Read the classics this summer

If you're looking for a literary challenge with a twist this summer, why not give the classics you never read in school a try? That's what CBC Books producer Erin Balser is doing. Below, discover her summer classics reading list:

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The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

From the publisher: "Thrown in prison for a crime he has not committed, Edmond Dantes is confined to the grim fortress of If. There he learns of a great hoard of treasure hidden on the Isle of Monte Cristo and he becomes determined not only to escape, but also to unearth the treasure and use it to plot the destruction of the three men responsible for his incarceration. Dumas' epic tale of suffering and retribution, inspired by a real-life case of wrongful imprisonment, was a huge popular success when it was first serialized in the 1840s."

Thumbnail image for gatsby2.jpgThe Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

From the publisher: "In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald brilliantly captures both the disillusion of post-war America and the moral failure of a society obsessed with wealth and status. But he does more than render the essence of a particular time and place, for in chronicling Gatsby's tragic pursuit of his dream, Fitzgerald recreates the universal conflict between illusion and reality."


Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

From the publisher: "In Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, when Elizabeth Bennet first meets eligible bachelor Fitzwilliam Darcy, she thinks him arrogant and conceited; he is indifferent to her good looks and lively mind. When she later discovers that Darcy has involved himself in the troubled relationship between his friend Bingley and her beloved sister Jane, she is determined to dislike him more than ever. In the sparkling comedy of manners that follows, Jane Austen shows us in Pride and Prejudice the folly of judging by first impressions and superbly evokes the friendships, gossip and snobberies of provincial middle-class life."

expectations2.jpgGreat Expectations by Charles Dickens

From the publisher: "Pip, a young orphan, has his life altered irrevocably by a strange chain of events - a terrifying graveside encounter with an escaped prisoner; a visit to a black-hearted old woman and a beautiful girl; an unexpected fortune from a secret donor. Escaping his poor background for London, however, he finds that he cannot run away from who he really is. Dickens's extraordinary late work, published in 1861, is a frightening, funny and tender portrayal of self-discovery and redemption. Its misguided hero, Pip, is one of the most moving and memorable characters in fiction."


Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

From the publisher: "In Wuthering Heights, Charlotte Brontë tells the story of Lockwood, the new tenant of Thrushcross Grange on the bleak Yorkshire moors, who is forced to seek shelter one night at Wuthering Heights, the home of his landlord. There he discovers the history of the tempestuous events that took place years before: of the intense passion between the foundling Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw, and her betrayal of him. As Heathcliff's bitterness and vengeance is visited upon the next generation, their innocent heirs must struggle to escape the legacy of the past."


Ulysses by James Joyce

From the publisher: "Literature, as Joyce tells us through the character of Stephen Dedalus, 'is the eternal affirmation of the spirit of man'. Written over a seven-year period, from 1914 to 1921, Ulysses has survived bowderlization, legal action and bitter controversy. An undisputed modernist classic, its ceaseless verbal inventiveness and astonishingly wide-ranging allusions confirm its standing as an imperishable monument to the human condition. Declan Kiberd says in his introduction Ulysses is 'An endlessly open book of utopian epiphanies. It holds a mirror up to the colonial capital that was Dublin on 16 June 1904, but it also offers redemptive glimpses of a future world which might be made over in terms of those utopian moments.'

What classic book are you going to read (or re-read) this summer? Let us know in the comments below.

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