5 must-read classics for November

November is the month of Thanksgiving break and the start of the cozy season. Here is a list of classics to enjoy over Thanksgiving Break.

5. “Anne of Green Gables,” by Lucy Maud Montgomery (1908, 320 pages)

“Anne of Green Gables” chronicles the life of Anne Shirley, an 11-year-old Canadian orphan, after she is mistakenly sent to the brother and sister duo, Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert. Trouble ensues as Anne’s curious imagination clashes with Marilla’s stringent nature. The story has very little action, but Anne’s lively imagination and penchant for troublemaking keep the reader entertained from beginning to end. Filled with heartwarming moments as Anne grows closer to her adoptive family, “Anne of Green Gables” is the perfect light-hearted story to enjoy over Thanksgiving break.

4. “The Chosen,” by Chaim Potok (1967, 291 pages)

Like “The Secret Garden,” another book on this list, “The Chosen” centers around the growth of its protagonists, Reuven Malter and Daniel Saunders. Raised in different Jewish cultures, the two initially clash as enemies but swiftly change from mutual enemies to fast friends. Although the story is set in mundane Brooklyn, the supportive friendship between Reuven and Daniel despite the continually clashing beliefs of their respective cultures keeps this book touching and gripping through all its pages.

3. “The Remains of the Day,” by Kazuo Ishiguro (1989, 245 pages)

“The Remains of the Day” is set in post-war English countryside. Written in diary format, the story follows Stevens, an English butler who prides himself on performing his professional duties to the best of his ability. As Stevens sets out on a road trip to meet his former colleague, Miss Kenton, his mind is occupied with memories from the peak of his career, which he had dedicated to serving the “great” Lord Darlington. Despite Stevens’s claims that his service to Lord Darlington is a source of great pride, troubling doubts about Lord Darlington and Stevens’ own loyalty to Darlington constantly plague his mind. A bittersweet story about contentment despite a regretful history and unfulfilled dreams, “The Remains of the Day” is a fitting read for the month of Thanksgiving.

2. “The Secret Garden,” by Frances Hodgson Burnett (1911, 375 pages)

“The Secret Garden,” one of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s most popular novels, can be enjoyed by both children and adults. The protagonist, Mary Lennox, is a spoiled child who was neglected by both her parents. Suddenly orphaned in a cholera outbreak, she is sent from her native India to live with her reclusive uncle, Archibald Craven, in his home on the moors of England. The story centers around Mary as she befriends her cousin Colin—a similarly spoiled child—and discovers an abandoned garden. Through her friendships with the people in her uncle’s home and the magic of the mysterious garden, Mary slowly grows from rude and tyrannical to spirited and happy. While the novel’s primary focus is Mary’s growth, it also follows the healing and growth of multiple characters. Although “The Secret Garden” lacks high stakes and action, its heartwarming tale of healing and friendship makes it well worth reading.

1. “The Call of the Wild,” by Jack London (1903, 83 pages)

Written in London’s terse and direct style, “The Call of the Wild” is a short novel that can easily be finished over a weekend break. The story follows Buck, a dog born and raised in the sun-kissed valleys of California, who is stolen from his easy life and sold to Klondike gold hunters. To survive the harshness of his new life as a sled dog, Buck must listen to the Call and the guidance of his wolf-ancestors who come to him in dreams. The novel is an exciting treat, packed with action as Buck fights to overcome not only the bitter Alaskan climate but also the savageness of both humans and other dogs in a merciless struggle for survival.

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