It’s coming up to that time of year again, Christmas is nearly upon us and I bet you have a huge list of people to buy presents for and I for one want to be the first to put my hand up and say you should buy them books. And not just any books, but some classics.
Now I know for some people hearing the world classics immediately gives them flashbacks to scary English teachers waving Shakespeare’s plays or Dicken’s novels in their face. But reading the classics doesn’t have to be like an English Literature class.
Books become classic for a reason and no, it’s not just to force hordes of unwilling students to study iambic pentameter and contemplate throwing themselves off Juliet’s balcony instead of listening to her babble on about roses.
A classic is a book that stands the test of time, it’s a book that manages to resonate with audiences from all different ages and backgrounds. It is a book that sheds light on society and life during the time it was published but somehow never manages to feel too separated from the time we live in now. And that is what makes classics so great.
If you’re still not convinced about buying the classics as gifts, think about it like this:
- It’s nearly a guarantee that the person you’re buying for hasn’t read that book because they probably wouldn’t pick it up for themselves
- The story might be written in a language that’s a bit foreign now but at it’s core a classic book has a complex and interesting story with themes anyone can relate too.
- They are often affordably priced.
- Books can get expensive around Christmas, especially when you have a lot of people to buy for and classics come with a bit more bang for your buck than a brand new Christmas hardback.
So which classic do you pick?
I like to think first about the person I’m buying for.
For example, if I’m buying for a friend who loves to watch shows like Criminal Minds and serial killer documentaries on Netflix and you know this because they haven’t stopped talking about Making a Murderer yet, I’d pick something like:
- Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind
- American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
- Dracula by Bram Stoker
- The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
Any of those books would have the same gripping yet disturbing story my friend is used to and would keep them thinking and guessing right to the very end. In fact, if you have a friend who’s into anything crime or mystery or death related most classics will apply to them.
If my friend was someone who lives for the dark post-apocalypse movies that have been flooding the silver screen lately I’d buy something like:
- 1984 by George Orwell
- A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
- Animal Farm by George Orwell
- Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (while not in the Penguin Classics range, this book, in my opinion, is a modern classic)
If they love romance or can’t read or watch anything without knowing if there’s a happy ending. Or maybe they just love a bit of Chick-Lit, you can’t pass up:
- Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
- A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
- Anything by the Bronte Sisters
- Anything by Jane Austen
Cleary by the huge list I just put together there might be a bit more to the classics you once thought.
Next time you pass by the iconic orange book spines in your local bookshops, pause, pick up a few titles and give them a go.
Better yet buy a few and pass them onto your loved ones.
I promise reading a classic without the pressure of being forced to study every word and phrase is a completely different experience and one I know you’ll be surprised by how much you enjoy.
And if you pick up one and don’t love it, that’s okay.
You don’t have to like something just because it’s a classic, but don’t swear off them altogether.
Keep going till you find one you like.
Happy reading ❤