‘Fess up: at some point, you may have skimmed that novel you were supposed to read for your literature class or in high school, but you probably decided to do a Netflix marathon instead. Thanksgiving break is a good time to catch up on those classics that may understand your problems a lot more than people ever will.
If you think you’re the only sane/smart/competent person in the world, read “Catch 22” by Joseph Heller.
Yossarian understands your pain. All he wants to do is go home, but Catch 22 keeps him trapped in his bombardier job during World War II. Not only that, everyone around him— from his genius roommate to his superior, Major Major Major— is crazy. The nonlinear structure of the book may have you flipping back through the pages to remember details, but the dry satirical humor will keep you hooked on the nonsense of Catch 22.
If you thought your life was messed up, read anything by Toni Morrison.
At least three of Morrison’s books–”The Bluest Eye”, “Beloved” and “Song of Solomon”–have been frequently challenged because of their sexually explicit nature and offensive language. Strange events tend to happen, surrounded by a mystery such as why a woman suddenly appeared with no leg, or why a little girl desperately wants to have blue eyes. If you want a quicker and much more interesting read than your biology homework, pick up one of Morrison’s works.
If you think you’re surrounded by fake people and frenemies, read “Lord of the Flies” by William Goldring.
There’s something about a group of boys forming a society and turning against each other that makes you re-think your relationships with other people. It also marks the end of innocence in the boys, which they realize at the end of the novel. Ask yourself, if your thirteen-year-old self was trapped on an island with other people from your middle school, what would happen?
If you take yourself a little too seriously, read “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” by Roald Dahl.
Nothing is more fun than imaginative candy and smart-aleck comments from a candy-maker. Enough said.
If you think things couldn’t get any worse, read “The Master and Margarita” by Mikhail Bulgakov.
One day, Satan arrives in Russia with a motley crew ready to literally raise hell. People vanish from their apartments and end up thousands of miles away; a talking cat swigs vodka; a magic show results in an epic peep show. It’s chaos. In the middle of all this, a love story between a scorned author and his devoted mistress blooms, dies and revives. There’s a lot going on but in the end you’ll be glad you weren’t in Russia the day the devil decided to show up.
These are only a few of those classic books that we all were supposed to read, didn’t read, read enough to get the main idea and pass the quiz/test or used Sparknotes for. But dusting off your old copy of “Pride and Prejudice” may do you a lot more good than you thought it would, and it may actually feel relevant to your life.
Photo by Ashley Zucker