4 Great Classic Books

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4 Great Classic Books

Post by Scott » 25 Jan 2008, 20:36

4 Great Classic Books
by Scott Hughes

Obviously, the value of a book depends on the opinions of the person valuing it. One person can love a book that another person hates. Nonetheless, some books have stood out as generally beloved and almost universally considered great. Let me list four of my favorite classic books that I think you need to read if you have not already.

"The Catcher in the Rye" by J. D. Salinger - Despite its excessive use of profanity and its sexual parts, even many high-schools have "The Catcher in the Rye" on their reading list. And one can see why. This novel by Salinger tells a disturbingly realistic tale that highlights adolescence and teenage angst. I love most of all its underlying commentary on the resistance of growing up by teens who have already lost their innocence.

"Nineteen Eighty-Four" by George Orwell - This famous dystopian novel by George Orwell has influenced modern society and political thought greatly. For example, the phrase "Big Brother," comes from this novel. It tells the story of a futuristic society that lives under a totalitarian government. The government controls the flow of information and engages in intrusive surveillance. People may feel frightened reading it as they realize that our society still seems to be heading in that direction, even if at a slower rate than Orwell predicted.

"Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck - This novella won the Nobel Prize. It tragically tells the story of two migrant ranch workers in California during the Great Depression. Because of the book's short length, you can read "Of Mice and Men" very quickly. I usually read it in one night. The title appropriately comes from a line in the poem To A Mouse: "The best-laid plans of mice and men go oft awry."

"Fahrenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury - As another famous dystopian novel, "Fahrenheit 451" tells a futuristic story in which fireman burn books rather than put out fires. Ray Bradbury used the book to criticize the path of society, which unfortunately does not seem to have changed. The mostly implicit criticism of television stands out as most true, considering how "Fahrenheit 451" predicted how much television would integrate with society and the negative social impact from that.

One could make a much longer list of need-to-read books. Nonetheless, if you have not read those four books, then I highly suggest that you read them. If you have read them, then I suggest that you read them again.

Whatever you do, good luck and have fun!

About the author: Scott Hughes manages the Online Book Club For Readers. You can discuss books and reading and make book suggestions of your own at the Book and Reading Forums.
"That virtue we appreciate is as much ours as another's. We see so much only as we possess." - Henry David Thoreau

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Post by sleepydumpling » 25 Jan 2008, 21:21

All excellent reads!
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Post by awelker » 25 Jan 2008, 21:50

i've read the catcher and the rye and of mice and men. its hard to believe that i read the catcher in and the rye in middle school. i think i might have to revisit that one this summer when i actually have the time to read. but of mice and men was an excellent book. my younger brother who doesn't read liked the book. it was a bit of a miracle. lol. i have always wanted to read the other two but those will have to wait since i will have no life until may. joys of being a college student.
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Post by blushingmilk » 30 Jan 2008, 21:16

i loved nineteen eighty-four. I liked the Catcher in the Rye but does anyone think that maybe, just maybe, its so well-loved because its very 'American' rather than just resting on its laurels for great language? Holden Caulfield is an amazing character, but....

*runs for cover*

I've been wanting to read 'Of Mine and Men' for a while now...I almost picked it up the other day...maybe I should go back.

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Post by SeoulChild » 10 Mar 2008, 10:59

All four books you picked are definitely must reads!! And Ray Bradbury is so amazing!! My favorite book of his is Something Wicked This Way Comes, though.

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Post by clarebear » 11 Mar 2008, 18:31

All those books are in my top ten and 1984 is my all time favourite.
I really wish I could erase my memory so I could read them all for the 1st time again.
Mind you, I feel the same way about Star Wars episodes 4,5 and 6 :lol:
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Post by socialsue » 12 Mar 2008, 01:59

Someone gave me Jane Eyre for my birthday. A must-read that it didn't read in high school.
I LOVED it. A great Classic. And a good story.

I have read your suggestions longer ago (when I was in high school and reading those books was obligatory) and at the time I did not think they were very good.

I don't know why high schools put those books on reading lists, because at the age of 15 and learning English as a second language, these books did not interest me at all! They are more nice reads for grown ups, I guess. Because now I really love the Classics and am re-reading many of them. It surprises me how much I did not understand at that time.

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Post by Tracey Neal » 13 Mar 2008, 20:05

Cha-Ching! Jackpot;)

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Post by Libellus » 21 Mar 2008, 09:03

Hated The Catcher, loved Mice and Men and 1984. Fahrenheit is on the list - but not to close to the top. Should I bump it up a few places ?

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Post by Hope » 22 Mar 2008, 13:23

I've read - Of Mice and Men. I enjoyed it actually. It's a simple book; no complications. Shows how people were affected by the Depression. I must-read I've got to say.

As for the rest, I haven't read any. I'm looking forward to reading - A catcher in the rye, heard so much about it.
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Post by MsBookworm » 29 Mar 2008, 22:45

The only one I haven't read is Farenheit 451. I'm thinking I may get that when I go to the library again. I do own it, but most of my books are under my mother's house.
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Post by blue_diamond21 » 27 Apr 2008, 08:34

I am ashamed to say that despite owning Catcher and 1984 I've only part read the former and never read the latter. Also never read the other two. My non-reading boyfriend read Mice in school and it's the only book he's ever finished so he takes great delight in the fact I've never read it :roll:

Think I'll give Catcher another go as I couldn't get into it first time round...

Quick question Ms Bookworm, why are your books under a house?!
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Post by Inkling » 29 Apr 2008, 06:17

All four books were among my "required reading" list in my early High School days; as were other such notable titles Brave New World, Animal Farm, The Chocolate War, We, and Lord of the Flies.

I love John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, as I do The Grapes of Wrath, both are numbered amongst my favourite books. I never held much appreciation for Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four upon my first read back in High School, however, that has changed with time and subsequent reads.

One reading task I have set myself to accomplish before year's end is to reacquaint myself with as many of the books on that "required reading" list as possible.
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Post by Scott » 30 Apr 2008, 13:45

I like The Grapes of Wrath too, but what makes me like Of Mice and Men so much more is that it is so much shorter. :)
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Post by Matthew » 02 May 2008, 15:05

blue_diamond21 wrote:I am ashamed to say that despite owning Catcher and 1984 I've only part read the former and never read the latter.


That's wild. I've met a ton of people who "don't read" or who "don't like to read," who have all read Catcher. In fact, I used to think tha EVERYONE who was literate had read it. You proved me wrong, but I'd still bet that there are thousands of people for whom Catcher in the Rye is the ONLY book they've ever read.

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