Top 10: Classics

*a.k.a. obligatory reads in school rock. 
**in no particular order, because that's like picking a favourite child. 
***also, I will try to talk about stuff that I haven't spoke about before. Enjoy!

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
My obsession with realistic novels came just in time, giving the fact that there are two film adaptations out that kind of relate with this novel (Madame Bovary, which is completely based upon this novel and apparently, it's quite good and Gemma Bovery, which is a modern version and apparently, not that bad either). It's about a young girl called Emma, who grew up in a monastery, reading loads of love novels. She develops quite an extreme vision of life as a married woman; everything will be exciting, lots of love, lots of heartbreak and stuff like that. When she actually gets married, she realises that real life isn't like the one in the novels, so she decides to make it like that. She starts having affairs right under her husbands' nose and it's the moral downfall of Madame Bovary. 
This is one of those texts you study at school and you kind of suspect how it will end, but regardless, this is an amazing novel. Granted, Emma is a very, very annoying character, but everything is so incredibly written and I can't urge you enough to read it. Some passages are just unbelievable and make my heart melt. Go read it. 

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Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen
This might be one of the few plays that I've actually fallen in love with the moment I read it, because it's amazing and a bit weird at the same time (and you know I love me some weird stuff in my life). It's a very short drama from (again) the period of realism. It's about a woman called Helene; she's an older woman who was very unhappily married, purely for the sake of money. Her husband died a decade ago, so in his "honour" (read: wish to get rid of his money so that her son will inherit her own money only), she decides to build a children's orphanage. For this lavish occasion, her son Osvald comes home from Paris. In this unhappy occasion, Helene realises that her son inherited much more from his dead father than his blood only and again, it's the moral downfall to the whole family. 
Again, I studied this text at school (and even wrote an essay on it; perhaps it was one of the most exciting days of my life... yes, I'm that weirdo), but I highly urge you to read this play, purely because it's incredibly gripping and the relationships between all of these people are beyond incredible. Also, yes to feminism, because Ibsen actually wrote this play to show his critics what married life looks like if the wife doesn't leave it and emancipates herself. (He did actually talk a lot about women's rights in his plays and that's what makes them even more interesting!) 
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald
If you have, by any chance, seen The Curious Case of Benjamin Button with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, then yes, this is the book version. I didn't know this was a work by Fitzgerald and I couldn't pass on it. It's about a couple, living just after the war. They get a child, only to find out that the child wasn't born a baby, but an 90-year-old man named Benjamin Button. First, they can't believe it, but then, they come to terms with it; our baby looks like my grandfather. As the child gets older, his appearance starts to look younger and younger. Instead of ageing like we do, he ages in reverse. It's a story of his life. 
It's a very gripping and interesting read; just to see how his father and mother dealt with having a child that looks like a grandfather, how his life goes on rather normally, but then again, it isn't normal. It's a very strange topic for a novella and it was written in the 1920's. Props to Fitzgerald for coming up with that.

The Necklace by Guy De Maupassant
Again, school obligatory reads are freaking awesome. The Necklace tells the story of a Madame Loisel and her husband. Her husband is an office clerk that works at a ministry of some sorts. They're not the richest and even though her husband tries to make her happy, Madame Loisel is not at all happy. One day, though, when they get invited to a lavish and rich party, where she would finally have the chance to enjoy the life she had wanted, the Madame doesn't want to go, because she has nothing to wear. When she comes up with a dress and a borrowed diamond necklace from a friend, they go to the party and have a wonderful time. However, when the couple comes home, they realise that the necklace is gone. In the end, the couple borrows some money and she has returns a diamond necklace, worth 36.000 francs to her friend and the 10 years of misery begin. 
Something worth noting about Maupassant's short stories; the endings are very effed up. I urge you to read this, because at the end, you're just face-palming yourself for about half an hour. Also, if you're a fan of Flaubert's writing, then I think you will enjoy this. The style is very similar and it's simple to read, yet really interesting.

Found here
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
The latest addition to my Jane Austen pile is perhaps her second most loved novel of all time. It's about two sisters, Elinor and Marianne, who have a very different opinion and view on love. At the beginning, the family goes bankrupt and the two sisters are forced to move into a small cottage near the sea. Unfortunately, Elinor is in love with a really nice brother of the bitch that took their house (to put it nicely) and they have to separate, leaving her pretty damn desperate. Her sister Marianne falls in love with this young, charming man that saves her one day from falling down a hill, twisting her ankle. This young man named Willoughby, however, is a piece of trash. The whole novel shows how they deal with heartbreak and separation each in their own way and how it leads them to a happy ending. It's Austen, we can't have a sad ending. 
As all Austen novels, it's very British, there are a lot of walks into the nature, lots of reading, lots of independent female characters and all that stuff. This is a very light read, compared to some of her other novels, which can be a bit sad and dark and hopeless and doomed (read: Persuasion). If you want a film or TV adaptation for this... go for the BBC mini series. The film is nowhere near as good as the series is. Watch it. Now. 

Lord Arthur Saville's Crime by Oscar Wilde
I have tried delving into The Picture Of Dorian Grey before, however... I am not quite there just yet. However, when I saw this Penguin Little Black Classics edition for 90 cents... let's just say I couldn't say no. It's a short story about Lord Arthur Saville, who one evening meets a chiromantist, who tells him that it's his destiny to be a murderer. He wants to marry, but he once again delays his wedding to fulfil his destiny of becoming a murderer. And so, he decides to poison one of his elderly aunts with a little pill and the story unravels.
This story was first published in a collection of mysteries, so this does not go the way you imagine it at all. It's a very well written short story that, of course, is very overlooked, but it's still pretty freaking amazing and giving the fact that it was some 90 cents... hell yes. I will take it. (Generally, this collection is pretty amazing at uncovering other unknown works by other very well known writers. Definitely check them out!)

Found here.
Hamlet by William Shakespeare
Because fuck you, I love me some Shakespeare. Hamlet is the Crown Prince of Denmark and his father dies. One evening, he sees his fathers' ghost and he tells him that he was murdered by his uncle. However, nobody believes that to be true, because his uncle has married Gertrude, Hamlet's mother and now, he's the king. Now it is up to Hamlet to prove Claudius' guilt, but he does it in a rather special way, making him lose a lot on the way.
This is probably the weirdest play I've ever read; partially because the language is so much more different to anything else I've ever read and because the characters are so different and wonderful. Hamlet, as a character, is so introspective and philosophical, but then in the end, he's devoted and strong and it's just the biggest mess of an existential crisis I've ever seen and I love it to bits.

Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin
I don't know about you, but I have a thing about European romantic literature and when we read this in school... it is ridiculous how much I loved it. Onegin is notebook case of resignation for you; he lives in Sankt Peterburg, where he goes to balls, sleeps all day, parties and that is it. His life is quite dull and he hates it, until one day, he inherits a rather large estate from his uncle on the countryside. He goes there and meets a young poet called Lensky. There, they both meet Olga and Tatyana, who are two very different sisters; Olga is very vain and very outgoing, whereas Tatyana is very introverted and shy, yet very passionate. And boy, do things start to heat up when Tatyana develops a crush on Onegin.
Even though this is technically considered a novel and it is a novel by all means, it's written in verses, making it a lot easier to read and a lot easier to express all the emotions and I love it to pieces, because it is different in some way. I think this, in a way, is the beginning to all the stories in which the guy is a complete idiot and insufferable, yet the girl can't help but fall in love with him. This, however, doesn't end that typically, so it's very enjoyable and still, different.

A Room With A View by E.M. Forster
Yes, I had to throw it in there, don't judge me, OK? It's probably my all-time favourite novel in the history of the world. It's about a young girl called Lucy Honeychurch who goes to Florence on a holiday. There, she's set up in the most horrible pension on Earth, alongside a bunch of really bizzare people; a lady novelist, two old spinsters, a radical journalist and his son and a conservative English priest. In Florence, she has a bit of a fling with a certain somebody and because of that, she runs away from Italy back home. Fast forward a year later, she's engaged to be married to a very stuck-up old gentleman who is perhaps the most boring person on the planet. When the radical journalist and his son rent a house near Lucy, memories come rushing back and it's all kinds of adorable.
I can't find more good things to say about this novel; it has just the right amount of hope and hopelessness in it to make it the perfect rom-com after Shakespeare. I definitely recommend this novel more than anything on the planet, just because it's so quick to read and it's all kinds of adorable.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
I have a feeling I still don't bant on this book enough, so here we go! Nick Carraway, a young and poor businessman rents a house in New York City, in the West Egg, where all the upcoming party men live with their borrowed or obtained from suspicious sources money. He lives next to a Mr Gatsby who throws lavish parties each evening for no particular reason. When he meets Mr Gatsby and when he realises that his cousin is his long lost love, Daisy, he asks him to arrange a meeting between them. And then, things start spiralling out of control.
Why I love this thing so much is generally because of the writing and the things that the characters say. It's so interesting to observe the ideas of the people back then and what they though about, I don't know, black people and giving them the same rights and slavery and all that jazz. It's incredibly fascinating, but other than that, it's brilliantly written, so I definitely recommend this as well!


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