Bookish

5 Classics for November

In this series, I recommend five classics each month that remind me of that particular time of the year. Although most people seem to dislike November (at least in New England where I live) because all of the pretty leaves die and everything is dead, it’s actually my favorite month of the year. This might have something to do with the fact that it’s my birthday month, but I also think it’s because I’ve always associated November with the calm before (and after) the storm. November is always relatively relaxed compared to the chaos of Halloween and Christmas. While Thanksgiving can be hectic, you don’t have to worry about buying the perfect presents for people (yet) and it’s always been one of my favorite holidays. Usually November is after midterms and before finals, meaning that you get a little bit of an academic breather as well. And it’s cold and cozy but there isn’t any snow to shovel yet… the perfect month!

In terms of literature, I’ve always associated November with books that are charming but a little tense, a little twisted in some way. There’s also usually a sense of transitioning, since November is both my transition from one age to another as well as a transition from fall to winter.

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

This novel is all about gray area and transitions, just like its title suggestions. Margaret Hale, the main character, finds herself stuck between her rural past and urban present, her socioeconomic class and her desire to help others, what she is capable of fixing and what is out of her control in society. Despite the eventual romance plot, the rest of the novel is quite dark.

My review 

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

What’s more transitory and twisted than a story set before and during the bloody French Revolution? I was assigned to read this book for my AP English class when I was a senior in high school and although I don’t remember much of the plot, I do remember the way it made me feel: haunted, sad, and in awe of this beautifully heart-wrenching novel. Plus, there are old ladies knitting, and nothing screams charming like some old ladies knitting.

My review 

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

This novel is the definition of dark, twisted, and in between different states of being. Dorian is both young and old, moral and corrupt, innocent and guilty, beautiful and hideous. Yet there’s something about Wilde’s writing that is endlessly charming, enchanting, and captivating. Unlike some books that are unsettling, I find myself returning to this novel time and time again.

My review | Classic Couple: The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Goldfinch 

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Ah, Puritan Massachusetts. So messed up! So corrupt! But so quaint and innocent-looking from the outside looking in! I think this novel is so important when thinking about how society views women, motherhood, and sex today. Although the United States has obviously made A LOT of progress when it comes to “slut-shaming” culture, there’s still A LOT of progress to be made. And this book is a reminder of that!

My review 

ALL the short stories by Edgar Allan Poe

Back in high school I used to do something I called Poevember every November where I would read as many short stories written by Edgar Allan Poe as I could in a month. Ever since then I’ve always associated his dark, clever, entertaining mysteries with my favorite month.

Poevember | The Raven | The Tell-Tale Heart | The Murders in the Rue Morgue 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this classics guide for the month of November!

With books do you associate with the month of November? What do you think of the books I’ve mentioned? Which books would you add? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

7 thoughts on “5 Classics for November”

  1. The Picture of Dorian Gray is one of my absolute favorites! I would love to read the Scarlett Letter though! And also North and South. As for November, I’m still to make up my mind about that, but any transition is tricky atleast for me, between the windy season for fall and the snow season for winter! But judging by how much I love snow, I guess I’ll take November over December any day 😛

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  2. So I finally read Wuthering Heights, mostly because you’ve repeatedly mentioned it. I have to say, I did not enjoy reading it and almost didn’t even finish it. BUT, finish it I did, and by the time it was over I had such a strong and weird mix of feelings about it. And I *like* that it did that. But generally, I’ve decided dark and twisted books are not for me… there has to be something redeeming about it before it hits the final 20 pages, haha. There’s too much drama and horror in real life to fill my leisure time with it too. I am glad I have read that one at least once though. I’d like to read more Victorian-era novels – hopefully ones that are not quite so dark. Someone recommended Jane Eyre to me so I may give that one a try.

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  3. I *need* to read A Tale of Two Cities – I really loved Great Expectations and Little Dorrit by Dickens – I actually wrote my BA thesis on him – so I have huge hopes for this. I love Poe and I also really enjoyed The Picture of Dorian Grey; I should really reread the latter because I read it ages ago and I don’t remember much. North and South + The Scarlet Letter are on my tbr. Great post! 🙂

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