16 classic books we could read again and again
Summer means a time to relax, unwind and just all around have a good time.
Which for many people, means cracking open a good book.
And as much as we've been loving the page-turners hitting shelves over the last few weeks, there's still nothing quite like picking up an old classic.
Here are 16 classic books we can read again and again.
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
After the sudden death of her wealthy parents, spoilt Mary Lennox is sent from India to live with her uncle in the austere Misselthwaite Manor on the Yorkshire Moors. Neglected and uncherished, she is horribly lonely, until one day she discovers a walled garden in the grounds that has been kept locked for years.
When Mary finds the key to the garden and shares it with two unlikely companions, she opens up a world of hope, and as the garden blooms, Mary and her friends begin to find a new joy in life.
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
The timeless tale of four sisters - Meg, Jo, Amy and Beth - experiencing both hardship and adventure in Civil War New England.
Though the March family may be poor, their lives are rich with colour, as they play games, put on wild theatricals, make new friends, argue, grapple with their vices, learn from their mistakes, nurse each other through sickness and disappointments, and get into all sorts of trouble.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Enigmatic, intriguing and fabulously wealthy, Jay Gatsby throws lavish parties at his West Egg mansion to impress Daisy Buchanan, the object of his obsession, now married to bullish Tom Buchanan.
Over a Long Island summer, his neighbour Nick Carraway, a writer and a cousin to Daisy, looks on as Gatsby and Daisy’s affair deepens.
Matilda by Roald Dhal
Matilda is the world's most famous bookworm, no thanks to her ghastly parents. Her father thinks she's a little scab. Her mother spends all afternoon playing bingo.And her headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, is the worst of all. She's a big bully, who thinks all her pupils are rotten and locks them in the dreaded Chokey.
Despite these beastly grownups trying to push her down, Matilda is an extraordinary girl with a magical mind. And she's had enough.
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
The magical Peter Pan comes to the night nursery of the Darling children, Wendy, John and Michael. He teaches them to fly, then takes them through the sky to Never-Never Land, where they find Red Indians, Wolves, Mermaids and... Pirates.
The leader of the pirates is the sinister Captain Hook. His hand was bitten off by a crocodile, who, as Captain Hook explains 'liked me arm so much that he has followed me ever since, licking his lips for the rest of me'. After lots of adventures, the story reaches its exciting climax as Peter, Wendy and the children do battle with Captain Hook and his band.
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
Far from fading with time, Kenneth Grahame's classic tale of fantasy has attracted a growing audience in each generation.
Rat, Mole, Badger and the preposterous Mr Toad (with his 'Poop-poop-poop' road-hogging new motor-car), have brought delight to many through the years with their odd adventures on and by the river, and at the imposing residence of Toad Hall.
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
The story of seven generations of the Buendia family and of Macondo, the town they have built. Though little more than a settlement surrounded by mountains, Macondo has its wars and disasters, even its wonders and miracles.
A microcosm of Columbian life, its secrets lie hidden, encoded in a book and only Aureliano Buendia can fathom its mysteries and reveal its shrouded destiny.
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Offred is a Handmaid in The Republic of Gilead, a religious totalitarian state in what was formerly known as the United States. She is placed in the household of The Commander, Fred Waterford – her assigned name, Offred, means ‘of Fred’. She has only one function: to breed. If Offred refuses to enter into sexual servitude to repopulate a devastated world, she will be hanged.
Yet even a repressive state cannot eradicate hope and desire. As she recalls her pre-revolution life in flashbacks, Offred must navigate through the terrifying landscape of torture and persecution in the present day, and between two men upon which her future hangs.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
When Elizabeth Bennet first meets eligible bachelor Fitzwilliam Darcy, she thinks him arrogant and conceited; he is indifferent to her good looks and lively mind.
When she later discovers that Darcy has involved himself in the troubled relationship between his friend Bingley and her beloved sister Jane, she is determined to dislike him more than ever. In the sparkling comedy of manners that follows, Jane Austen shows the folly of judging by first impressions and superbly evokes the friendships, gossip and snobberies of provincial middle-class life.
I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith
Cassandra Mortmain lives with her bohemian and impoverished family in a crumbling castle in the middle of nowhere. Her journal records her life with her beautiful, bored sister, Rose, her fadingly glamorous stepmother, Topaz, her little brother Thomas and her eccentric novelist father who suffers from a financially crippling writer's block.
However, all their lives are turned upside down when the American heirs to the castle arrive and Cassandra finds herself falling in love for the first time.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
The story of orphaned Jane Eyre, who grows up in the home of her heartless aunt, enduring loneliness and cruelty. This troubled childhood strengthens Jane's natural independence and spirit - which prove necessary when she finds employment as a governess to the young ward of Byronic, brooding Mr Rochester.
As her feelings for Rochester develop, Jane gradually uncovers Thornfield Hall's terrible secret, forcing her to make a choice. Should she stay with Rochester and live with the consequences, or follow her convictions - even if it means leaving the man she loves?
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
Hidden away in the Record Department of the sprawling Ministry of Truth, Winston Smith skilfully rewrites the past to suit the needs of the Party. Yet he inwardly rebels against the totalitarian world he lives in, which demands absolute obedience and controls him through the all-seeing telescreens and the watchful eye of Big Brother, symbolic head of the Party.
In his longing for truth and liberty, Smith begins a secret love affair with a fellow-worker Julia, but soon discovers the true price of freedom is betrayal.
The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
Sauron, the Dark Lord, has gathered to him all the Rings of Power – the means by which he intends to rule Middle-earth. All he lacks in his plans for dominion is the One Ring – the ring that rules them all – which has fallen into the hands of the hobbit, Bilbo Baggins.
In a sleepy village in the Shire, young Frodo Baggins finds himself faced with an immense task, as the Ring is entrusted to his care. He must leave his home and make a perilous journey across the realms of Middle-earth to the Crack of Doom, deep inside the territories of the Dark Lord. There he must destroy the Ring forever and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose.
Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
Set in the closing months of World War II, this is the story of a bombardier named Yossarian who is frantic and furious because thousands of people he has never met are trying to kill him. His real problem is not the enemy - it is his own army which keeps increasing the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service.
If Yossarian makes any attempts to excuse himself from the perilous missions then he is caught in Catch-22: if he flies he is crazy, and doesn't have to; but if he doesn't want to he must be sane and has to.
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
No one is better equipped in the struggle for wealth and worldly success than the alluring and ruthless Becky Sharp, who defies her impoverished background to clamber up the class ladder. Her sentimental companion Amelia Sedley, however, longs only for the caddish soldier George.
As the two heroines make their way through the tawdry glamour of Regency society, battles - military and domestic - are fought, fortunes made and lost. The one steadfast and honourable figure in this corrupt world is William Dobbin, devoted to Amelia, bringing pathos and depth to Thackeray's gloriously satirical epic of love and social adventure.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Conjured up one 'golden afternoon' in 1862 to entertain Alice Liddell, the daughter of the dean of Carroll's college, the dream worlds of nonsensical Wonderland and back-to-front Looking-Glass kingdom depict order turned upside-down.
Following the white rabbit into his warren, Alice falls into a world where croquet is played with hedgehogs and flamingos, a baby turns into a pig, time runs amok at a the Mad Hatter's tea-party, a chaotic game of chess makes Alice a Queen and the Mock Turtle and Gryphon dance the Lobster Quadrille.
A good book can do just about anything; from taking you on a wild and fantastical adventure to making you feel like an all-knowing super sleuth (if you figure out the killer twist).
Every week at #Bookmarked, we will be taking you through some of our all-time favourite books - as well as the newest novels hitting shelves in Ireland.