When the leaves turn bright and the air is cooler, you feel yourself settling in to the beginning of autumn. You feel the urge to bake (even if it’s box brownies) and a hunger for something more substantial to read. There is an abundance of classic novels from around the world, so grab your fuzzy blanket, find your reading chair and settle in with these titles to feed your mind. Don't forget the brownie.
Originally from Nebraska, Lucy Gayheart has travelled to Chicago to try establish a music career. One of my favorite Willa Cather stories, this novel shows a writer able to capture the mood of the city and a young woman struggling to find herself.
Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe was a debut novel that became a searching look at the brutal toll of colonialism in Nigeria. It helped launch the publisher’s African Writers series which gave voice to hundreds of authors across Africa.
If you want to travel back in history, I, Claudius is an intimate look at Roman history through the “autobiography” of Claudius, whose physical disabilities caused his peers to dismiss him as harmless though he is actually a shrewd observer of the reigns of Augustus, Tiberius and Caligula. The novel spawned a sequel and a BBC series.
Pearl S. Buck grew up in Nanjing and lived in China most of her life. Her novel The Good Earth depicts the life of a family in a small village and was a runaway best seller. It captured the attention of readers and inspired author Anchee Min to write a fictional novel of Buck’s life.
Joseph Conrad’s family suffered under Russian dominance in Ukraine where he grew up. His father, Apollo, was an activist for Polish Independence and was imprisoned. Conrad left to go to sea at sixteen, but his experiences of revolutionary fervor and the pain inflicted on innocents produced his masterpiece Under Western Eyes.
Kokoro was one of the first novels that showed the influence of western culture and the transition of Japan to a modern society. It tells the story of a man known only as “Sensei” and the tragedy that has transformed his life.
Since Halloween is around the corner, how could I not add the classic horror tale Frankenstein? Told multiple times in many formats and inspiring countless spin-offs, this classic novel depicts Dr. Victor Frankenstein, who creates a man from the dead. He is then pursued across the world by his monster who demands vengeance for his existence.
What is your favorite classic? Let us know in the comments.