Must-read classic books for a cosy winter
Winter is the ideal season for hibernating and reading. From The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald to Sylvia Plath’s Bell Jar, here are 6 must-read classics to delve into over the coming months.
1.The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
‘In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among whisperings and the champagne and the stars’
Fitzgerald’s critically acclaimed novel immerses you into Jay Gatsby's lavish 1920s parties. The 1926 novel features themes like prohibition, love, loss and extravagance and tells the story of how Gatsby longs to be of significant social standing in order to attain Daisy Buchanan, the woman he has always loved. The novel explores themes surrounding social status, love, social mobility and inheritance. The timeless story is a critical exploration of the American dream, relationships, money and what we aspire to, making it just as relevant today as when it was released.
2.Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
‘If only there could be an invention that bottled up a memory, like scent’
Journeying into mystery, marriage, patriarchy and death, Du Maurier’s 1938 gothic novel follows a young woman who marries a wealthy widower called Max De Winters. After moving to Manderley, the estate where he lives, mysterious incidents begin to take place. Du Maurier’s book is a popular read in the modern day, her writing compelling you to uncover the secrets hidden within its pages. A recent film adaptation on Netflix has also renewed interest in this book.
3.Dracula by Bram Stoker
‘There is a reason why all things are as they are’
Stoker’s 1897 novel follows Jonathon Harker on his quest to defeat Count Dracula. Much of the novel describes the European landscape and explores human hardship through physical surroundings. This ever-present novel is one of the first to explore the vampire figure alongside John Polidori’s The Vampyre, exploring the supernatural, the limitations of knowledge and religion. The strange but intriguing novel is well-known for its notorious character Dracula, and has been inspired many film and television adaptations.
4.Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence
‘We’ve got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen’
A classic love story written in 1928, this novel was subject to trials and censorship, making it a historically significant read. The novel centres around an affair. Connie is married to Clifford, a wealthy man, but despite their socially accepted marriage, she falls in love with their gardener — a working-class man named Oliver Mellors. This novel explores themes such as social class, social mobility, love and infidelity. While the novel was originally published in Italy in 1928, it was not published in Britain until 1960 due to its infamous obscenity trial. Exploring social mobility and expectations, this book is the perfect classic winter read for those who enjoy a romance story.
5.Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
‘The world to me was a secret, which I desired to divine’
Shelley’s haunting novel, Frankenstein, is a classic tale. While many believe Frankenstein is the monster in the story, Frankenstein is actually the doctor who creates the monster. This novel explores humanity and our relationships towards each other while also debating the development of science and technology. The 1818 novel is still so important due to the story's timeless nature and the moral message that we should take care of each other.
6.The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
‘I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am’
Plath’s 'The Bell Jar' explores themes like self-growth, emptiness, the role of women and the human psyche. The semi-autobiographical novel was published in 1963 and was the only novel she wrote. Throughout the book, Plath explores Esther Greenwood's mental decline and recovery and the expectations women had during the 1950s. Criticising the social constraints of the time as well as exploring the challenges of living with a mental illness, this book makes for an engrossing winter read.
Credits for the Main photo: © Unsplash
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