One common misconception about classic books is that they are no fun to read and will take you forever to get through. In short, they’re not “beach reads.” But I reject this idea.
Sure, there are some classics that I can’t imagine cracking open on a lounge chair. I’m not suggesting you try to fit War and Peace into your beach bag. But for those of you looking for something different to pack into your carry-on, I’ve compiled a short list of books that are guaranteed to grab and keep your attention way better than 50 Shades of Grey ever could. Without further ado, a few classic books to take to the beach!
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
Considered the very first detective novel, this book centers around the fate of a large, Indian diamond, which is stolen from a woman during her eighteenth birthday party. There’s a lot of great suspense and build up, plus you’ve got to love that it was written by a female author in the mid-nineteenth century!
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
By this point, you all know how much I love Jane Austen’s novels. This one is just as well-written as her others, but its younger heroine, more snarky narration, and blatant mocking of Gothic literature will keep you on your toes!
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
For all of you dystopian fiction lovers, this novel is a must-read! Atwood creates an environment that makes the reader question religion, government, societal norms and the effects that they have on women.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
This book was one of my favorites ever assigned during my school days, and I actually remember first reading it on vacation with my family at Myrtle Beach. It’s another dystopian society novel (dystopian fiction is so hot right now!), and it will be especially intriguing for all book lovers!
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Fitzgerald has such a way with words, and the on-again, off-again feelings between Gatsby and Daisy produce more than enough drama to fill your typical beach read.
The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Ghost story? Love story? Historical fiction piece? I would say this novel covers all of these bases and more. The physical house is still standing in Massachusetts, and it is steeped in the history of the Salem Witch Trials. If that doesn’t intrigue you, I don’t know what will!
Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell
I read this book in college in a course filled with Dickens, and I remember Gaskell’s witty and playful descriptions of the English country life to be a fresh breath of air. Filled with gossip, unrequited romance, and some truly ridiculous characters, these bite-sized vignettes will keep you entertained throughout your trip.
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
As if Oscar Wilde’s own life wasn’t scandalous enough, his novel about beautiful, libertine Dorian Gray’s seeming eternal youth was enough to throw Victorian England into a frenzy. Does vice leave a physical mark? This classic will keep you turning pages to find out!
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
If you’ve read any of the Sherlock Holmes books, you’ll understand why the relationship between Holmes and Dr. Watson is what keeps me coming back again and again. However, with this one in particular, the mystery surrounding the case of the Baskerville family and its devil-monster is enough to get someone hooked!
The Awakening by Kate Chopin
And of course, you must’ve known I would make a plug for this month’s Book Club pick. Not only is this novella a quick read, but its portrayal of marriage, sex, and infidelity earned it a spot on the banned books list back in the day.
So there you have it! Ten classics that you can take on vacation and enjoy reading whether you’re on a plane, in the mountains, or getting your tan on by the beach.