Your Guide to a Classical October


Tasnia Shahrin


Any opportunity is the right opportunity to re-read a classic. No matter how many times you read them, you will always discover something new with repeated readings. It is because there is a reason they are called ‘classics’ – which is, they never go out of style. So, why don’t we dedicate this whole month of October in exploring the world of classic literature?  Here is your monthly plan for October to read or re-read some popular classic books.

 

1 October: Emma by Jane Austen

Near impossible choice between this and Pride and Prejudice. But Emma never fails to fascinate the readers.

 

2 October: Nightmare Abbey by Thomas Love Peacock

A classic miniature: A brilliant satire on the romantic novel.

 

3 October: David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

This highly autobiographical novel is the one its author liked best.

 

4 October: Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff have passed into the language. Impossible to ignore.

 

5 October: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Obsessive emotional grip and haunting narrative.

 

6 October: Moby Dick by Herman Melville

“Call me Ishmael” is one of the most famous opening sentences of any novel.

 

7 October: Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

You could summarise this as a story of adultery in provincial France, and miss the point entirely.

 

8 October: The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

Gripping mystery novel of concealed identity, abduction, fraud, and mental cruelty.

 

9 October: The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Mystical tragedy by the author of Crime and Punishment.

 

10 October: Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Twain was a humorist, but this picture of Mississippi life is profoundly moral and still incredibly influential.

 

11 October: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

A coded and epigrammatic melodrama inspired by his own tortured homosexuality.

 

12 October: The Diary of a Nobody by George & Weedon Grossmith

This classic of Victorian suburbia will always be renowned for the character of Mr Pooter.

 

13 October: Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy

Its savage bleakness makes it one of the first twentieth-century novels.

 

14 October: The Call of the Wild by Jack London

The story of a dog who joins a pack of wolves after his master’s death.

 

15 October: Nostromo by Joseph Conrad

Conrad’s masterpiece: A tale of money, love, and revolutionary politics.

 

16 October: Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

Secures Woolf’s position as one of the great twentieth-century English novelists.

 

17 October: A Passage to India by E. M. Forster

Forster’s great love song to India.

 

18 October: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The quintessential Jazz Age novel.

 

19 October: To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee 

A novel before its time, Harper Lee’s Pulitzer-prize winner addresses issues of race, inequality, and segregation—with both levity and compassion.

 

20 October: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez  

Magic realism at its best. Both funny and moving, this book made me reflect for weeks on the inexorable march of time.

 

21 October: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley 

One of the greatest and most prescient dystopian novels ever written, this should be on everyone’s must-read list.

 

22 October: The Chrysalids by John Wyndham

A post-apocalyptic novel, about intolerance, loneliness, friendship, and what it means to be human.

 

23 October: The Death of the Heart by Elizabeth Bowen 

This book captures the awkward tension and anxieties of the interwar period through a deeply reflective but oddly naive, unloved girl. ‏

 

24 October: The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov 

This spine-chilling story was censored by Stalin and sadly only published after Bulgakov’s death.

 

25 October: 1984 by George Orwell 

The definitive dystopian novel, Orwell’s vision of a high surveillance society is gripping from the first page to the last. 

 

26 October: Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann 

It’s a great novel about the rise and fall of a family, the relationship between fathers and sons, and the conflict between art and business.

 

27 October: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck  

Perhaps Steinbeck’s finest novel—this is beautifully evocative. And, by the end, a devastating read.

 

28 October: Beloved by Toni Morrison 

This book is amazing—beautifully written and haunting. The level of detail of the lengths people went to protect their families from slavery, is fantastic.

 

29 October: Dracula by Bram Stoker 

A Gothic tale of fear and love. Would one desire immortality at the cost of one’s morality and soul?  

 

30 October: Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe 

A compelling and important exploration of cultural identity in relation to both the rising tide of British colonialism and the pressures of gender expectations.

 

31 October: The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger  

Probably the least commented-upon aspect of Salinger’s masterpiece is how utterly hilarious it is. Holden is a character no one ever forgets.

 


The writer is a part of the TDA Editorial Team. 

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