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Picking up a classic book to read is never a bad idea. They’re so full of rich story-lines and unforgettable characters.
However (at least in my opinion) some stories seem to fit better during specific seasons.
So today I wanted to share with you some classic novels to read in winter!
Classic Novels to Read in Winter
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
A Christmas Carol is a novella by English author Charles Dickens. It was first published by Chapman & Hall on 19 December 1843. Carol tells the story of a bitter old miser named Ebenezer Scrooge and his transformation resulting from a supernatural visit by the ghost of his former business partner Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Yet to Come.
Dracula by Bram Stoker
There he lay looking as if youth had been half-renewed, for the white hair and moustache were changed to dark iron-grey, the cheeks were fuller, and the white skin seemed ruby-red underneath; the mouth was redder than ever, for on the lips were gouts of fresh blood, which trickled from the corners of the mouth and ran over the chin and neck. Even the deep, burning eyes seemed set amongst the swollen flesh, for the lids and pouches underneath were bloated. It seemed as if the whole awful creature were simply gorged with blood; he lay like a filthy leech, exhausted with his repletion.
Bleak House by Charles Dickens
At the center of the novel is the story of John Jarndyce who is tied up in a long-running litigation concerning an estate to which his wards Richard Carstone and Ada Clare are the beneficiaries. A series of events take the vast array of comic and tragic characters from the slums of London to the mansions of noblemen, involving some in treachery and others in discovery. Dickens blends the perfect balance of comedy and social satire in a story that contains mystery, tragedy, murder, redemption, and enduring love.
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
At its simplest, Anna Karenina is a love story. It is a portrait of a beautiful and intelligent woman whose passionate love for a handsome officer sweeps aside all other ties – to her marriage and to the network of relationships and moral values that bind the society around her. The love affair of Anna and Vronsky is played out alongside the developing romance of Kitty and Levin, and in the character of Levin, closely based on Tolstoy himself, the search for happiness takes on a deeper philosophical significance.
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Victor Hugo’s tale of injustice, heroism and love follows the fortunes of Jean Valjean, an escaped convict determined to put his criminal past behind him. But his attempts to become a respected member of the community are constantly put under threat: by his own conscience, when, owing to a case of mistaken identity, another man is arrested in his place; and by the relentless investigations of the dogged policeman Javert. It is not simply for himself that Valjean must stay free, however, for he has sworn to protect the baby daughter of Fantine, driven to prostitution by poverty. A compelling and compassionate view of the victims of early nineteenth-century French society, Les Misérables is a novel on an epic scale, moving inexorably from the eve of the battle of Waterloo to the July Revolution of 1830. Norman Denny’s introduction to his lively English translation discusses Hugo’s political and artistic aims in writing Les Misérables.
North and South by Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell
North and South follows the story of the heroine’s movement from the tranquil but moribund ways of southern England to the vital but turbulent north. Elizabeth Gaskell’s skillful narrative uses an unusual love story to show how personal and public lives were woven together in a newly industrial society. This is a tale of hard-won triumphs – of rational thought over prejudice and of humane care over blind deference to the market. Readers in the twenty-first century will find themselves absorbed as this Victorian novel traces the origins of problems and possibilities which are still challenging a hundred and fifty years later: the complex relationships, public and private, between men and women of different classes.
The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
A kind and well-respected doctor is transformed into a murderous madman by taking a secret drug of his own creation. Includes discussion questions.
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
After eighteen years as a political prisoner in the Bastille the aging Dr Manette is finally released and reunited with his daughter in England. There two very different men, Charles Darnay, an exiled French aristocrat, and Sydney Carton, a disreputable but brilliant English lawyer, become enmeshed through their love for Lucie Manette. From the tranquil lanes of London, they are all drawn against their will to the vengeful, bloodstained streets of Paris at the height of the Reign of Terror and soon fall under the lethal shadow of La Guillotine.
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Like all of Hawthorne’s novels, “The Scarlet Letter” has but a slender plot and but few characters with an influence on the development of the story. Its great dramatic force depends entirely on the mental states of the actors and their relations to one another, —relations of conscience, — relations between wronged and wrongers. Its great burden is the weight of unacknowledged sin as seen in the remorse and cowardice and suffering of the Rev. Arthur Dimmesdale. Contrasted with his concealed agony is the constant confession, conveyed by the letter, which is forced upon Hester, and has a double effect, — a healthful one, working beneficently, and making her helpful and benevolent, tolerant and thoughtful ; and an unhealthful one, which by the great emphasis placed on her transgression, the keeping her forever under its ban and isolating her from her fellows, prepares her to break away from the long repression and lapse again into sin when she plans her flight.
Roger Chillingworth is an embodiment of subtle and refined revenge. The most striking situation is perhaps “The Minister’s Vigil,” in chapter xii. The book, though corresponding in its tone and burden to some of the shorter stories, had a more startling and dramatic character, and a strangeness, which at once took hold of a larger public than any of those had attracted. Though imperfectly comprehended, and even misunderstood in some quarters, it was seen to have a new and unique quality; and Hawthorne’s reputation became national.
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Enthralled by his own exquisite portrait, Dorian Gray exchanges his soul for eternal youth and beauty. Influenced by his friend Lord Henry Wotton, he is drawn into a corrupt double life; indulging his desires in secret while remaining a gentleman in the eyes of polite society. Only his portrait bears the traces of his decadence. The novel was a succès de scandale and the book was later used as evidence against Wilde at the Old Bailey in 1895. It has lost none of its power to fascinate and disturb.
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Pip doesn’t expect much from life…His sister makes it clear that her orphaned little brother is nothing but a burden on her. But suddenly things begin to change. Pip’s narrow existence is blown apart when he finds an escaped criminal, is summoned to visit a mysterious old woman and meets the icy beauty Estella. Most astoundingly of all, an anonymous person gives him money to begin a new life in London. Are these events as random as they seem? Or does Pip’s fate hang on a series of coincidences he could never have expected?
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Wuthering Heights tells the story of a romance between two youngsters: Catherine Earnshaw and an orphan boy, Heathcliff. After she rejects him for a boy from a better background he develops a lust for revenge that takes over his life. In attempting to win her back and destroy those he blames for his loss Heathcliff creates a living hell for those who live at Wuthering Heights. This tale of hauntings, passion and greed remains unsurpassed in its depiction of the dark side of love.
Join the conversation in the comments…
What are some of your go-to classic novels to read in winter? What other classics would you add to this list?