I don’t think there are enough good old classic novels mentioned on the book blogiverse so I thought I would share some of my favourites with you. I have a massive passion for Victorian literature, especially Gothic literature, so some of these books would make great Halloween and winter night reads too. Most, if not all, of these books you will have probably heard of before but it is surprising how many people have not actually read them. I am only giving you 5 today because I would be recommending you old books all day if I had my way.
So here we go:
Peter Pan by J M Barrie
Based on the play by J M Barrie, the novel of Peter Pan follows the adventures of Wendy, John and Michael as they are whisked off to Neverland by the magical Peter Pan.
This book is very different to the Disney version of the story that we are used to seeing everywhere. The plot is very similar but Peter himself portrayed more as a villain than a lovable hero. He is dark, dangerously playful and acts as a warning about why it is important to grow up. The Disney version left out his bratty attitude, love of killing sleeping pirates and lost boys for fun and letting flying children fall for his own amusement.
I read this book for the first time last month and it quickly became one of my favourites. I wouldn’t dismiss it as a children’s book as the older version of English it is written in would make it difficult for children to read.
Also I am well aware that this book came out in 1911 and it is not Victorian.
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
If you have not heard of it before, Dorian Gray is about a handsome young man who sells his soul to the devil so that his portrait ages instead of him, and everything goes off the rails from there.
Dorian is one of my all time favourite literary characters. I have multiple copies of this story and it is a handy short read. If you cannot find a copy of this book check big Oscar Wilde story collections because it is normally in those books somewhere.
Oh and while you are at it, I would recommend The Canterville Ghost too.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
This is another book I feel very silly explaining the plot of so I will make it quick. Alice spots a rabbit one day, she chases it and falls down a rabbit hole into another world full of strange things. There we go, plot explanation sorted.
Everyone knows the story of Alice in Wonderland but I am yet to meet another person who has read the novel. I am sure there are some people out there who have read it, they are just not among the people I know. The plot is similar to the Disney animated adaptation of the novel but with a few characters left out, and in the case of the Tweedles, a few characters added in.
I love this book so much that I currently own over 10 copies of it. I have a slight addiction to buying pretty copies of Alice in Wonderland and Wonderland themed tea sets. I am even dressing up as Alice for Halloween this year. Everyone has their strange addictions, mine is Wonderland.
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
It was hard to pick just one Sherlock Holmes book but I think The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is a great place to start if you want to dive into the world of the worlds greatest detective. One of the best things about this book is that it is a collection of short stories instead of one big novel so you get a selection of cases to read through.
If you like the BBC series of Sherlock or any other film or television adaption of the stories you should pick up the books. You are missing out if you don’t, especially with the upcoming BBC Sherlock special that is set in the time period of the original novels.
I grew up on Sherlock Holmes and the stories are probably the reason why I still read so much today.
Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Edgar Allan Poe
Do you like horror, murder mysteries or generally dark things? Then this is the book for you.
Sometimes I like to turn off all the lights in my bedroom, light a few candles and read a story or two from this book by creepy candle light at night. It is even better if it is raining outside, or if you are really lucky, an ongoing thunderstorm. If you want the full Victorian horror experience you need to read this bad boy in the dark. If you don’t have candles or don’t want open flames, a small lamp would be just as good.