Books we know we should have read...but never got round to it

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With Fifty Shades to distract us, no wonder we've neglected these beauties...


© Kate Gilbert

If being forced to read Silas Marner by George Eliot as a teenager has scarred you for life, you may have neglected these classics as well (fearing intense mind numbing boredom).

But there are some books out there that you really should read, especially if all you've got on your Kindle is The Hunger Games, erotic fiction and Twilight.

Start with these knock-outs and slowly work your way up to Charles Dickens, Shakespeare and Victor Hugo...

The Catcher in the Rye by J D Salinger

Written in 1951, this novel focuses on Holden Caulfield, a young man who's recounting the breakdown that landed him in a mental hospital. The book deals with themes of teenage angst, rebellion, confusion and loneliness which resonate with readers of all ages. This isn't a long novel, but it's one that you shouldn't miss if you're a fan of intricately written characters.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Atticus Finch is an all-American father and lawyer who's determined to stand his ground against racism and oppression in his Alabama community. His children, Jem and Scout are mischievous but naively unaware of the oppression, depression and danger that surrounds them.

While the children obsess over their creepy neighbour Boo Radley, Atticus must defend Tom Robinson, a black man who's been accused of a heinous crime that he didn't commit.

This book really is a classic and you'll be smitten with the well-meaning Scout from start to end. We love it.

Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell

Published in 1949, this book was banned in the Soviet Union and was nearly banned in the UK and the US for promoting rebellion. In reality, Nineteen Eighty Four is about a fictional place called Oceania, where the people are scared to death by a Totalitarian regime.

The towns folk are punished for independent thought, but Winston Smith is determined to bring 'The Party' down and destroy the big brother culture. Lots of the themes of the book still resonate with a modern audience, so we can guarantee you'll be hooked.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

In the Spring of 1922, the parties were decadent, the booze was cheap and the clothes were Ah-May-Zing. Yale Graduate and WWI vet Nick Carraway rents a house next to the mansion of the elusive Jay Gatsby. Nick's second cousin Daisy lives across the road, but her life is being ruined by her cheating husband.

As Nick learns more about Gatsby, he soon realises that Daisy and his illustrious neighbour have met before...

Fans of the book will be itching to get tickets for the big-budget movie version starring Leo Di Caprio as Gatsy, which comes out next year.

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

This is the book that spawned one of the longest films in history, so we warn you now it's a bit epic. Scarlett O'Hara is the spoiled daughter of a rich plantation owner, who must use her feminine charms and grim determination to claw her way out of poverty after the devastation of the American Civil War.

Cue romance, illness, despair, lust, love and humour...this beauty has it all!

What are your favourite classic novels?



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