I don't have anything against popular fiction. I am thrilled that many people are choosing to read as part of their leisure. In a world where most of our input is through simplified mind-numbing television, movies and youtube videos, books represent a great exercise for our minds.
That said, I am an advocate for classic literature. I believe there is a reason that a handpicked selection has proven the test of time, has been around the block and back again, offers something to each new up and coming generation. And never fails to deliver!
Many think that if something is given as an assignment, it must be approached cautiously. Nope. Many titles, from your summer reading lists of the past, really are great books, ones that can be enjoyed for their own merit and you will never be faced with a pop quiz or a writing assignment about them. That is the true meaning of pleasure reading to me. These are tried and true and have merit, whatever your interests are.
The Scarlet Pimpernel series by the Baroness Orczy (lots of swashbuckling heroism)
The Horatio Hornblower series by C.S. Forester (I am in love with Horatio, a true hero with integrity)
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (One of the most inspirational books I've ever read)
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (This book changed my life, gave me courage when courage was needed)
Here is a link to a thorough, outstanding list of classic literature, categorized for adults, teens, and children.
As an editorial note, don't be afraid to partake from every category. As an adult I have enjoyed many selections from each list. They also contain excellent selections to be read aloud as a family.
Can't Miss Authors
Arthur Conan Doyle
Louisa May Alcott
Robert Louis Stevenson
For those wanting to venture into poetry, start with Shakespeare's Sonnets. So beautiful. But perhaps that is another blog for another day....