Books on my TBR: classics by men

Hello, friends! Time to talk about some more books on my TBR! This is a series where I talk about a specific subset of books on my TBR. I’ve done a few posts of really long lists of books on my TBR, so for these posts I’m going to try to keep the list fairly small, provide the synopsis from Goodreads, and talk about where I found it and why I want to read it.

Today, I’m talking about some classics by men! A couple of weeks ago, I talked about some classics by women I want to read, so today is the follow-up to that post!

Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

Independent and spirited Bathsheba Everdene has come to Weatherbury to take up her position as a farmer on the largest estate in the area. Her bold presence draws three very different suitors: the gentleman-farmer Boldwood, soldier-seducer Sergeant Troy and the devoted shepherd Gabriel Oak. Each, in contrasting ways, unsettles her decisions and complicates her life, and tragedy ensues, threatening the stability of the whole community. The first of his works set in the fictional county of Wessex, Hardy’s novel of swift passion and slow courtship is imbued with his evocative descriptions of rural life and landscapes, and with unflinching honesty about sexual relationships.

This is one of those books that everyone seems to love. It seems to be one of the only classic romance novels (I think?) written by a man, and it sounds like something I would love. I should try to read it soon.

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison 

As he journeys from the Deep South to the streets and basements of Harlem, from a horrifying “battle royal” where black men are reduced to fighting animals, to a Communist rally where they are elevated to the status of trophies, Ralph Ellison’s nameless protagonist ushers readers into a parallel universe that throws our own into harsh and even hilarious relief. Suspenseful and sardonic, narrated in a voice that takes in the symphonic range of the American language, black and white, Invisible Man is one of the most audacious and dazzling novels of our century.

I’m always trying to read more classics by authors of colour, and I’ve heard a ton of good things about Ralph Ellison. This book sounds really interesting, so I’m excited to read it.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Written in his distinctively dazzling manner, Oscar Wilde’s story of a fashionable young man who sells his soul for eternal youth and beauty is the author’s most popular work. The tale of Dorian Gray’s moral disintegration caused a scandal when it first appeared in 1890, but though Wilde was attacked for the novel’s corrupting influence, he responded that there is, in fact, “a terrible moral in Dorian Gray.” Just a few years later, the book and the aesthetic/moral dilemma it presented became issues in the trials occasioned by Wilde’s homosexual liaisons, which resulted in his imprisonment. Of Dorian Gray’s relationship to autobiography, Wilde noted in a letter, “Basil Hallward is what I think I am: Lord Henry what the world thinks me: Dorian what I would like to be—in other ages, perhaps.

This is just another book that everyone has read and that is important for queer history, so I obviously need to read it.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré

It is now beyond a doubt that a mole, implanted decades ago by Moscow Centre, has burrowed his way into the highest echelons of British Intelligence. His treachery has already blown some of its most vital operations and its best networks. It is clear that the double agent is one of its own kind. But which one? George Smiley is assigned to identify him. And once identified, the traitor must be destroyed.

I didn’t realise this was technically the middle of a series until now. But, if I didn’t know that, then the fact that it’s in a series must not be super important. I’ve wanted to read this book for ages, and recently learned we have a copy, so I’m very excited to read it.

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Márquez Garcia

In their youth, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza fall passionately in love. When Fermina eventually chooses to marry a wealthy, well-born doctor, Florentino is heartbroken, but he is a romantic. As he rises in his business career he whiles away the years in 622 affairs—yet he reserves his heart for Fermina. Her husband dies at last, and Florentino purposefully attends the funeral. Fifty years, nine months, and four days after he first declared his love for Fermina, he will do so again.

Everyone seems to love this book, and it’s a translated novel! So I definitely want to read it ASAP.

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce

The portrayal of Stephen Dedalus’s Dublin childhood and youth, his quest for identity through art and his gradual emancipation from the claims of family, religion and Ireland itself, is also an oblique self-portrait of the young James Joyce and a universal testament to the artist’s ‘eternal imagination’. Both an insight into Joyce’s life and childhood, and a unique work of modernist fiction, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is a novel of sexual awakening, religious rebellion and the essential search for voice and meaning that every nascent artist must face in order to blossom fully into themselves.

I bought a copy of this book a while ago for super cheap, and luckily it sounds like something I’d enjoy. I love novels about people’s entire lives, and this one fits that description, so hopefully I love it.

So there are some classics by men I want to read! Have you read any of these? Do you have any recommendations? Let me know!

Also if you have any requests for things you’d like to see on my TBR, let me know!

Ally xx

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14 thoughts on “Books on my TBR: classics by men

  1. A few of these are on my TBR, and I’ve read Dorian Gray. I remember liking it, but not much else. As far as classics I’d suggest… there’s always Poe for classic gothic horror. Jekyll and Hyde is one that has so many references in modern society that it’s also a good one to know. I would also add Dickens’ Christmas Carol—granted, the story is already well-known, but there are a lot of nuances in the book that aren’t in all the adaptations. (Though if you find a really good adaptation you probably don’t need to read it for yourself.)

    Liked by 1 person

      1. One good thing about a lot (not all, but a lot) of classic fiction is that it’s short by today’s standards. I remember both Jekyll and Hyde and Dorian Grey being a lot faster to read than I expected. (Of course, that doesn’t usually apply to Dickens…)

        Liked by 1 person

  2. good list!! i definitely would love to get around to reading all of these as well. especially the picture of dorian gray & far from the madding crowd.

    i’m thinking about what you mentioned with the far from the madding crowd being a classic romance from a dude and i think a room with a view by e.m. forster would count too. haven’t read it yet but i have seen the film with a super young helena bonham carter and its great! but yeah the boys back in the day did not write romance. or at least if they did they probably didn’t want to be associated with the romance genre lol.

    Liked by 1 person

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