THE PRINCESS BRIDE by William Goldman | Review

A few months ago I watched the movie The Princess Bride for the first time and I instantly knew that I would have to read William Goldman’s book of the same title. Rumor had it that there were significant differences between the two, and I wanted to know the truth behind the classic book vs. movie debate. In this case, I don’t believe it’s a case of either/or; both mediums of telling this story are delightful, and I love them both for different reasons.

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By far my favorite aspect of this book is the large amount of commentary from the narrator, who seems to be Goldman himself. From the very beginning, the reader is introduced to the story through the witty voice of Goldman. Not only does he provide a framework for the actual story, but his commentary throughout is hilarious. It adds personality and context to the narrative, even if everything isn’t one hundred percent factual. The outside narration is almost like an additional separate story in itself, and who doesn’t want more of Goldman’s entertaining charm?

The characters in The Princess Bride are phenomenal from all angles. No matter what kinds of characters you prefer reading about, there’s bound to be one that you end up rooting for.

+ Westley: Let’s not beat around the bush, here: Westley is clearly the character that I was most excited to read about. I love everything about him: his remarkable bravery, his unfailing loyalty to Buttercup, and even his constant reply of “As you wish.” If you’re looking for a dashing hero that will make your heart flutter, then look no further than this farm boy!

+ Inigo Montoya: I was astounded by the amount of information we learn in this novel about Inigo’s past compared to the what background the movie provides (which is practically none). I loved learning about why Inigo is the determined swordsman he is, as well as about his journey to meeting Fezzik. A better understanding of his past allowed me to appreciate Inigo so much more, and it made that one famous line infinitely more satisfying.

+ Fezzik: Oh, Fezzik. I love his clever rhymes, his sensitive side, and his faithful courage. I prefer his portrayal in the novel rather than that of the movie because the reader can see more of his inner personality beyond the outward stereotype of his bulky size.

+ Buttercup: To be honest, Buttercup is one of my least favorite characters, both in the book and in the movie. Although she does have more personality and agency in the novel, I would have liked to see her be more independent. I suppose she’s a characteristic female of a typical “damsel in distress” story, but it still would have been nice for her to break out of her shell a bit.

+ Prince Humperdinck: What an idiot. He’s definitely one of those characters that I can’t help but love to hate. I mean, he has a Zoo of Death in which he methodically keeps deadly animals in carefully organized levels in order to hunt and kill them for fun. If that doesn’t scream “evil psychotic prince,” then I don’t know what does.

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Now, onto the more controversial part of this review: the book vs. movie discussion. As previously mentioned, I adore both forms of telling this superb story because they each have their advantages and disadvantages.

First, the book has much more commentary from the narrator, which I thoroughly enjoyed. It also has an additional section at the end titled Buttercup’s Baby in which Goldman extends the story beyond what we’re shown in the movie. Buttercup has a bit more personality in the narrative (though not much more, to be honest), and there is an impressive amount of background information about Inigo, Fezzik, the kingdom of Florin, etc. that the movie does not offer. Simply put, the original novel provides the reader with a fuller, more comprehensive story in general, as is usually to be expected from the book version.

However, the movie adaptation of The Princess Bride is fantastic as well. Though there is a lot less background information and input from the narrator, the viewer is rewarded with a much more fast-paced, suspenseful plot. There are some deviations from the original story line and a few small details that were changed, but nothing too major that detracts from the overall story. The cast is great, the special effects are cheesy enough to be considered good (it was released in 1987, after all), and exudes the same hilarious, warm, fuzzy vibe as does the novel.

Of course, I must give the movie some bonus points for Cary Elwes’ role as Westley. I don’t really think that one needs explaining, right? 200_s

Overall, reading The Princess Bride was such a delightful experience! I love everything about it, from its witty narration and heartwarming romance to its entertaining characters and the wild adventures on which they embark. If you’re a fan of the movie but have never read the novel, I highly recommend giving it a try! You won’t be able to put it down!

My Rating: :0) :0) :0) :0) :0) 5 out of 5

Would I recommend it to a friend?: Always!! This is one of those gems that everyone should read.

What are your thoughts on The Princess Bride? How do you think the movie adaptation compares to the original story? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday: Fall 2016 TBR

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Happy Tuesday!! My favorite season has finally arrived: autumn. I love everything about this transitional season, from the crisp chill in the air to the golden hues of the foliage. In the spirit of the pumpkin-spiced season, the theme of this week’s Top Ten Tuesday is the Top Ten Books on My Fall 2016 TBR List. Since the semester is currently underway, I don’t have much time for reading other than what I’m assigned to read for my classes. Still, I’m hoping to get some reading in on breaks and if I have a moment or two to spare here and there. Here are some of the books that I’m hoping to read this fall:

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I know I won’t be able to read all of these books in the next few months, but I would be ecstatic if I could get around to reading two or three of them.

What books are you looking forward to reading this fall? What do you think of the books on my list? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

 

Hey Hemingway, What’s With the Bulls? | THE SUN ALSO RISES

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While rereading Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises for a literature class last semester, I kept coming back to a puzzling question: What is so important about bulls? Bullfighting seems to be the focal point of the characters’ time in Pamplona, Spain, which makes sense considering the culture and setting of the time. The unusual part is the great importance and emphasis they all place on this dangerous sport, as though it is so much more than entertainment or a way to make a living. For these characters, bullfighting seems to be a lifestyle, a persona, an image.

The significance of bulls and bullfighting came up in our class discussion of The Sun Also Rises, and fortunately some light was shed on this fascinating topic. Contrary to my prior belief, these bulls aren’t solely representative of male dominance; rather, the characters compare themselves to bulls in order to assess their own masculinity and sexual identities. 

That’s a lot of meaning behind a simple bull!

For the sake of keeping this discussion focused, I’m going to concentrate on Jake Barnes, the main protagonist. While fighting in World War I, Jake was wounded in an unfortunate way: to be frank, he was castrated. We know this from closely reading the scene when Jake looks at himself in the mirror of a hotel room. He alludes to his injury almost nonchalantly, slipping in some telling remarks amidst thoughts of French furniture. Jake says:

“Undressing, I looked at myself in the mirror of the big armoire beside the bed. That was a typically French way to furnish a room. Practical, too, I suppose. Of all of the ways to be wounded. I suppose it was funny.” (p. 38)

The fact that Jake is looking at his naked body in the mirror certainly hints at the nature of his injury. The mixture of comments about both furniture and his wound suggests that he is attempting to fill the apparent absence of a phallus with something else– in this case, descriptions of furniture. (A bit strange, but I won’t judge.) Jake is insecure about his masculinity because he no longer possesses a physical representation of it.

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest HemingwaySo where do the bulls come into play? Why, I’m glad you asked.

The bulls used for bullfighting are physically aggressive, harming others by penetrating them with their horns Yes, you read that implication correctly: the horns of a bull are representative of a phallus. Likewise, a bull’s less masculine counterpart is a steer (literally a bull who has been castrated). Steers are not associated with the intense passion, excitement, and danger of bullfighting, thus suggesting that castrated men cannot participate in masculine or sexual acts.

This is the part that clearly bothers Jake, the question he struggles to answer: Has the war made him a bull or a steer? 

Physically, Jake is a steer– but what about his personal identity? Such an internal conflict is one of the driving forces of the narrative as Jake endeavors to understand his own masculinity.

It’s the link between bulls and Jake’s specific injury that I did not recognize until discussing it in class. Connections, interpretations, and revelations like this one are one of the many reasons why I love studying literature. Even though I didn’t enjoy The Sun Also Rises as much as I had initially hoped to, I can’t deny that this novel makes for some fascinating close reading.

What are your thoughts on this discussion or about The Sun Also Rises in general? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

The Alphabet Book Tag

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I hope you’re all having a lovely day! I was tagged ages ago to do this Alphabet Book Tag, but it seems like too much fun not to do. Thanks so much to Ola @ Ola Reads Books for tagging me!

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Pick a book that is on your shelf or one that you have read in the past and fill out each letter of the Alphabet. The idea is to use books that you have either read or that are on your TBR list.

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All of the books that I have chosen are ones that I have read (except for Y!). When possible, I’ve linked my reviews of them as well.

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A – Animal Farm by George Orwell

B – Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

C – City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

D – Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

E – Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn

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F – Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

G – Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

H – Hamlet by William Shakespeare

I – Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

J – Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

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K – King Lear by William Shakespeare

L – Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

M – My Ántonia by Willa Cather

N – Noggin by John Corey Whaley

O – Our Town by Thornton Wilder

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P – Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Q – (The) Queen of Everything by Deb Caletti

R – Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

S – Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

T – Thrive by Arianna Huffington

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U – Ugly People Beautiful Hearts by Marlen Komar

V – Vicious by V.E. Schwab

W – When We Collided by Emery Lord

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X – Xenocide by Orson Scott Card

Y – (The) Year of Reading Dangerously by Andy Miller {I haven’t read this yet but I’ve come to the conclusion that I cannot remember I single book I have ever read that starts with the letter “Y.”}

Z – Zero by Morgan Dark

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And YOU, of course!!

What do you think of the books I’ve mentioned? More importantly, have you ever read a book that begins with the letter “Y”? {I’m really curious about this now!} Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST by Oscar Wilde | Review

1162506After reading Oscar Wilde’s dark classic novel The Picture of Dorian GrayI certainly wasn’t expecting this little play to be so charming and lighthearted. The Importance of Being Earnest is a true treat to read, for more reason than one.

Wilde surprised me with his witty, hilarious sense of humor. I laughed out loud several times while reading this play, particularly at the banter between Algernon and Jack. The comedy is smart, complete with sharp, biting comebacks and outlandish drama. Of course, one of the most notable jokes is the play on words involving “earnest” and “Ernest.” Wilde’s brilliant cleverness shines through this duality because both words are integral to the story. It is important for Jack and Algernon to be named “Ernest” in order for the women to agree to marry them; however, being “earnest” is imperative as well as to avoid becoming tangled in a sticky web of lies. These two distinct meanings overlap and intertwine as the drama unfolds until finally culminating in one hilarious end scene. There are several other running jokes, but this duality was by far my favorite.

Much of this drama’s humor also stem’s from Wilde’s critical view of the Victorian upper class. For instance, the fact that Algernon and Jack are worried about their fabricated second identities shows how privileged their lives actually are. The women are more concerned about the name of their future husbands than anything else, while the men seem to be singularly focused on the beauty of their future wives. Lower classes don’t know where there next meal is coming from, but the only thing that matters to these uppity people is the status of their cucumber sandwiches. These trivial, frivolous troubles emphasize the absurdity that often accompanies immense wealth and privilege. In this way, Wilde successfully delivers a message about class and Victorian society through humor, wit, and a clever use of language.

“In matters of grave importance, style, not sincerity, is the vital thing.”

Moreover, The Importance of Being Earnest is such a short, quick read that I finished it in a single sitting. Though this play is short, it certainly packs a powerful, entertaining punch. The story is simple, the dialogue is direct, and every scene serves an obviously important purpose. It takes a masterful writer to write both concisely and comprehensively, two skills which Wilde clearly possesses. Reading such a short but effectively written work is refreshing, especially after slogging through so many longer novels recently. There’s something to be said for a quick, powerful read!

Overall, I was completely taken aback by this play’s charming humor, lighthearted tone, clever wit, and sharp critique of Victorian society. The Importance of Being Earnest is one of the best plays I have ever had the pleasure of reading. I will definitely be exploring more of Oscar Wilde’s work in the future!

My Rating: :0) :0) :0) :0) :0) 5 out of 5

Would I recommend it to a friend?: Absolutely! I feel as though this is a play that anyone and everyone can enjoy, even if you’re not usually interested in drama.

What are your thoughts on this play? Would you recommend any of Oscar Wilde’s other works? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Audio Books I’ve Listened To

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Happy Tuesday!! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme highlights a form of reading that is often unappreciated and under-utilized: audio books. While the majority of my reading is done using physical copies of books, recently I’ve been listening to more and more audio books. They’re a great way to get some extra reading done if you have a really busy schedule because they make multitasking so easy. I love listening to audio books while working out, doing dishes, folding laundry, etc. Not only does it make me feel super productive, but it also allows me to read so much more than I otherwise would have.

To celebrate this ingenious way of reading, here are ten of the Best Audio Books I’ve Listened To, in no particular order.STILETTO-11STILETTO-12

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By far my favorite audio books are those narrated by Neil Gaiman. I love his voice so much!

What are some of your favorite audio books? What do you think of the ones on my list? Do you prefer to listen to books or physically read them? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

The Liebster Award | Love Actually, Advice & Pie

Book Courtship-8Though I was nominated for this Liebster Award quite a while ago, I thought I would go ahead and write a post about it anyways. It’s always fun to answer some interesting questions, ask a few of my own, and then highlight a bunch of lovely bloggers. Thanks so much to Grace @ kimmie.gg for nominating me! Be sure to check out her blog if you haven’t already.

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1) You must acknowledge the person who nominated you and display the award.
2) Answer 11 questions that the blogger gives you.
3) Ask your own 11 questions.
4) Nominate 11 blogs that you think are deserving of the award.

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I originally began blogging back in high school simply to keep a written record of my thoughts on the books I read. I had no idea that such a vast, enthusiastic, and active book blogging community even existed!

2. What’s your favorite movie and why?

This is such a difficult question, but I think my answer is going to have to be Love Actually. I watched it for the very first time this past December and absolutely fell in love with it (and watched it two more times before Christmas!). British accents, adorable love stories, and Hugh Grant– what more could you want?

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3. Where is your next travel destination?

Back home from college? I have no current travel plans in the future, although I would love to study abroad next year!

4. What is an item on your bucket list?

Travel abroad! I have never traveled outside of the United States, but it’s definitely something I hope to accomplish (ideally in the next few years). England, Spain, and Germany are all countries I hope to visit someday!

5. Where do you buy most of you books from?

Lately I’ve been buying books in two extremes: either online or at my local independent bookshop. I much prefer to browse the bookshelves in person and support small book businesses, but sometimes that’s difficult to do while away at college. I had a lot of fun on a recent trip to this bookshop when this happened:

6. If you could give advice to your 10 year old self, what would it be?

This has been said so often by so many people, but it’s true: BE YOURSELF. Don’t worry about the bullies or the senseless drama. It will all work out in the end.

7. Who is your role model? (Can include fictional characters as well)

My parents. They are supportive, they are kind, they are intelligent, and they are successful in more than just their careers. They inspire me in every way, and they will always be my role models.

8. What career path is your ideal choice?

I would love to someday be an English professor at a college or university! Discussing literature, meeting with students, working on my own research… it sounds like the ideal job for me.

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Blueberry pie❤

9. If life handed you lemons, what would you do with them?

Find out a way to make lemon meringue pie. Pie is too good to not bake when handed lemons.

10. What is your earliest memory?

I don’t have a distinct first memory, but one of the earliest things I can remember is celebrating a holiday (Thanksgiving? Christmas?) with all of my family members over my house.

11. If you had a superpower, what would it be and why?

Being able to communicate with everyone– people, animals, and even plants– by knowing how to speak all languages. Communication is vital, yet often times it is impossible due to language differences (or, in the case of plants and animals, species differences). Imagine being able to talk to everyone and anything!

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Since I enjoyed answering Grace’s questions so much, I’m just going to send them on to the next round of nominees!

1. Why did you begin blogging?

2. What’s your favorite movie and why?

3. Where is your next travel destination?

4. What is an item on your bucket list?

5. Where do you buy most of you books from?

6. If you could give advice to your 10 year old self, what would it be?

7. Who is your role model? (Can include fictional characters as well)

8. What career path is your ideal choice?

9. If life handed you lemons, what would you do with them?

10. What is your earliest memory?

11. If you had a superpower, what would it be and why?

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  1. Briana & Krysta @ Pages Unbound
  2. Anne @ Inked Brownies
  3. Alice @ Arctic Books
  4. Karen @ Run Wright
  5. Ava @ Bookishness and Tea
  6. Proud & Prejudiced Book Thieves
  7. Sammie @ Bookshelves & Biros
  8. Lydia @ Ocean of Myths
  9. Amy @ Read.Dream.Live
  10. Estefani @ Fiction Jungle
  11. Maggie @ In A Reading World

Again, thank you Grace for nominating me! I hope you all have a lovely day!

What are your answers to any of these questions? What do you think of my answers? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne| Review

This review is a difficult one to write.

From the day I first learned about this eighth installment in the Harry Potter series I’ve had very conflicted feelings about reading it. Prior to its release day I had convinced myself that reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child would be a mistake, that the risk of being disappointed was much too high. But my feelings began to change as more and more people read and discussed this rather polarizing script. It seemed as though nearly everyone had a strong opinion about the story, either praising it highly or pointing out its flaws. Part of me felt left out of the conversation, and I decided that the only way for me to jump in was to read the script and form an opinion of my own. 

Now here I am, on the other side as a contributor to this ongoing conversation. I’ve finally read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and, unfortunately, I did not love it. To be honest, I didn’t really even like it. After flipping the final page I was left with a sour taste in my mouth: disappointment.

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One of my biggest critiques of this addition to the Harry Potter world is that it didn’t feel like one at all. It’s immediately obvious that J.K. Rowling played a small role in the actual writing of the script because the style, tone, and portrayal of characters are completely different from that of the original series. I understand that the fact that it’s a script instead of a novel contributes to these differences, but that’s also a factor that the writers should have taken into account. As a loyal fan of the Harry Potter series, I was expecting a similar written quality of work with this new installment; however, that is not what I feel has been delivered.

This difference in writing style is extremely noticeable in the way the characters are portrayed. Harry Potter fans know these beloved characters like the backs of our hands, so why would the writers reduce these complex personalities to mere shells of what they once were? Harry is frustratingly unlikable, Hermione has lost her sharp wit, and Ron’s sole purpose in the play seems to be as a source of comic relief. The only character that feels remotely close to his original personality is Dumbledore, though he plays but a small role in this new story. Once again, I understand that because this story takes place nineteen years after the original series ends it is therefore natural for their personalities to have changed over time. However, it often does not even feel as though Harry, Ron, and Hermione are lifelong friends. At times the members of this terrific trio treat each other almost as acquaintances. The odd changes made to these characters’ personalities is frustrating, disappointing, and simply nonsensical.

Another significant critique of this script is that it feels unnecessary. Nothing about the story made me feel as though it is an important, relevant, or essential addition to the original series. Where do we end by the conclusion of the play? Quite close to where we started, unfortunately, with the exception of some slight character development. No exciting secrets are revealed, no past questions are answered, and the plot does not even directly connect to that of the original series in any significant way. It is clear that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is an afterthought, an extension of a beloved magical world that was not initially planned for. After finishing this script, a saddening question lingered in my mind: What is the point of this play in the first place?

While this review has been rather scathing thus far, I will admit that there are a few positive aspects I should mention. For instance, I really enjoyed Scorpius’ funny personality as well as his optimistic attitude towards life in general. Moreover, despite my harsh criticism, it was fun to return to the world of Harry Potter once again. More than anything, though, this story filled me with a desire to reread the original series. This reading experience was nothing if not nostalgic.

So, where does that leave me, a lifelong fan of Harry Potter who is unhappy with this recent addition to the series? Disappointed, frustrated, and surprised are a few adjectives to describe how I’m currently feeling. However, I don’t regret my decision to read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Now I’m able to form my own opinion of this story, albeit a rather negative one.

My Rating: :0) :0) 2 out of 5. It pains me to give such a low rating to a Harry Potter story, but it’s an honest reflection of my opinions.

Would I recommend it to a friend?: Despite my negative review, I would still recommend this script to Harry Potter fans. I’ve heard numerous glowing reviews o it, so it’s possible that your reading experience could be much more positive than mine.

Have you read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child? How do you feel about the script specifically or the release of an additional Harry Potter story in general? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books I’ve Read for Class

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Happy Tuesday!! Since this new semester is now well underway and this week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is open-ended, I thought I would share with you all my Top Ten Favorite Books I’ve Read for Class (that’s a genre, right? Well, it is now!). Assigned reading often has a bit of an undeserved bad reputation. Sure, you’re not going to love everything that you’re assigned to read for school, but isn’t that the point? Being forced to explore different genres, authors, and texts can open your eyes to new perspectives and topics you never knew you would enjoy learning about. Some of my all time favorite books were originally assigned reading for classes!

In the spirit of the back-to-school season, here are my top picks in the order that I read them:

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Honorable Mentions: Lord of the Flies by William Golding {high school freshman}, Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer {high school freshman}, and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins {college freshman}

What are some of the best books that you’ve had to read for school? What do you think of the books on my list? How do you feel about assigned reading in general? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

9 Literary Classics You Can Read Online for Free | GUEST POST by Caroline

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If you’ve been following along with my blog for a while, then you’re likely aware of my love for classic literature. Some people dread reading these works that are usually studied in a classroom setting, but I just can’t get enough of them. Today, Caroline @ Culture Coverage is here to talk about a topic that excites my little bookish heart: 9 Literary Classics You Can Read Online for Free.

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When copyright goes out, great literature comes to the masses. If you’re not too attached to paper, bindings and the book smell, you can get the same great texts online for free. From childhood characters to mansion-loving millionaires, these nine classics are sure to become favorites even if it’s your second time around.

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Most of these texts can be viewed in a web browser. If you prefer downloadable texts, that’s available too. If you’re overseas and trying to access sites blocked by location, just grab a Virtual Private Network like the ones Secure Thoughts has reviewed to unlock the content, and then you’re free to take your library wherever you wander.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Lewis Carroll’s whacky fantasy full of March Hares, Red Queens and jabberwocks is available for a second run around the rabbit hole. If the last time you read it was in elementary school, it’s got some rather trippy insight even adults will appreciate. You’re going to want to spend your time catching up with Alice, the Mad Hatter, and definitely the White Rabbit—it’s what all the cool kids are doing. Don’t believe me? Disney’s recent release of Alice Through the Looking Glass means the material is still catching the imaginations of the world. Check it out here.

Dracula

Lovers of Twilight will be surprised to learn the gothic monster of lore in Stoker’s bloodsucking original doesn’t glitter or sparkle and is more than a century old. For those who are new to the vampire genre, you’re in for a treat. From the shores of England to the Transylvanian castle of legendary esteem, the Dracula the modern generation has come to know is far removed from its original, but that only deepens the fanged mystery for those who have never read it. Get ready to get the creeps because Dracula, in all of its bloodlust glory, is one of those fantasy novels that never stays in the past and always finds ways to reinvent itself for the future. Catch it here.  

The Great Gatsby

Scott Fitzgerald’s famous novel of the social climbing millionaire in love with his childhood sweetheart is probably the most famous American novel of the last century. If you haven’t spent time with the eyes, the bachelor and that glorious estate, then you just haven’t lived. From the big parties to the heartbreaking love story, this literary journey through the Roaring ’20s and the delights of the American dream is one of literature’s finest examples that money cannot buy happiness, even if it can buy everything else. Read it here.

Cinderella

The classic tale of a beautiful girl losing her glass slipper at the stroke of midnight is a classic for a reason. It just doesn’t get old. Now while the literary version is slightly less inclined to break out into musical numbers involving friendly woodland creatures—the stepsisters in this version cut off body parts to get their feet to fit into the shoes—you’re welcome to glimmer over that part if you’re in it for the love story. Read Charles Perrault’s retelling here.

Ulysses

Long considered the hardest read in the English language outside of Shakespeare, James Joyce’s novel based on Homer’s The Odyssey is not for the faint of heart. The book describes a single day in the life of Leopold Bloom, an advertising man in Dublin. It makes exact correlations to the classical poem, except with new twists, and creates one of the most defining works of modernist literature ever written. A hefty volume with over 18 different parts and some 265,000 words to its name, this undertaking is no walk in the park. You’ll gain literary world bragging rights until the day you die if you make it all the way through. Take the ultimate test here.

1984

As far as dystopian novels go, this is one of the greats. In an alternate universe where Big Brother is always watching, Wilson, a government agent forced to distort and rewrite history, decides to keep a personal diary—a crime punishable by death—and it changes everything. The reader gets sucked into George Orwell’s mind-boggling reality that punishes truth, hates individualism and fears the personal story. For all you conspiracy theorists out there, this read is definitely one you don’t want to miss. Check the text out here.

Peter Pan

Is it a coincidence the boy who never grows up is a story that never ages? In J.M. Barrie’s childhood fantasy with ticking crocodiles, mermaids and pirates, the lives of the Darling children are never the same once they meet the boy and his shadow. From thimbles to kisses, pixie dust to Lost Boys, the adventures of Peter Pan and Captain Hook aren’t just for the kiddies. There are a lot of laughs for everyone. Tiger Lily, Smee and the whole gang are around to make reading child’s play, so you don’t need to wait to be asked to babysit to reacquaint yourself with this timeless tale. Read it here.

Slaughterhouse Five

Kurt Vonnegut’s tale of Billy Pilgrim leads readers deep into Billy’s memory to his time as an American soldier, the bombings of Dresden, his wedding night and the birth of his daughter. Though the book plays with the concept of time—the memories are anything but sequential—this book is by far Vonnegut’s most popular work with a sharp sense of humor and satirical leanings. The passing of time has only cemented its semiautobiographical genius into the heart of contemporary culture. Listen to the audio here.

A Study in Scarlet

A Study in Scarlet is the first in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s long-running detective series. Like any good mystery, there’s blood, mischief and mayhem, but, more importantly, the story features two of the most popular figures in modern pop culture: Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. Once you turn the last page, you can tune into the BBC’s latest adaptation starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman to compare how well “A Study in Pink,” the first in the series currently streaming on Netflix, stands up to its literary counterpart. Read it here.

From the forests of Transylvania to planets far, far away, these classics are sure to pique the interest of any bookworm and literary nerd. So what are you waiting for? With the perk that these texts don’t need a trip to Barnes and Noble to get started, there’s no reason to wait. Have any favorites of your own currently up for grabs on the internet? Leave the authors and titles in the comments below. I’d love to add more to my reading list.

About the author: Caroline is a self-proclaimed bibliophile and lover of the written word and spends her time reading the greats and penning her own work. She hopes you love these classics just as much as she does!

June (3)

Thanks so much to Caroline for writing this guest post! I’ll definitely be checking some of these links out, especially for Peter Pan and Ulysses. 

What are your favorite classics? Do you enjoy reading them in general? How do you feel about reading books online? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY