear that her orphaned little brother is nothing but a burden on her. But suddenly things begin to change. Pip’s narrow existence is blown apart when he finds an escaped criminal, is summoned to visit a mysterious old woman and meets the icy beauty Estella. Most astoundingly of all, an anonymous person gives him money to begin a new life in London. Are these events as random as they seem? Or does Pip’s fate hang on a series of coincidences he could never have expected?
Just after midnight, the famous Orient Express is stopped in its tracks by a snowdrift. By morning, the millionaire Samuel Edward Ratchett lies dead in his compartment, stabbed a dozen times, his door locked from the inside. Without a shred of doubt, one of his fellow passengers is the murderer. Isolated by the storm, detective Hercule Poirot must find the killer among a dozen of the dead man’s enemies, before the murderer decides to strike again.
Written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle between the years 1867 and 1927, the legendary Sherlock Holmes employed his mastery of deductive reasoning and expert sleuthing to solve an array of complex and harrowing cases. From his home–221B Baker Street in London–the legendary Sherlock Holmes (accompanied by his loyal companion and chronicler, Dr. Watson) baffled policemen and became famous worldwide for his remarkable observations and even more eccentric habits.
Right from the start, Bigger Thomas had been headed for jail. It could have been for assault or petty larceny; by chance, it was for murder and rape. Native Son tells the story of this young black man caught in a downward spiral after he kills a young white woman in a brief moment of panic. Set in Chicago in the 1930s, Richard Wright’s powerful novel is an unsparing reflection on the poverty and feelings of hopelessness experienced by people in inner cities across the country and of what it means to be black in America.
Witness the creation of a magical land in The Magician’s Nephew, the first title in C. S. Lewis’s classic fantasy series, which has captivated readers of all ages for over sixty years. On a daring quest to save a life, two friends are hurled into another world, where an evil sorceress seeks to enslave them. But then the lion Aslan’s song weaves itself into the fabric of a new land, a land that will be known as Narnia. And in Narnia, all things are possible.
A gripping, heart-wrenching, and wholly remarkable tale of coming-of-age in a South poisoned by virulent prejudice, it views a world of great beauty and savage inequities through the eyes of a young girl, as her father–a crusading local lawyer–risks everything to defend a black man unjustly accused of a terrible crime.
In Paradise Lost Milton produced poem of epic scale, conjuring up a vast, awe-inspiring cosmos and ranging across huge tracts of space and time, populated by a memorable gallery of grotesques. And yet, in putting a charismatic Satan and naked, innocent Adam and Eve at the centre of this story, he also created an intensely human tragedy on the Fall of Man. Written when Milton was in his fifties – blind, bitterly disappointed by the Restoration and in danger of execution – Paradise Lost’s apparent ambivalence towards authority has led to intense debate about whether it manages to ‘justify the ways of God to men’, or exposes the cruelty of Christianity.
The first three stories in “Dubliners” might be incidents from a draft of “Portrait of the Artist,” and many of the characters who figure in “Ulysses” have their first appearance here, but this is not a book of interest only because of its relationship to Joyce’s life and mature work. It is one of the greatest story collections in the English language–an unflinching, brilliant, often tragic portrait of early twentieth-century Dublin. The book, which begins and ends with a death, moves from “stories of my childhood” through tales of public life. Its larger purpose, Joyce said, was as a moral history of Ireland.
Have you read any of these classic novels?
Are any of these books on your TBR? Have you read any books from this list? What books would you add to this list?