I have been preparing a new Theme for the blog and travelling to Park City, UT this week. But I have not forgotten about the list of books I promised to write for you.
Here is my list of favourite books I believe every lady should read before she turns 25 (if you are over 25 and haven’t read these yet, grab your copies now!) These books are great influential reads for teenagers, but even if you are reading them for the first time as an adult, you will still enjoy them immensely and learn a few things about life.
Timeless Books for the Modern Lady:
1. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
The book follows the beautiful Scarlett O’Hara, the strong-willed daughter of a plantation owner in Georgia. This epic novel is set against the backdrop of the American Civil War and Reconstruction era. It takes us through Scarlett’s journey beginning as a young, spoiled, rich beauty, desperately in love with the already married, honourable Ashley Wilkes, into a strong-willed woman who not only survives the War, but rebuilds her life.
The book is written from a Southern slaveholder's perspective; however today it is a reference point for writings about the South and is one of the most beloved stories in American history.
You will enjoy it if: you loved the 1939 epic film adaptation starring Vivienne Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara and Clark Gable as Rhett Butler and if you are fascinated by stories about strong women.
It will teach you: what undying willpower is and it will also educate you a little bit about the Civil War in America.
2. Vanity Fair by William Thackeray
This witty page-turning novel focuses on two women: penniless, cunning, but likeable Becky Sharp and her friend Amelia Sedley, a kind, plain and wealthy young girl, who cares only about marrying her betrothed, the vain Captain George Osborne. Vanity Fair brilliantly satirises the societies of Britain in the early 19th century. It is one of my favourite novels of all time.
You will enjoy it if: you like BBC period dramas and classic English literature.
It will teach you: about British society life during the Napoleonic Wars and cunning ways for a poor woman of unknown pedigree to acquire wealth and a title in the 19th century.
3. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The book that hardly needs an introduction, partially because of its well-known film adaptations, namely the 1974 version starring Robert Redford and the 2013 film featuring Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby.
The Great Gatsby is a short novel about a mysterious young millionaire, Jay Gatsby, and his quixotic love and obsession for the beautiful Daisy Buchanan during the exciting Jazz Age in America.
You will enjoy it if: you are intrigued by the lives of rich and fabulous in the Roaring Twenties.
It will teach you: that money cannot buy you true friends and that optimism and hope can both take you far in life, and blind you (and subsequently kill you) as well.
4. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
One of the most internationally praised and beloved female writers, Jane Austen, has written much more than just Pride and Prejudice, which I recommend you read as well (in case you haven’t already!).
Sense and Sensibility may be my favourite Austen novel and it follows the fates and love lives of the two Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne, who are near polar opposites of one another. Elinor Dashwood is the older sensible sister, who is quick-minded, responsible and who doesn’t give in to strong emotions, which leads others to think she is cold hearted and incapable of romantic feelings. On the other hand, Marianne is an emotional, expressive, beautiful younger sister, who is passionate and easily influenced by romantic illusions that sometimes puts the reputation of her and her family into danger.
You will enjoy it if: you like Jane Austen’s other writings or at least enjoyed film adaptations of her novels. I recommend you watch the brilliant 1995’ adaptation of Sense and Sensibility starring an incredible British cast, including Kate Winslet, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman and Hugh Grant.
It will teach you: that a perfect balance of realism and romanticism is the way to happiness and peace and how to deal with an umm… scoundrel (is there a nicer way to say it?) when he does not meet your romantic expectations.
Bonus: Check out this costume guide to the 1995 adaptation of Sense and Sensibility here.
5. The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough
I read The Thorn Birds when I was 17, and I have shed enough tears over it to fill the Caspian Sea. Despite the fact that I despise how weak and desperate Meggie Cleary is as a character (as opposed to my favourite literary character, strong Scarlett O’Hara), I still feel Meggie's pain and sympathise with her and her heartbreaking love story with Ralph de Bricassart. Bricassart is a local catholic priest in Australia who rises to a position in the Vatican, while keeping Meggie in his heart, even though his life is dedicated to God. Meggie in return makes Ralph the centre of her life.
You will enjoy it if: you secretly love to cry over books and films.
It will teach you: about rural Australia at the beginning of 20th-century, the life of its immigrants and the consequences of pursuing a forbidden love.
I also want to give you a list of new modern-day classics, which I highly recommend you read. I will try to write reviews for them one day, but feel free to ask me any questions or request more book recommendations on the blog's Facebook page, where I like chatting with you and discussing different topics.
New Modern-Day Classics:
1. The Outlander series by Diane Gabaldon
2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
3. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
4. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
5. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood