Saianand Rajaraman

Student after a hiatus. Madras by mind, Mumbai by heart and now Pune by soul. Coffee-gulping hopeless romantic.

A Beginner’s Guide To Reading Classics


There are some stories that come back and forth on the screen of our mind. The quotes of Mark Anthony as he rhetorically asks for the Romans to lend their ears are just out of the world. They keep reverberating in our ears and make us look want for more, as we are hypnotized in the storytelling abilities of these legendary authors.

These legendary classics will lift up your spirits on a low day, be an excellent companion on your long distance train and bus journeys, and bring about a sea change of emotions as you read them again. You see the characters come to life and performing an act in front of you. It is hard to forget as you are mesmerized by the story and you remember the lines verbatim. Such is the ability of these classics to command their undivided attention to the plot, and the story as we come in resonance with the message that it intends to deliver.

For the most of us, these classics is where we started off our reading, and for the rest, this blog is an attempt to make them curious about the list of books in the following non-exhaustive list:

To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

A book heavily adopted by the academic community, this talks about the serious matters of racial inequality, class, courage, compassion, and gender roles using subtle humor and warmth. The prequel to this novel, Go Set a Watchman got published two years ago in 2015, indicating that the love for this book stood the test of time.

The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D.Salinger

A coming-of-age story, originally intended for adults, turned out to be one of the bestselling novels among adolescents of the time. The protagonist was the hero of teenage rebellion, touching upon issues such as innocence, identity, belonging, loss, and connection. These are themes that connected like a spark among teenagers and the fact that this book relates to the present day is the biggest achievement this book could have ever expected.

Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen

One of the most outspoken books on feminism never fails to make you laugh, thanks to the witty yet thought-provoking writing of Jane Austen. A silent yet satirical take on marriage, love, and romance was the best aspect the book was known for. The novel was the base for innumerable adaptations as plays, musicals, and feature films.

The Great Gatsby, by F.Scott Fitzgerald

The book initially got a lot of mixed reviews when it was first published, but its popularity surged during the World War 2. It explores themes such as decadence, idealism, resistance to change, social upheaval, and excess while touching upon the concept of the American dream. It tells the story from the perspective of this mysterious billionaire and the opulence that surrounds him.

Animal Farm, by George Orwell

If only animals could be used to convey the present situation of an alliance between countries, then Animal Farm would be its live example. Orwell’s satirical take on events leading up to the Russian Revolution of 1917, informed his readers of the geopolitical situation of that time. Using this book as a tool to convey his political ideas, Orwell uses his wits to take his readers on a fun trip, one that criticizes the state of the world we live in. This book cannot be missed at any cost.

The Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank

Originally written in Dutch, this is a heartwarming story of Anne Frank, who lived in Nazi-occupied Netherlands. She lived a very short life of 15 years, but her writing touched the hearts of many. She documents her love for family and friends despite being in the tortures of a concentration camp. It’s a heartwarming tale with loads of emotional connect.

Les Misérables, by Victor Hugo

One of the greatest novels of the 19th Century, yet relevant in today’s time is Les Misérables. Following the trail of the struggles of ex-convict Jean Valjean, the novel expresses his feeling of redemption. It also critically analyzes the themes of politics, moral philosophy, antimonarchism, justice, religion, and the types and nature of romantic and familial love. The modern-day adaption as a movie won 3 Oscars and enjoyed as much as 8 nominations for these awards.

War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy

Chronicling historical facts of the French Invasion of Russia through the perspective of five Russian families, the novel gives a new perspective, with every chapter. There are more philosophical interpretations in the book which often gets lost in the guise of narration. The length of the novel was a good choice for subsequent release of multiple adaptations in film, television, music, opera and theatre in the years that followed.

Treasure Island, by R.L.Stevenson

A documented travelogue of the 18th Century, aptly titled Treasure Island, inherently captured the enthusiasm of its readers. It was a coming-of-age adventure novel that talked a lot about the pirate community and the various stereotypes we associate them with. It was a textbook example of excessive dramatization that was completely worth for its powerful characters and gripping action between them.

The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas

The rage of a wrongfully imprisoned man who escapes his captivity to exact revenge on those who cornered him is a one-line synopsis of this book. The historical setting adds a dimension to the narrative that explores themes of hope, justice, vengeance, mercy, and forgiveness. Without a doubt, this is an unmissable novel.

A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens

We complete this list with this classic from Mr.Dickens. Ebenezer Scrooge’s personality undergoes drastic transformation after his encounters with three ghosts. These are ghosts that represented Christmas traditions, and ghosts who stood for the enlightenment of the protagonist. There is an interesting commentary on the view of the elite on the destitute and the downtrodden, which still remains to the present day.

Did you enjoy these books as much as we did? Drop your comments on the books we missed out on the list! Until then, keep reading and don’t forget to subscribe to Booksom.


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