Top 5 books in classical literature

This is a series of posts with reviews on the top 5 books in classical literature, in my opinion.

Part 1 –  Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

 https://lauranuala.wordpress.com/category/authors-a-z/dickens-charles/

Part 2 – Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

https://lauranuala.wordpress.com/category/authors-a-z/bronte-charlotte/

Part 3 – Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

https://lauranuala.wordpress.com/category/authors-a-z/bronte-emily/

Part 4 – Pride and Prejudice – by Jane Austen

https://lauranuala.wordpress.com/category/authors-a-z/austen-jane/

Part 5 – Dracula by Bram Stoker

https://lauranuala.wordpress.com/category/authors-a-z/stoker-bram/

Advertisements

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Possibly one of the most influential books ever. Put this one top of your reading list. Stoker created something beautifully disturbing here. Read on.

Main characters:

  • Count Dracula – The vampire
  • Jonathan Harker – A young solicitor. Engaged to Mina Murray
  • Mina Murray – Assistant schoolmistress. Jonathan’s fiancée
  • Miss Lucy Westenra – Mina Murray’s close friend
  • Dr. John Steward – Head of a lunatic asylum

Themes:

  • Sex
  • Modernity
  • Confinement

Why read Dracula?

Dracula is a book about the consequences of modernity in the Victorian era. It’s an absolute must read for anyone interested in Gothic literature. And anyone who wants to see where the modern day vampire evolved from.

Opening:

The book opens with Jonathan Harker, a young English solicitor, travelling to Transylvanian to finalize a real estate contract with the mysterious Count Dracula.

Harker receives warnings by locals of his destination. They give him crucifixes and other charms against evil. Harker is scared but determined to conduct his business.

oh-hell-no-giphy

Credit: ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com

Harker meets Count Dracula’s carriage as arranged and journeys to the Count’s castle.

Harker soon realizes he’s a captive of the count and attempts to escape.

Middle:

Dracula leaves Transylvania with 50 boxes of earth, set for England.

Harker’s fiancée Mina visits Lucy at the seaside town of Whitby. A ship is wrecked on the shore. The crew is missing, the captain dead.

Mina finds Lucy sleepwalking soon after. She believes she saw a dark figure with red eyes bent over Lucy.

Lucy has two tiny red marks on her neck that Mina can’t account for.

Lucy dies after a wolf attacks her. (is that really the end of Lucy?)

End:

Lucy becomes one of the “un-dead” and is caught preying on children. She is killed again.

Harker and his companions join forces and agree to destroy Dracula.

gianni_lunadei_interpretando_al_conde_dracula

Will Harker and co kill Dracula? What of Mina? Are you scared yet?

Read it.

Follow this link for a cheap version of the book.

Watch the movie trailer for the 1992 version here.

Clip Credit: YouTube user – ryy79

Favourite quote: 

“There is a reason why all things are as they are.” 

Reccomendations:

I honestly recommend everything to try this book. It had such a huge impact on literature and film, even now it still has an impact.

Stoker broke boundaries with this one.

5 out of 5 cup rating. 

This is part 5 in a series of 5 posts.

Part 1 –  Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

https://lauranuala.wordpress.com/category/authors-a-z/dickens-charles/

Part 2 – Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

https://lauranuala.wordpress.com/category/authors-a-z/bronte-charlotte/

Part 3 – Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

https://lauranuala.wordpress.com/category/authors-a-z/bronte-emily/

Part 4 – Pride and Prejudice – by Jane Austen

https://lauranuala.wordpress.com/category/authors-a-z/austen-jane/

 

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

This book is a mixed bag – the characters are, on the most part, detestable. Its a novel about revenge and a demonic romance. It’s a must read for any fans of the Brontë sisters – just because.

Main characters:

  • Nelly Dean – Main Narrator
  • Lockwood – Sub Narrator
  • Heathcliff – Orphan taken in by Mr. Earnshaw. Loves Catherine desperately, married to Isabella Linton
  • Isabella Linton – Edgars sister and Heathcliff wife
  • Catherine – Heathcliffs childhood sweetheart. Married to Edgar Linton
  • Edgar Linton – Catherines husband
  • Mr. Earnshaw – Catherine and Hindleys father, adopted Heathcliff
  • Hindley Earnshaw -Mr. Earnshaws son, Catherines brother

(This is not a full character list – just the most significant)

Themes:

  • Revenge
  • Love and Obsession
  • Belonging
  • Social Class

Why read Wuthering Heights?

You should read Wuthering Heights, if you’re a romantic or someone who enjoys vengeful complex characters.

Opening: 

It opens with the narrator Lockwood visiting his landlord in Wuthering Heights(WH). He is baffled by the behavior of the occupants. Whilst at WH, the weather becomes wild and Lockwood is forced to stay overnight.

He stays in Catherines old bedroom. He finds some of her old diaries and reads through them. Lockwood experiences something supernatural whilst in the room; this both scares and intrigues him. Once home in Thrushcross Grange he begs his servant to tell him about the occupants of WH.

Middle:

Mr. Earnshaw – the then owner of WH brings home an orphan from London – Heathcliff. His son and daughter, Hindley and Catherine detest this newcomer. Hindley is vicious and cruel to him. However Catherine quickly comes to love him deeply.

Heathcliff and Catherine play together on the moors and are oblivious to any one else. Until, they meet the Lintons. Catherine becomes ill one day and has to spend 5 weeks at Thrushcross Grange. By the time she leaves she is infatuated with Edgar. She starts to spend less time with Heathcliff and more with Edgar. Heathcliff hears her say one day that she could never marry him. He leaves for three years.

Climax:

In the time he’s gone, Catherine and Edgar marry. A romance doomed. Heathcliff returns sporting a mysterious fortune. He loans money to his enemy Hindley, because he knows he will drown himself in debt and drink. Hindley dies and Heathcliff inherits the estate of WH.

Cathy and Heathcliff

Catherine and Heathcliff

Heathcliff marries Isabella Linton. Catherine dies giving birth to Edgars son. Heathcliff is distraught and begs her spirit to stay on earth.

End:

Heathcliff vows revenge on Edgar Linton – the man who stole his soul mate.

What of Catherines ghost? What of her child? What lengths will Heathcliff go to exact his revenge?

Read it to find out.

Follow this link for a cheap version of the book.

Watch part 1 and 2 of the 2009 remake of the movie here.

 

Favourite quote:

If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger.” -Catherine

Reccomendations: 

I would recommend this book to Brontë fans, obviously. And to people with the believe that love can redeem the worst of people.

3 out of 5 cup rating.

This is part 3 in a series of 5.

Part 1 –  Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

https://lauranuala.wordpress.com/category/authors-a-z/dickens-charles/

Part 2 – Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

https://lauranuala.wordpress.com/category/authors-a-z/bronte-charlotte/

Part 4 – Pride and Prejudice – by Jane Austen

https://lauranuala.wordpress.com/category/authors-a-z/austen-jane/

Part 5 – Dracula by Bram Stoker

https://lauranuala.wordpress.com/category/authors-a-z/stoker-bram/

 

 

 

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

This book is accessible enough for everyone. It’s a novel about romance, misfortune and religion – although not necessarily in that order. Highly critically acclaimed classic.

Main Characters:

  • Jane Eyre- Protagonist and narrator
  • Edward Rochester – Jane’s employer at Thornfield
  • Mrs. Reid – Jane’s aunt who raised her at Gateshead (Cruel and resentful of Jane)
  • St. John Rivers – Jane’s benefactor after she leaves Thornfield (Cold and controlled)
  • Bessie Lee – Maid at Gateshead
  • Bertha Mason – Rochester’s wife

(This is not a full character list – just the most significant)

Themes:

  • Social class
  • Love and possession
  • Religion
  • Gender equality

Opening:

Jane Eyre is a book about a mistreated orphan evolving into a poised educated woman who desires to be treated equally to men.

In her childhood Jane is an orphan in Gateshead house, under the care of her bitchy aunt  Mrs. Reid. She is mistreated by her relatives – most notably the bullying she endures from her cousin John Reid (nasty child)

Jane is sent to a school called Lowood where Mr. Brocklehurst – the schools headmaster does not practice the lifestyle he preaches. Jane befriends a lively girl called Helen Burns. The consumption epidemic reaches Lowood – Helen dies, Mr. Brocklehurst fleas. Gentlemen of a kinder disposition take over the school. Jane receives good schooling and remains with the school for 8 years. For 2 of those years she teaches.

Middle:

Bored of the school, she takes a job as a governess in Thornfield manor. Her student is a french girl called Adele.  Her employer is the moody and mysterious Mr. Rochester. Jane begins to fall in love with him, much to her own shock.

One night she saves him from a fire – he blames Grace Poole, an employee for starting the fire. But Jane is suspicious that Rochester is hiding something from her.

End:

Rochester proposes and Jane, shocked, accepts. Their wedding day arrives but something is amiss.

suspicious gif

Source: forums.realgm.com

What is the secret that Rochester guards so close? Where will Jane go? Who really started the fire?

Read on to find out.

Follow this link for a cheap version of the book.

Watch the trailer for Jane Eyre the 2011 version here.

Favourite quote:

“My very soul demands you” – Jane Eyre

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for romance mingled with a strong Victorian woman, unwillingly to settle for less than equality – you go girl.

4 out of 5 cup rating.

This is part 2 in a series of 5 posts.

Part 1 –  Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

https://lauranuala.wordpress.com/category/authors-a-z/dickens-charles/

Part 3 – Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

https://lauranuala.wordpress.com/category/authors-a-z/bronte-emily/

Part 4 – Pride and Prejudice – by Jane Austen

https://lauranuala.wordpress.com/category/authors-a-z/austen-jane/

Part 5 – Dracula by Bram Stoker

https://lauranuala.wordpress.com/category/authors-a-z/stoker-bram/

 

 

 

ne and Rochester

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

This book is a bit complex for those who are starting their journey in classical literature. However, it is a beautiful intricate web woven  around social-class, guilt, love, lust. This book is for anyone who wants to sink their teeth into something juicy.

MAIN CHARACTERS:

  • Pip – protagonist and narrator
  • Estelle – Pip’s love interest and Miss Havisham ward.
  • Miss Havisham – Man-hater
  • Abel Magwitch (The convict) -Pip’s secret Benefactor
  • Joe Gargery – Pip’s brother-in-law
  • Mrs. Joe – Joe’s wife and Pip’s sister

(This is not a full list of characters. Just those I thought to be most important)

THEMES:

  • Social Class
  • Ambition
  • Crime
  • Guilt
  • Innocence
  • Love
  • Heartache

Why read Great Expectations?

Great expectations  is a book by Charles Dickens, the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. Most definitely worth a read.

Opening:

The story opens with the main character Pip, who we meet as a young orphan living with his sister and her husband. Pip is a kind soul.

One day, whilst upon the moors, a convict called Magwitch scares Pip and orders him to get food and a file to saw off his leg irons. Pip obeys. He steals the items from his own home. The convict is captured but surprisingly protects Pip from the law by saying he stole the items himself. (more on this later, it is a key point of the novel)

One day Pip visits Satis House with his Uncle Pumplechook. Here he meets the erratic Miss Havisham. A jilted bride who wears her wedding dress all day and has every clock in the house stopped at the same time. (She’s crazy but definitely the best character in the book) Miss Havisham is raising young Estelle as her ward – she’s teaching her to break men’s hearts. Pip falls hopelessly in love with her and believes that Miss Havisham’s going to teach him how to be a gentleman.

Miss Havisham dashes his hopes after months of visiting Satis House, by deciding to help him become a common laborer. Pip is unhappy because he wants to get an education and better himself.

Middle:

One day, a lawyer appears telling Pip he’s been given a fortune – Pip think Miss Havisham has finally come through and wishes him to become a gentleman so he can marry Estelle. (remember Magwitch…?)

Pip goes to London and gets his educating, shaking off old ties with family and friends at home. He considers himself above them now.

End:

Read it to find out.

boom

Source: yay–stefon.tumblr.com

 

Will Pip every reconcile with his family? Will Estelle and Pip marry? Will Miss Havisham repent for her wickedness? What’s Magwitch doing now?

Follow this link for a cheap version of the book.

You can watch the movie trailer for Great Expectation 2013 version here

FAVOURITE QUOTES:

“I loved her against reason, against promise, against peace, against hope, against happiness, against all discouragement that could be.”

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a challenge – 3 out of 5 cup rating.

This is part 1 in a series of 5 posts.

Part 2 – Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

https://lauranuala.wordpress.com/category/authors-a-z/bronte-charlotte/

Part 3 – Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

https://lauranuala.wordpress.com/category/authors-a-z/bronte-emily/

Part 4 – Pride and Prejudice – by Jane Austen

https://lauranuala.wordpress.com/category/authors-a-z/austen-jane/

Part 5 – Dracula by Bram Stoker

https://lauranuala.wordpress.com/category/authors-a-z/stoker-bram/

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

This book is definitely my favourite classic. It’s not difficult to get through at all. Once you get used to the diction it’s easy, and it is so entertaining. Austen succeeds in making marriage and family into a hilarious charade. Could not recommend this book more. Everyone needs to pick this book up.

MAIN CHARACTERS:

  • Elizabeth
  • Jane
  • Mr Darcy
  • Mr Bingley
  • Mr Bennett
  • Mrs Bennett
  • Lydia
  • Mr Wickham

THEMES:

  • Pride
  • Prejudice
  • Reputation
  • Love
  • Class

Why read Pride and Prejudice?:

Pride and Prejudice is a compelling tale about sisters, love, heartache and family.

Opening:

The book is set in the early 1800’s and is focused around the daughters of Mr and Mrs Bennett. Mrs Bennett is hell-bent on marrying off her five daughters to wealthy men. , However, one of the girls must marry/live off a male relative to inherit their own house as there is no male heir. Enter the blabbering Mr. Collins, a clergy man who wishes to marry one of his cousins.  Elizabeth, to her dismay, receives a proposal from Mr Collins. She refuses, resulting in her mother disintegrating into a state of hysterics.

Elizabeth (Lizzie) and Jane, the two oldest sisters are at the age to marry, want to marry for love and not to enhance their social standing. The three younger sisters, Mary, Kitty and Lydia are not yet old enough to be out in society.

Middle:

Jane meets the wealthy Mr Bingley at a ball – they fall madly in love. His sister does not approve of Jane.

Elizabeth meets Mr Darcy at the same ball. Mr Darcy is a close friend of Mr Bingley. Elizabeth finds Mr Darcy to be rude and arrogant.

Whilst in town one day a regiment of soldiers pass through: Kitty and Lydia go wild. Elizabeth becomes acquainted with a young officer: Mr Wickham, whom she finds attractive. She senses a lot of animosity between Mr Darcy and Mr Wickham. Mr Wickham recounts awful tales of Mr Darcy to her.

Ending:

What will come of Jane and Mr Bingley’s love? Why is Mr Darcy so mistrusting of Mr Wickham? Will Elizabeth ever find love?

Read it to find out – you won’t regret it.

reading a book

Source: ruinedchildhood.com

You can watch the movie in full here

FAVOURITE QUOTE:

“You must know … surely, you must know it was all for you”

I would recommend this book to everyone – 4 out of 5 cup rating.

16192-illustration-of-a-hot-cup-of-coffee-pv16192-illustration-of-a-hot-cup-of-coffee-pv16192-illustration-of-a-hot-cup-of-coffee-pv16192-illustration-of-a-hot-cup-of-coffee-pv

This is part 4 in a series of 5.

Part 1 –  Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

https://lauranuala.wordpress.com/category/authors-a-z/dickens-charles/

Part 2 – Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

https://lauranuala.wordpress.com/category/authors-a-z/bronte-charlotte/

Part 3 – Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

https://lauranuala.wordpress.com/category/authors-a-z/bronte-emily/

Part 5 – Dracula by Bram Stoker

https://lauranuala.wordpress.com/category/authors-a-z/stoker-bram/