Because sometimes you just have to go back to the classics.
1. January: The Three Musketeers
Start the year with Dumas and you can’t go wrong. One of the most famous novels of all time, The Three Musketeers is moving, yet quite entertaining, making it the perfect book to start 2019 (or 2020 or 2021) with. Exciting from start to finish and pretty lengthy in a signature Dumas style, this one makes an otherwise blue January quite frisky instead. We’ve got three dashing musketeers plus dishy D’Artagnan to thank for that.
2. February: Murder on the Orient Express
February gets quite chilly and even snowy, yet without the festivities that usually surround that weather and make up for it. So instead of anxiously awaiting spring, pick up Agatha Christie’s masterpiece as your February companion under the covers. A train surrounded with snow, a murder within it. But who is the killer? Murder on the Orient Express is the classic murder mystery novel that you can’t live in 2019 without reading.
3. March: Mrs Dalloway
Exquisite writing and a story based in London. This has March written all over it (at least for me). One of Virginia Woolfe’s best works, Mrs Dalloway is simply a story of just another day in the life of an ordinary woman preparing another party. Yet, it turns out to be so much more. Touching on issues such as mental health and PTSD, this little beauty of a novel should be appreciated right at the beginning of spring, when hope is just poking over the horizon.
4. April: Animal Farm
In April, dive deep into Orwell. As the blossoming trees now surround you, pick up Animal Farm and sit on a bench in the garden as you read this politically-rich novel. You might finish it in one seating, on an afternoon hiding from the April showers at home. With a little blanket. Next to the window. But the ideas within it, those will stay with you for longer – even if just for the clever way Mr Orwell decided to craftily present them.
“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
It is truth universally acknowledged that in the month of May, every reader should pick up a book possessive of some optimism. A tough choice between Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, so just pick the one you fancy more or the one you haven’t read (obviously Persuasion is more autumnal, while Northanger Abbey is ideal for a cold winter evening, with Mansfield Park and Emma being ideal for late summer – don’t question me on that one. I’ve really thought about it.).
6. June: The Picture of Dorian Gray
A bit of Oscar Wilde’s wit can’t go amiss, especially not in June. The sun is teasing you with the promise of longer days, and Oscar is teasing you with some 19th century ideas of beauty and youth. Indulge yourself with The Picture of Dorian Gray, the only Gray worth knowing.
7. July: Anna Karenina
Halfway through the year, you might as well dive head first into some proper Russian literature. A novel that might look formidable with its hundreds of pages at first glance, Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina is the pearl of the crown of Russian Realism. Beautiful and heartbreaking, this might be a beast of a novel, but what a stunning beast it is.
8. August: The Sun Also Rises
Nothing suits sizzling August better than a sizzling story based in Spain during the corrida. Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises is the perfect short read to follow up after July’s long novel. Transport yourself to sunny Spain and in the middle of love triangles and sizzling passions…inspired by fittingly as passionate true events.
9. September: The Great Gatsby
“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”
Get ready for autumn with Fitzgerald. The classic story about unattainable love, the shadow of the past and the impossibility of moving on to the future, wrapped up in some pretty spectacular writing, makes for the ideal September read. Invite the Great Gatsby between the sheets with you as you escape the creeping chill outside and look towards the green light instead.
10. October: North and South
Speaking of chilly weather, October is the perfect month for some cold English style. Elizabeth Gaskell’s classic novel about love in the coldness of the North of England is your ideal companion. From Mr Thornton’s alluring persona to the industrialisation of 18th century England, North and South will keep you warm and satisfied.
11. November: David Copperfield or A Tale of Two Cities
Thought Dickens is only for Christmas? Think again. In November, just as the nights are growing longer and the weather gets proper cold, picking up a book like David Copperfield or A Tale of Two Cities is simply the perfect thing to do. With a glass of red in hand and snuggled under a warm blanket, Dickens’ words are all you need to feel cosy … and enriched.
12. December: Little Women
So what I think you should read in December instead? Little Women has to be one of the defining Christmas time novels. Invite the March sisters over for dinner as you go on an inspiring adventure defined by the beauty and pitfalls of sisterhood, the excitement and annoyance of young love, and the importance of family. If the future is female, then these ladies put a good start to it all even from the past.
Agree with the list? Let me know in the comments below as I would love to hear more thoughts…