Lately I have been really enjoying rereading some of my favourite classics and discovering some new ones. I have heard a lot of people mention that they would love to read more classics but they don’t have enough time. Luckily, there are a lot of great ones between 80-250 pages long.
Below is a list of 11 great classic novels to get you started. All of them can be read in 24 hours.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote
Set in 1940s New York, Breakfast at Tiffany’s gives a glimpse into socialite Holly Golightly’s world. The woman is a mystery to many but readers will get to witness a dark side to Golightly, which isn’t shown in the film adaption. She spends her time entertaining wealthy men who in return buy her presents and give her money. The main character is charming and funny. This is a must-read for fans of The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Page count: 129
Animal Farm by George Orwell
This is a very easy read which was inspired by the Russian Revolution of 1917. It follows a group of animals fighting for their freedom and rights, after being mistreated by the owner of the estate. In an uprising, they decide to take over the farm with two pigs, Napoleon and Snowball, guiding the animals. The novella shows that some leaders don’t always seek what is in the best interest for others.
Page count: 112
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
This is my all-time favourite book. The writing style and story itself are so beautiful and cleverly crafted. The novel follows a man who sells his soul so he can stay young forever. While he looks handsome and youthful, his portrait in the attic does not. The main character is extremely vain and self-obsessed, caring very little for others. Not only does his picture age, but it also gets uglier with every evil act the character commits.
Page count: 180
The Graduate by Charles Webb
This novella follows Benjamin Braddock who is struggling to decide what his future holds after he graduates. Through his troubled times, he finds a companion in Mrs Robinson, an older lady whom he begins an affair with. It just so happens that she is the wife of his father’s business partner! This is a fun and lighthearted read which might resonate with young people who are unsure what to do with their lives.
Page count: 187
Good Morning, Midnight by Jean Rhys
Good Morning, Midnight is a semi-autobiographical novel that delves into topics of mental health and self-loathing. It is a fast-paced story with a simple writing style. The protagonist, Sasha, is troubled by her past and moves to Paris in the 1930s in search of self discovery.
Page count: 156
Franny and Zooey by J D Saligner
Franny is a short story but is connected to the novella Zooey. The book follows both of the characters, who also happen to be siblings. Franny’s story starts while her boyfriend, Lane, is visiting her at university. As more of the plot unravels, it becomes clear she is fed up of the fake people she surrounds herself with and becomes deeply troubled. Zooey, her brother, becomes a confidant to his sister during her breakdown at their family home.
Page count: 147
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
This is a true classic that many people have probably watched on the telly at Christmastime. Ebenezer Scrooge doesn’t like to celebrate Christmas. He is bitter and selfish. But he gets a chance to redeem himself when the ghost of his business partner, Marley, comes back on Christmas Eve to teach Scrooge the error of his ways.
Page count: 80 pages
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
George and Lenny are the best of friends but not everyone understands them. They always have each other to get through tough times during their lives. Lennie is different from most people. He appears to be child-like and doesn’t understand the world around him. They begin work on a farm with the hope of a bright future ahead of them. The book deals with racism, prejudice and portrays a friendship many could only dream of having. Make sure you have plenty of tissues for this one!
Page count: 112
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Even though this is classed as a children’s book, it is worth reading as an adult. This is the perfect novel for anyone looking to escape from the real world for a few hours. Mary Lennox moves to England to live with her uncle. She is a sickly child. Over time, as she gets cared for by servants, she becomes a spoilt little girl. Mary finds an enchanted secret garden where she learns to care for her surroundings and others around her. This is a really sweet book filled with life lessons, for both children and adults.
Page count: 211
I have included two other books below that are short reads but due to their flowery language, it might take longer to read them.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Nick Carraway, the narrator, moves into his new home in Long Island, a wealthy neighbourhood lined with mansions, during the Roaring Twenties. He soon learns about the wealthy Jay Gatsby who lives a glamorous and superficial life filled with parties, affairs and bootlegging. Nick can only dream of such a life and is enthralled by Gatsby. This novel is set in the Jazz age and has a very poetic writing style, as every sentence is filled with emotion and so much meaning.
Page count: 180
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
A Clockwork Orange follows a group of bored teenage boys who commit horrifying acts of violence for fun. Published in 1962, the novel is set in the future in an English town. The story is told through Alex’s eyes. He is a member of the gang, who spend their nights drinking milk infused with drugs at a local bar before searching for their next victims. While this is a short book, the author has made up a lot of new words (in many copies there is a dictionary in the back) but this could make the story slightly more time-consuming.
Page count: 139
My favourites from this list:
- The Picture of Dorian Gray
- Of Mice and Men
- The Great Gatsby
What’s your favourite classic? Let us know by commenting below or Tweet @bookwormgirl_24!