This post gives short reviews of some of the best pieces of class literature we have at Bookrack.
1. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote: You may have heard of the movie; this book is regarded as one of the original non-fiction novel. In 1959 the NY Times published an account of a murder of farmer and his family in Kansas. Capote was intrigued by this and went onto investigate with the help of his friend Harper Lee. The book is part thriller (exloring the crime in detail), examines the psyche of the killers and exlpores the effect of the crime on the community. Easy to read, this book (as one reivewer on Amazon puts it): "Capote's prose is mesmerizing. His descriptions of Holcomb and its inhabitants are vivid and lively. His research is impeccable, presented flawlessly, lushly, sweeping the reader away on waves of vibrant language.....it's really hard to stop reading about this unfortunate family and their motiveless, pathetic murderers. This book made me sad, it made me shiver; but I'm glad I read it."
2. Lord of the Flies by William Golding: At the outset this classic is about a bunch of boys stuck on an island trying to live out their life. Seeds of a thrilling adventure you would think? Not quite so .. The kids on the island set up a society and slowly degenerate into uncontrollable savages in absence of any adult supervision. the book explores the very psyche of humans and published after world war 2 it presents a chilling picture of the tendency of violence and cruelty that seems to be inherent in us right from our childhood. Included in the TIME's list of top 100 books this is a must read for any literature lover.
3. Vanity Fair by William Thackeray: Amazon puts it nicely: "No one is better equipped in the struggle for wealth and worldly success than the alluring and ruthless Becky Sharp, who defies her impoverished background to clamber up the class ladder. Her sentimental companion Amelia, however, longs only for caddish soldier George. As the two heroines make their way through the tawdry glamour of Regency society, battles—military and domestic—are fought, fortunes made and lost. The one steadfast and honourable figure in this corrupt world is Dobbin with his devotion to Amelia, bringing pathos and depth to Thackeray's gloriously satirical epic of love and social adventure."
4. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley: Mary Shelley wrote this novel in 1818 and she had started writing it when she was only 18 years old. Spending a cold wet summer with her future husband Percy Shelley in Switzerland, the conditions were ripe for Mary to write a novel inspired by the occult (there was a lot of interest in this topic in Europe at that time). From wikipedia: "Major critics have praised the "aesthetic and moral" relevance of the novel and in more recent years the novel has become a popular subject for psychoanalytic and feminist criticism. The novel today is generally considered to be a landmark work of romantic and gothic literature, as well as science fiction."
5. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad: This novella is like having your favourite dessert. Quick to eat but the pleasure is ah so good! From Amazon: "A masterpiece of twentieth-century writing, Heart of Darkness exposes the tenuous fabric that holds "civilization" together and the brutal horror at the center of European colonialism. Conrad's crowning achievement recounts Marlow's physical and psychological journey deep into the heart of the Belgian Congo in search of the mysterious trader Kurtz." The book builds up slowly and is a wonderful example of how an excellent author creates an atmosphere to complement what he is trying to communicate.
6. Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy: In our opinion this is probably one of the best novels on love and what it takes to win someone who has stolen your heart! It is the story of the fiery Bathsheba, the three men who fall her and how one of them finally get her after many twists. The characters are deeply sketched out, the descriptions of English countryside will transport you there itself and the ending will leave you feeling all warm and happy. What more could one want!