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Any classic / modern classic suggestions?

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Showing 1-25 of 49 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 22 Jul 2009 13:01:21 BDT
Hi, I'm new to this board.

With two little children (5yrs and 2yrs), I've only recently had the time to read chiclit. Thankfully the little ones are becoming less demanding during the day and, as they sleep well, I think I could now move on and spend my evenings indulging in something else.

So, do you have any suggestions? I not thinking about the likes of the corset brigade (ie: Jane Austin), more the Penguin, Virgin classics. Any suggestions would be welcomed. Thanks

Posted on 22 Jul 2009 15:24:41 BDT
Last edited by the author on 22 Jul 2009 15:41:51 BDT
Unreliable Memoirs by Clive James is a modern classic, and rib-burstingly funny. If you don't mind buying a used copy, you can get it cheap here on Amazon. (I did.)

Some other modern classics:

Cider with Rosie, by Laurie Lee
Mr Weston's Good Wine, by T.F. Powys
Opened Ground: Poems 1966-1996, by Seamus Heaney
Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
The Cement Garden, by Ian McEwan

Posted on 24 Jul 2009 08:35:37 BDT
Last edited by the author on 24 Jul 2009 08:38:17 BDT
just recently started reading some classics myself

Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte, I had put off reading this for so many years thinking it would be all period drama/corset brigade type (which im not a fan of) but it turned out to be absolutely brilliant, highly recommend it if you too have not read it. you do truly hate Heathcliffe towards the end :)

The Turn of the Screw - Henry James, a short classic horror story, highly enjoyable but a little short

Ill second "Of Mice and Men" I read it some years back but I remember i enjoyed it

i also just picked up "Robinson Crusoe" by Daniel Defoe but im only a few pages in so cant suggest it yet

Posted on 25 Jul 2009 11:53:28 BDT
Book Scout says:
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier is a fantastic, engrossing modern classic. It's a bit of a sinister, psychological thriller but compelling and beautifully written. You will not be able to put it down.

Posted on 25 Jul 2009 14:41:50 BDT
Try A Glimpse of Eternal Snows - to give you plenty to think (and dream) about!

Posted on 25 Jul 2009 14:57:21 BDT
Last edited by the author on 26 Jul 2009 15:07:19 BDT
hypergod says:
'One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest' by Ken Kesey; forget the film if you've seen it and read the book, an hallucinatory masterpiece of (ultimately) belief transcending oppression. Remarkable, truly unique, a genuine modern classic that lives up to the praise that's been showered on it.

Posted on 26 Jul 2009 12:22:20 BDT
addy says:
Gerald Durrell, My Family and Other Animals, very funny and also became a set book for English exams.

Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons. Wacky, funny and heartwarming.

Wilkie Collins, The Moonstone, and The Woman in White, which I prefer.

Grant Naylor, Red Dwarf.

Robert Graves, I Claudius, and Claudius the God.

H G Wells, The Time Machine, and The History of Mr Polly.

H E Bates, The Darling Buds of May.

Richard Adams, The Girl in a Swing, and Watership Down.

Asimov, I Robot, and his short detective stories, especially Azazel.

Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Susan Ferrier, Marriage.

J Meade Faulkner, Moonfleet. Read it to your children in a few years time, after the nightmare stage wears off.

Kathleen Windsor, Forever Amber, very naughty when it came out.

George MacDonald Frazer, The General Danced at Dawn.

Sheila Burnford, The Incredible Journey.

Noel Coward, Pretty Polly Barlow.

John Wyndham, The Crysalids.

Paul Gallico, Flowers for Mrs Harris.

Saki, Short Stories.

Jeffrey Archer, Short Stories.

These are some of my personal Classics, mostly from charity shops. Many are now films, some good, especially I Claudius. I hope this helps. Good hunting.

Posted on 29 Jul 2009 17:17:45 BDT
Andy says:
Someone beat me to it with 'Cold Comfort Farm' (a real favourite of mine) but I'd suggest, in a similarly humorous vein...
'Decline and Fall' by Evelyn Waugh (much funnier than 'Brideshead...")
'England, Their England' by A.G MacDonnell (not well-known but very funny)

In a totally different vein you could try 'Titus Groan' by Mervyn Peake...

And you could try a few books which your children will also enjoy when they're older:
'The Hundred and One Dalmatians' by Dodie Smith (forget the Disney versions)
'The Weirdstone of Brisingamen' and 'The Moon of Gomrath' by Alan Garner

It depends on the defintion of 'classic', I suppose. I could list a dozen or more science fiction books which could reasonably be described as 'modern classics', but not to everyone's taste...

Posted on 29 Jul 2009 20:30:57 BDT
victor says:
Mice of Men
Romeo and Juiliet
Nicholas Nicklby
Belle de jour Secret dairy of a call girl

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Aug 2009 23:12:38 BDT
Morag says:
I've recently discovered Bernard McLaverty and I would like to recommend George Mackay Brown, but when my children were younger I loved Michelle Magorian, Michael Morpurgo and Mark Haddon's books, oh there is just so much wonderful stuff out there!

Posted on 2 Aug 2009 17:20:17 BDT
G. Booth says:
There's I capture the castle by Dodie Smith - (it was made into a movie but thats really bad so dont let it put you off!!) Also Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote (it's darker than the movie in my opinion).

In reply to an earlier post on 3 Aug 2009 11:07:18 BDT
May Blossom says:
Hi. I've read quite a few classic books. I've just finished The Thirty Nine Steps by John Buchan. Absolutely marvellous book. Am just reading Under the Greenwood Tree by Thomas Hardy. George Owell is a good author and so is D H Lawrence. John Steinbeck is a top favourite of mine as he writes about the Deep South with such emotion in many of his novels. Another author is Catherine Cookson. Some of her stories are quite compelling.

Posted on 3 Aug 2009 19:01:37 BDT
Linda Jones says:
I would second Paul gallico including The Snow Goose and Love Let me not hunger. any Thomas Hardy, especially Far from the madding crowd, Tess of the d,urbervilles and The mayor of casterbridge.Dickens is FAB, start with Oliver twist....great dark humour. happy reading!!!!!

Posted on 4 Aug 2009 21:21:06 BDT
Thank you so much to everyone who has taken the time to reply to my post, so very kind of you all. I surprised myself in that I had actually read some of those that were suggested, post babies of course (Wuthering Heights, I Capture the Castle, Breakfast at Tiffanys, Rebecca and actually most of Shakespear's plays).

I will certainly try out some of your suggestions, and plan to start with Decline and Fall by Evelyn Waugh - thankyou Andy for suggesting it.

Just speaking of childrens books, I read to both children but our daughter Trinity (who's 5) really loves her bedtime story and we've progressed onto books with chapters now. We're reading Enid Blyton's The Magic Faraway Tree (one of mine, and my mum's favourites) and she is totally engrossed in it. If you've not read it, or have any little girls in your family, treat them to a copy!

Thanks again everyone xx

Posted on 17 Aug 2009 13:41:08 BDT
If you would like a classic written by a modern writer, may I suggest INFINITY by Sarah Waters.
The prose flows like melted chocolate and carries the reader effortlessly along. The only problem
you will encounter is when you have finished it and then return to another book. It takes some
adjusting to a different type of prose. British writer to cherish.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Aug 2009 10:42:34 BDT
Hey there,

The Alchemist, by Paolo Cohelo is a great little book.
You could also read To Kill a Mocking Bird, by Harper Lee
At an adventurous point you could opt for The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I hope you find something great to indulge in soon

John Shades

Posted on 19 Aug 2009 12:45:41 BDT
Last edited by the author on 19 Aug 2009 13:11:44 BDT
Woofit says:
I'd recommend:
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (based on real events)
The Onion Field by Joseph Wambaugh (based on real events)

All The Kings Men by Robert Penn Warren
and I know you said no 'Austen', but 'Pride And Prejudice' is a great read and very funny.
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

For straight biography try:
Bounder! The Biography Of Terry-Thomas by Graham McCann
Agent ZigZag by Ben Macintyre
ANY Bill Bryson

In answer to a previous post, I found Wuthering Heights VERY DEPRESSING!!!

Posted on 19 Aug 2009 13:09:03 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 19 Aug 2009 13:11:58 BDT]

Posted on 19 Aug 2009 13:10:28 BDT
I would highly recommend Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks. I don't know whether this is a true 'classic' (only being published in 1994) but it is a book that will stay with me forever. I had to read this for my English A-level's and I REALLY didn't want to, complaining that it was a 'boys book'. My teacher eventually persuaded me and I read it in a weekend. A fascinating book - don't let the size put you off. Give it a go!

Charlene x

Posted on 19 Aug 2009 13:22:34 BDT
I. Barker - I had to read Wuthering Heights for university and I found it depressing too. I really didn't like it. I have also read Jane Eyre and I felt the same way about that.

Charlene x

Posted on 19 Aug 2009 21:46:38 BDT
c d may says:
How about

Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman.
Anything by David Lodge
2001 by Arthur.C.Clarke
Gingerbread man by J.P.Donleavy

regards Billy

Posted on 23 Aug 2009 17:50:54 BDT
W. Barrett says:
I don't know about a classic, but if you can understand the West of Scotland dialect, then The Complete Short Stories by Agnes Owens is brilliant.
It will become a classic in its time, and deserves a wider audience.


In reply to an earlier post on 1 Sep 2009 12:14:31 BDT
I have just read Sarah Waters latest book "The Little Stranger" and it was fantastic. I was a bit dubious at first when I read that it is a ghost story - but I am glad that it didn't put me off. It is one of those books that can capture the atmosphere with just one sentence. It is a joy to read and leaves you thinking?!?!

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Sep 2009 10:54:08 BDT
Frik Larssen says:
Strangeland by Tracey Emin. Astounding, brutal, brilliant prose. I can't rave enough about this book. Can be gruesome and was really not what I was expecting.. it's much better than i ever thought it would be. Never thought she was a genius before, but I'm now converted. A must read, even if you weren't really interested in her before. Funny too at times. tracey Emin is not just an artist. This woman can really write.Strangeland

Posted on 4 Sep 2009 12:32:56 BDT
Julie Barnes says:
the last concubine. wuthering heights, james herriott books.
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