Classics

Find out how to create or supplement your literary diet with these classics.

  • Coming up For Air

    George “Fatty” Bowling, a middle-aged, English insurance salesman, uses his winnings from the racetrack for a nostalgic trip. Bowling reminisces about his childhood, but, upon returning to his hometown, he’s disappointed by its transformation. Set right before WWII, the dreadful anticipation of the war looms large. Written in a conversational...


  • The Leopard (Il Gattopardo)

    Enter the world of over-the-top Sicilian nobility: Prince Fabrizio of the Salina family must come to terms with the changing world of Italy’s politics and his family’s aristocratic bearing. Offering historical insight into the Risorgimento, the reunification of Italy, and meditations on class structure and the beginning of the end...


  • The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

    In one of my all-time favourite reads – we follow six schoolgirls in Edinburgh over a number of years as they develop their relationship with their mentor and teacher, Miss Jean Brodie (teacher extraordinaire and manipulative fascist in her spare time). A spine-tingling evocation of the power teachers yield and...


  • Anna Karenina

    One of my all-time favourite books by one of my all-time favourite writers, Anna Karenina follows the tragic trajectory of the titular heroine’s love affair with the charismatic Count Vronsky – and the scandal it causes in their elite Russian society in the late 19th century. Great for: • Lovers...


  • Orlando: A Biography

    The inimitable Virginia Woolf wrote this classic novel in 1928: Orlando is a young man born into Elizabethan England who eventually transforms into a woman. He navigates both sexes throughout the 20th century in this wonderful exploration of gender identity and love. Great for: • Readers unfamiliar with Virginia Woolf...


  • The Great Gatsby

    One of my favourite contemporary American classics, Gatsby take place over a summer in Long Island in 1922. Narrated by Nick Carraway as he navigates the glamorous parties of the enigmatic Jay Gatsby, Fitzgerald provides the reader with a phenomenal meditation on greed, identity and love. Great for: • Those...


  • The Picture of Dorian Gray

    If this is your first time encountering the inimitable wit of Oscar Wilde, I suggest you start with the clever playwright’s only novel that follows the vainglorious Dorian Gray: when he trades his soul for a life of youth, his magnificent portrait starts to look rather, er, uninviting. Great for:...


  • The Age of Innocence

    In the dazzling world that is late nineteenth-century New York, the crème de la crème mingle (and talk about each other) as Newland Archer prepares to marry the angelic May Welland. Enter the mysterious Countess Ellen Olenska (who shakes Archer to his core) and watch the upper crust get a...


  • The Castle

    Kafka is not for everyone; however, if you want to dive in for a taste of the Kafkesque world, this is a good place to start: follow K. as he tries, and repeatedly fails, to gain access to “the castle,” in this allegory about authoritarian states and free will. Great...


  • Middlemarch

    This is the moving, classic story of Dorothea Brooke and her dealings with the surrounding society (and its large cast of categories) and its implications for women. Great for: Classic lovers who’ve never read it: get it now! Those interested in social commentary set in 1830s Britain Anyone who doesn’t...


  • The Forsyte Saga

    In one of my all-time favourite novels, Nobel Prize-winner, Galsworthy, crafts a story that spans generations in this juicy tale of ambition, love, family and social commentary. Great for: Readers looking to delve into a scandalous story with high literary merit Anyone who loves multi-generational sagas Readers who love British...


  • Vanity Fair

    Meet Becky Sharpe (the wicked, wonderful social climber), in this delicious tale of ambition that reaches Shakespearean heights. Great for: Lovers of characters you relish despising Those looking for literary writing mixed with a successful plot  Anyone who has ever wanted to anything just for money If you liked the...