Classics You Should Read This Year
I hate feeling like there are books I should read just because they're famous, popular, or will make me seem smart. But that being said, I do believe that books become classics for a reason. Having endured the test of time and maintained popularity over decades is a good sign you "should" read something. I tend to go through phases with my reading and lately I've been picking up nothing but very contemporary new releases. To switch things up, here are five books we should all read in this year's current climate.
1. 1984 by George Orwell - This is classic dystopian political fiction set in a totalitarian world of government surveillance, censorship, and public manipulation. Themes that are resonating all the more strongly with me since January 20th.
2. Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell - This is a book I have already read but go back to over and over again. Unlike the movie adaptation, GWTW does not glorify the antebellum South. Through an incredible personal story, this book gave me a better understanding of the complexities of the Civil War and Reconstruction Era. It has become ever more important to understand the politics of those times, since those policies provide the foundations of today's race rations.
3. A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley - Another dystopian novel, this one focuses on the potential dangers of scientific advancements. In a world where science now allows us to accomplish the formerly unimaginable, perhaps is worth a pause to think about unintended consequences.
4. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury - As a book-lover and writer now living in a world where CNN, The New York Times, the BBC, and more were recently excluded from a press briefing, a book on censorship seems very timely. Fahrenheit 451 is all about the consequences of banning books all together. An unlikely event (I hope), but worth thinking about nowadays.
5. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte - Another one of my favourites that I re-read regularly, Wuthering Heights is less about today's political or social climate. This is a 19th century novel for post-modern times. For anyone who loves non-narrative storytelling or wishes to explore the concept of an unreliable narrator, Wuthering Heights is a must-read. Although she wrote 150 years before post-modernism was born, Emily Bronte managed to capture many of its critical elements in her work.
With so much new media available and so many new books being published every year, it's easy to forget about the classics. This month, instead of rolling the dice on a new read, why not pick up a book that has already proven its worth by standing the test of time. Sometimes you can learn more about the present by examining the past. As a wise man once told me:
"To know where you are, you have to know where you've been."
Have you read any of these books? What classics are your favourites?