Classic novels are often associated with old and boring literature. Well, half of that is true. Old maybe, but not dull. In this list of classic novels, you might find the most interesting, heart-touching, even thrilling novels. In this list, some of the books have been republished from their old original prints.
1. 1984 (1949)
George Orwell’s novel tells a dystopian world where the most powerful organization is a dominator who rules every aspect of people’s lives. Our hero lives his life as a diligent person. But deep down, Winston Smith always dreams of a life where one’s freedom is everything.
Even though he is part of a Party, he never liked that his life would never be entirely free. But then he found love which made him want the life he had always dreamed of. Thus start his search for truth and rebellion.
A massive warning from the writer himself, 1984 is not a happy novel. Even though one of its main stories is about love, you would never find a happy ending. Instead, what you will find is the truth and how the real story unfolds.
2. The Great Gatsby (1925)
The Great Gatsby is one of the best classic novels in history. Authentic imagery of the world in every era. Where the world is not what you see from your perspective.
As a friendly neighborhood and humble man, Jay Gatsby hides his secret very carefully. He dreams where he lives as a powerful man, and he will make his dreams come true. Whatever it takes.
In a book money makes what people are worth. Even though F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote this book almost a hundred years ago, the world-building of this book still shows its relevance until now. A world where money shows its dominance.
3. The Giving Tree (1964)
Shel Silverstein wrote The Giving Tree as a children’s classic novel. When love grows, it only grows bigger. When you love someone, that love will never fade. It only gets deeper. A tree, a literal tree, loves a young boy. She will give everything for the sake of the boy’s happiness.
The boy comes every day to receive her love. The boy comes around every day, whether it is a fruit, playing around the tree, or even just sleeping under the tree’s shade. After a long time, the tree is still giving everything she has to the growing boy.
A touching story about how one’s love can make others happy. Every selfless act is for the sake of loved ones. As far as the world knows, the tree’s love is more vital than its roots, more significant than its trunk, and more than its leaves.
4. Wuthering Height (1847)
A seemingly small story between Catherine and Heathcliff. Two people with a deep love for each other. The love that they thought would bring them the happiness they deserve.
But the reality could be disappointing. Their love hurts them and the people around them. They never imagined that their small story could make a significant impact. Not just for them, but every member of their families.
5. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1932)
On its release, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hide never expected to be a bestseller. That was because the writer, Rober Louis Stevenson, was never considered a ‘literature’ writer by most of his colleagues even to this date. But, this list of classic novels rises to the top shelf as the imagery of good and evil duality.
Dr. Henry Jekyll is a genius who tries to understand human psychology and nature. Ironically, he makes himself a test subject and creates another ‘person’ inside him, an animal-like personality Edward Hyde. At first, they agree as one entity. But Hyde’s natures make him want to be free, to be the true one.
A story about the struggles of one, or rather two, persons in a body. How every memory they make is the same, but with different actions. Surprisingly, a classic mystery novel that fits every society in every era.
6. Dracula (1897)
Just by hearing his names, Dracula could exude fears and horrors. An image of a blood drinker immortal constantly terrorized every human being. So for every atrocity that people could imagine, Bram Stoker wrote Dracula as horror classic novels to bring those qualities to life.
The word ‘novel’ may be a little underestimating this book. Stoker formulated Dracula in a way that a journal and biography told a story. In every chapter, you can find every point of view about this particular being and his deed.
This list of classic novels makes us believe that every evil must be defeated. Not just with other good deeds, but by perishing the source of the evil itself.
7. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (1967)
Gabriel Garcia Marquez wrote this book with magical realism logic. A logic where magic occurrence and anomaly is just a normal thing in everyday life. So when you read about a girl who flies with her laundry, a man who lives in a tree, or even a woman who eats dirt.
One Hundred Years of Solitude is a story about the Buendia family. A family where every member tries to find their solitude but also wants to be loved. Two desires which are never a good pair.
One Hundred Years of Solitude is a literary classic novel that brings beautiful world-building and character—a good book with a complex plot yet easy-to-read for every reader.
8. The Picture Of Dorian Gray (1890)
A controversial romantic classic novel told us about Dorian’s story in his cruel world and prejudice: some may regard this book as a romance novel, but others may view this book as a crooked truth about reality.
The story is about a man who would sell his soul for eternal youth, another man who seeks art and the artist himself, and a man with a desire for power and satisfaction. They live entwined with a picture that makes everyone enthralled—a picture that depicts every lust over desire.
9. East of Eden (1952)
A book that retells another book. East of Eden is a retelling of the Book of Genesis. It’s like a modernized version of how Adam and Eve live with their kids. A story is full of love and the absence of love.
Adam Trask is the head of the Trask family. He moved to the rich farmland in California and raised his two sons. One full of love and sunshine, other with lack of care and darkness.
10. The Little Prince (1943)
If you want a kids’ story, this book is undoubtedly one of your choices. But, if you also want to read a children’s book with a meaning that adults could relate to, this book is the only one on this list.
This book makes us realize that we were just children in adult bodies. Every one of us always wants an adventure, even just in our dreams. That every person always wants to be The Little Prince in their own life.
Antoine de Saint Exupéry wrote this heartwarming classic novel in a fantasy-like way. But deep inside it, this book has a meaningful and unwritten story about how children in us never die. Even after we grow up, we will be weird kids who see adults are strangers to us.
In a specific period, novels are not only considered as a source of entertainment. Usually, classic stories bring problems that every person could relate to. Especially in eras before the 20th century, books usually considered how every writer thought about society and its struggles. That was your list of classic novels to add to your bookshelves.