There are the books that just about everyone has read (or at least has heard of) and these are the books that we all consider classics. One rung down the ladder are the books that tons of people read and highly acclaim and suggest everyone should read, but they’re less common than the regular set of classics. These are my overlooked classics that most people read, but that don’t get the attention they rightfully deserve.
My list today only contains books that I’ve rated 5 stars on Goodreads - so be assured that they’re excellent.
- Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes - Charlie is a mentally disabled adult who undergoes a surgery to alter his brain - with dramatic effects. I’ve read this book at least 5 times and it’s one of the few books that I own and refuse to give away now that I’m done. It’s dramatic, it’s endearing, it’s heartfelt and heartbreaking at the same time. It’s wonderful and dark and sad and beautiful.
- The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien - This collection of stories set during the Vietnam War ranges from hilarious to downright disturbing. It’s one of those books that sticks with you and makes you look at history in a new light. It also makes you consider modern warfare in a new light and made me curious about Vietnam - prompting some enlightening discussions with my dad about what his childhood memories regarding Vietnam. Anyone with any interest in warfare or 1960’s/1970’s history needs to read this book.
- The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt - Holling Hoodhood is your typical 1960’s suburban middle schooler, but his world is expanded by reading Shakespeare and witnessing the changes in the people and society around him. This is an excellent YA book with some great messages and some interesting historical perspectives. It’s a well-done combination of middle school drama, 1960’s events, and Shakespeare readings.
My list is short (for now) and will probably expand as I continue to read and expose myself to new authors and literature. But having a short list gives you no excuse not to read these books - I can almost guarantee they’re at a public library near you. Get reading.
Are there any books you think I should’ve included? What would your list of overlooked classics consist of?