Some of the best books are those written more than 100 years ago. They’ve been adapted into films and TV shows across the last century, but sometimes it’s just best to go back to where the magic all began.
The language in the books may be a little old fashioned, but don’t let that put you off – these are among the best books you’ll ever read.
They’re also perfect if you’re taking part in any reading challenge where you need to read a book older than you, or over 100 years old.
I first got Little Women in a game of Pass the Parcel at a friend’s birthday party when we were seven. I fell in love with it instantly, and I saw a lot of myself in Jo. It’s one of my favourite classics, and I regularly reread it.
A Christmas Carol
There have been many different film or TV versions of this, but the best way to experience it is definitely to read the original book it’s set on. The various film versions do stay true to the book, but it’s always great to read it for yourself and to picture the characters in your head. What adaptation do you picture when you read it?
Alice in Wonderland
If you’re really lucky, you can find a version that includes not only Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, but also a copy of Through the Looking Glass.
Alice’s adventures are best shown in Lewis Carroll’s book, with a full version of The Walrus and the Carpenter included that you miss out on from the Disney animation.
Tom’s Midnight Garden
Philippa Pearce’s book might be a hidden gem, and it’s definitely one you need to look out for. Tom is sent to live with his stern aunt and uncle while his brother Peter recovers from measles, and when a grandfather clock in the lobby strikes 13 at midnight some magical things start happening.
Tom’s explorations bring him to a garden hidden behind the clock, which never seems to be the same every time he visits.
Finally, Tom gets the chance to meet the friend he’s been longing to make since moving to his uncle’s apartment as he meets Hatty on his second night there, but all is not as it seems.
EB White’s farm-based book is one of the first books I read and finished myself, I picked it up when I was about seven or eight and was slap bang in the middle of my “animals are so cute” phase. It not only has a plethora of cute animals in it (Wilbur himself being top of that list, but also the horses, sheep and ducks scattered around the yard), but it teaches lessons about acceptance, diversity and mortality. Deep lessons for a seven year old, huh?
The Narnia Series
Yes, all seven. There’s a lot of debate over the order in which they should be read, much like Star Wars. You can choose to read them in the order they were published, which brings you to Narnia via the wardrobe first before bringing you back to the Professor’s attic, or you can read in the chronological order set out by Harper Collins. Either way, taking a trip to Narnia is a must.
What’s your favourite classic novel?