This week on my ‘sstuffi eard before starting a blog’ post, I’m taking a look back at five of my all time favourite classics. As you’ll notice … I’m a bit of a Jules Verne and Arthur Conan Doyle fan.
I’m a big fan of the classics in general, so I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, there will be a future classics post.
20,000 Leagues Under The Sea by Jules Verne:
In 1866, sightings of a legendary sea monster prompt a daring expedition out of New York City. Professor Pierre Aronnax, his servant Conseil, and whaler Ned Land are among the crew of the United States Navy frigate Abraham Lincoln. Though they are fearless, nothing prepares them for the “creature” itself—the Nautilus—a powerful, destructive submarine years ahead of its time. At the helm of the vessel is the brilliant Captain Nemo, who pulls the men deep into the wonders of the seas and the dark depths of his mind.
Regarded as one of the great adventure novels of all time, Jules Verne’s prophetic masterpiece, republished here in Lewis Page Mercier’s translation, is at once an enthralling underwater quest and a tale of isolating madness.
I loved this when I first read it. I must have been about 15 or 16 and discovered that my dad had a stack of classic books in the attic. I have always been addicted to the ocean and nature in general, so this one was easy for me to get lost in very quickly. It also boasts the foresight of the electric submarine, decades before it was finally built and first used.
The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne:
This captivating tale of adventure, “The Mysterious Island” tells the tale of five Americans who during the American Civil War escape the siege of Richmond, Virginia in a hot air balloon, only to find themselves later stranded on an uncharted island in the South Pacific when their balloon crashes there. Through the use of their ingenuity, the five manage to survive on this island wilderness. Many secrets and adventures await the group as they endeavor to discover the mystery of this “mysterious island”.
This is, without a doubt, one of my all-time favourite reads. I could live five lifetimes and it’s doubtful many books will ever reach the heights this one did for me when I first read it. It is a sequel of sorts to 20,000 Leagues (something I had no clue going into it). You don’t have to have read the 20,000 Leagues novel to enjoy or even understand the link between these books, but the smile on your face will be a little wider if you have done so.
The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle:
“The Lost World” is Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic tale of fantasy. Two scientists, a big-game hunter and a journalist set off to the wilds of South America and the Amazon in search of prehistoric beasts. There, high atop an Amazonian plateau they find an amazing land of strange and dangerous ancient creatures. “
As you’ve probably guessed up until this point, I love the idea of exploring the unknown. Much of the surface of our world was unknown to the adventurers of earlier times so anything like this peaks my interest. This was a wonderful read filled with vivid characters and crafted by a fantastical mind that was far ahead of its time. If you haven’t tried it, it is well worth a go. It’s also got a pretty enjoyable tv show based on it.
The Complete Sherlock Holmes Collection by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle:
A master of deductive reasoning who can solve the most difficult crimes by spotting obscure clues overlooked by others, dilettante sleuth Sherlock Holmes was the hero of sixty stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle between 1887 and 1927. With the help of his loyal friend, Doctor Watson, Holmes brought countless crooks, thieves, swindlers, and murderers to justice. He even rose from the dead after Doyle tried to dispatch him in his twenty-fourth adventure, and readers protested.
Even if you have never read a Sherlock story nor seen one of the countless TV shows or films made about his adventures, you will have some idea of who he is and what he does. That is how far and wide reaching the fame of this character has become since his original creation. Few writers can say they have crafted something that near-every reader has a working knowledge of. Having all of the stories in one collection is a must for any Sherlock fan or, indeed, a fan of the classics. I absolutely loved my copy (not the copy in the picture, although I do own the above copy on kindle) and it will always be one of my most cherished of physical books.
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie:
Roger Ackroyd was about to be married. He had a life of wealth and privilege. First he lost his fiancée – and then his life.
The day after her tragic suicide he retires upstairs to read a mysterious letter, leaving his closest friends and family to eat dinner below.
Just a few hours later he is found stabbed to death in a locked room with a weapon from his own collection.
Was he killed for money? For love? Or for something altogether more sinister?
The truth will out.
But you won’t see it coming.
This is, quite easily, my all-time favourite detective novel. It beats any story Sherlock Holmes has starred in, anything penned by Jo Nesbo or CJ Tudor or any other thriller writer in my opinion. If I could choose one book that I could entirely forget, just so I could experience it again for the first time, it would be this one. I am looking forward to doing a re-read of the Poirot novels in my collection (only own the first 11 or so) and cannot wait to get to this one. Highly recommend it for anyone who enjoys detective/thriller novels.