It’s ‘back-to-school’ season and even if you’re a grown up or sans kiddos, you can still feed your brain by mixing some classics into your fall reading list. Fall is the perfect time to curl up in your pajamas with a good book, so make those moments count with these classic literary reads.
Grown-Up Bedtime Stories: Classics to Add to Your Reading List
1. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
If you want a literary classic that is guaranteed to get your blood pumping, look no further than The Count of Monte Cristo. You could technically call this novel the first ‘action movie’ before movies. How’s this for a plot: an innocent man wrongly, but deliberately imprisoned spends his time locked away crafting a brilliant strategy for revenge against all who betrayed him. Should prove to be moderately entertaining!
2. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
In the mood for a wistful fall read? Laugh and cry with Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, the literary classic that follows the four March girls in this tale of poverty, womanhood, and growing up. In short: being a woman is complicated and becoming a woman is even more so.
3. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
A dash of romance in an over-the-top luxe 1920s setting. The Great Gatsby follows the story of eccentric millionaire Jay Gatsby as told by Nick Carraway, a Midwesterner who lives on Long Island but works in Manhattan. Gatsby’s enormous mansion is adjacent to Carraway’s modest home, and Carraway becomes curious about his neighbor after being invited to one of his famous parties. Romance, intrigue, and violence ensue as Gatsby’s intentions are revealed.
4. 1984 by George Orwell
This novel has seen a revival in popularity in recent years. Orwell’s story, published in 1949, unfolds in “futuristic” 1984 Oceania, the totalitarian superpower in post World War II Europe. In this world, most of the world’s population have become victims of perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance and propaganda. This book was the catalyst for Big Brother paranoia. A thrilling, engaging, must-read that is as relevant today as it was 1949.
5. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
A dense and truly epic read, Great Expectations is arguably Charles Dickens’ masterpiece. The tale depicts the personal growth and development of an orphan nicknamed Pip. Be warned, Great Expectations is full of extreme imagery — poverty, prison ships and chains, and fights to the death — and has a colorful cast of characters that have endure in our mainstream popular culture. One for the literary bucket list.
6. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
I mean, it’s fall so you have to watch the movie (any of them, really…) but why not actually read the book this season? A ‘modern’ Romeo and Juliet, this Jane Austen classic is a love story for the ages and perfect read for fall.
7. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Already have your Halloween decorations ready to go? For the horror enthusiasts, dive into the classic of classics, Frankenstein written by Mary Shelley in 1818. You know the general plot based on the book’s lasting portrayal in popular culture, but nothing quite compares experiencing the original tale.
8. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
It doesn’t get more nostalgic than New England in the fall and J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye perfectly captures the old school prep-school vibe. Set around the 1950s, the story is narrated by a young man named Holden Caulfield. Holden untangles his past in a foggy, dreamlike narrative, with a startling surprise at the end.
9. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
In case you’re not familiar with the epic takes that inspired the blockbuster movie of the same name and the Lord of The Kings films, J.R.R. Tolkien expertly crafts an entire universe filled with new races, places, and languages. Follow hobbit Bilbo Baggins as he leaves his quiet life to help a group of dwarves take back the Mountain from a dragon. Adventure awaits.
10. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Ok, so this may not fit your traditional idea of “classic literature,” but this ‘80s comedy science fiction trilogy was an adaptation of Adams’ radio series by the same name. The novel is a fictional guide book for hitchhikers galavanting around the universe with an alien, written in the form of an encyclopedia. A laugh-out-loud funny read that will awaken your childlike curiosity.
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