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A Chair, A Fireplace & a Tea Cozy
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Suggestions for next classic?

Earlier this year, I read Frankenstein, sharing my chapter by chapter reactions and reader response.

Any suggestions for what my next classic chapter-by-chapter should be?

So far, suggestions from Twitter include:



Share your suggestions/votes!

About Elizabeth Burns

Looking for a place to talk about young adult books? Pull up a chair, have a cup of tea, and let's chat. I am a New Jersey librarian. My opinions do not reflect those of my employer, SLJ, YALSA, or anyone else. On Twitter I'm @LizB; my email is


  1. I haven’t read Dracula yet, but my husband loves it. (He suggested it after I finished Frankenstein.) This might be too contemporary, but I read East of Eden a few years ago and really enjoyed it. Or what about one of Shakespeare’s plays? There are so many I haven’t read/seen yet and he tends to do a good job.

  2. Well, I re-read Lord Jim every couple years. A Tale of Two Cities is surprisingly good when it’s not an assignment. Recently I re-read the all-but-forgotten, but once a kid’s favorite (which tells you how much more literate kids were) Ivanhoe. And here’s one I’m re-reading now … Bulwer-Lytton’s Paul Clifford. Yes, the one that begins “It was a dark and stormy night …” I figure I’ll get a blog post sometime out of the fact that that’s actually a pretty gripping, cinematic first chapter.

  3. Ugh, I hated Ivanhoe. I still have the scathing review I wrote of it as a teenager somewhere. I really liked Bronte’s Villette, but I am in a very small minority with that one. I read a ton of 18th and early 19th century literature in college and loved it – Humphry Clinker (hilarious but a bit smutty) Evelina by Frances Burney (very dramatic) Defoe’s History of the Pirates (bloody but interesting) and for a really fascinating read, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu’s Letters (early traveling diary)

  4. I’ve never read Wuthering Heights…. Recently reread Jane Eyre and definitely had a different take on it than when in high school….

  5. Continuing with the skinniness of Frankenstein, I’m going to recommend The Great Gatsby (my favorite novel by a dead author); The Moon in Sixpence, W. Somerset Maugham; The Spoils of Poynton, Henry James.

  6. Lalibrarylady86 says:

    Alexander Dumas – The Count of Monte Cristo or any of his others but that is my favorite.

  7. “Moby-Dick, or The Whale” by Herman Melville. “Moby-Dick” is truly the great American novel, more finely crafted than any other “classic” I’ve ever read. The text is positively poetic. So realistically detailed one feels one could be a nineteenth century whaler, so extensive is one’s knowledge of the occupation, and the dangers that lied therein, after reading. The themes are universally relatable. Ahab is every leader with a selfish agenda. Ishmael’s “drizzly November” of the soul is every person’s search for meaning. (But the titular whale is just a whale. He is no symbol, but a scapegoat for all evils committed against a maniac and those he’s manipulated, teaching us the important lesson of how futile and fatal it can be to heap unwarranted significance upon an object or creature where it does not belong.) The descriptions of the uncharted sea and the veritable beasts that live within it are simultaneously wondrous and terrifying. I implore every lover of the English language, every fan of good literature, to read “Moby-Dick.” Or at least read an abridged edition. Or at least crack open the pages of this mighty tome and read just the first line. I believe that any time spent in the presence of Melville’s masterpiece, from its moments of quiet contemplation, to its moments of thrilling action, and its characters – the native dignity of Queequeg, the moral compass of Starbuck, the tragic innocence-turned-dementia of Pip – will make you a better person

  8. Annie, I read both Dracula and East of Eden years ago. Hm, I wonder if I should do a new to me, or a reread? A reread would be fun, what I hadn’t noticed before.

    John, I’ve never read any of those! I’d always had a hard time with Dickens, so maybe now’s the time? And Ivanhoe, I love all the miniseries and movies so that may be fun.

    Jennifer, or maybe not Ivanhoe. And books I’ve never heard of! The traveling diary sounds intriguing. Hmmmm…

    Sondy, I haven’t read either of those since school so both could be interesting to new eyes. Wuthering Heights is short, too.

    Lauren, a mix of things I’ve read & loved (Gatsby) and other ones I haven’t read.

    lalibrarylady86, Dumas is like Dickens: never read. (Wait, i’ve read Christmas Carol. One Dickens).

    Tess, believe it or not, I’m one of those kids who read MobyDick in high school and liked it. Yes. I wonder if I’d still like it? Only drawback is it being so long! And I would want to read the whole thing.

    A lot to think about!

  9. Washington Square! An heiress, a suitor, $$$, old NY society.

  10. I second Moby-Dick! I just did a review of a Moby-Dick iPad app (SPOILER: NO), so I re-read most of it, and it was gorgeous. Plus, it inspired me to read Nathaniel Philbrick’s Why Read Moby-Dick, and I am DEFINITELY a better critic for having read that.

    And yeah it’s long, but the chapters are short, so your chapter-by-chapter bites would be small.

  11. Susan, I’ve never even heard of Washington Square. Sounds fab.

    :paula, thanks for the reminder about short chapters. That does make the it easier.

  12. Jude the Obscure!! or… any Thomas Hardy. But Jude is the weirdest one.

  13. Tessa, thanks for the suggestion. And I like weird