There are many good reasons for reading and re-reading classic literature.

Many of the characters display strength of character in times of adversity and the language is something beautiful to immerse yourself in. The added bonus is increased vocabulary on the part of the reader. The stories and lives of the characters hold meaning even today and an added bonus is often a history lesson. Dunedin Public Libraries holds all the classics so curl up in front of the fire and enjoy a great read!

Tandia. Bryce Courtenay
Half-African, half-Indian and beautiful, Tandia is just a teenager when she is brutally attacked and violated by the South African police.  Afraid and consumed by hatred for the white man, Tandia seeks refuge in a brothel deep in the veld. There she trains as a terrorist, to prepare for the battle which lies ahead. But then Tandia meets a white man, Peekay, an Oxford undergraduate who is also a champion boxer.  In a land where mixed relationships are outlawed, their growing love can only have the most explosive consequences ...

Rebecca. Daphne du Maurier
A naive young woman impulsively marries a wealthy widower, Maxim de Winter, while working as a lady's maid in Monte Carlo. When they arrive at his country estate, Manderley, she soon realises the enormous impact her husband's late wife has on the house and ultimately, their lives. Her insecurity is not helped by Mrs Danvers, the housekeeper, who constantly reminds her of how beautiful Rebecca was, and how much Maxim loved her. After a series of disasters, the truth is revealed.

Far from the Madding Crowd. Thomas Hardy
Set in fictional Wessex, southwest England, in the 1870s. Bathsheba Everdene, independent and feisty, inherits a large farm and is determined to make it prosperous.  Three suitors enter her life.  Gabriel Oak, a shepherd, hard-working, reliable, honest. William Boldwood, a wealthy neighbour, who falls heavily in love with Bathsheba.  Bathsheba had sent Mr Boldwood a Valentine's card as a joke and it was taken seriously by him.  Sergeant Francis Troy is a completely unsuitable rake but a charming one. Drama and tragedy follow before a conclusion is reached.

For Whom the Bell Tolls. Ernest Hemingway
An American named Robert Jordan enlists on the Republican side of the Spanish Civil War in 1937. He travels behind enemy lines to work with Spanish geurrilla fighters, where his task is to blow up a Fascist-controlled bridge.  He meets other members of the guerrilla group and immediately he is drawn to a young woman named Maria. In-fighting and leadership battles ensue and Robert starts to question his values and his role in all the violence.

To Kill a Mockingbird. Harper Lee
Set in the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama, the story is told from the viewpoint of 'Scout' Finch who lives with her brother and widowed father, Atticus, a lawyer. When Atticus agrees to defend Tom Robinson, a black man who has been accused of raping a young white woman, the residents of Maycomb strongly disapprove and a lynching almost takes place but is averted by Scout's actions.  Atticus has instilled a strong sense of justice in his children and the issues raised in the book of racism, tolerance, bigotry, still resonate today.

The Burning Shore. Wilbur A Smith
Part of a series called Courtney. In 1917 during World War 1, South African fighter pilot, Michael Courtney, falls in love with Centaine, a French woman. Just prior to their wedding, Courtney is killed in action, and a pregnant Centaine enrols as a nurse after her home is destroyed during a German air raid.  She is on a hospital ship bound for South Africa when it is torpedoed by a German U-boat and Centaine ends up on the Skeleton Coast in Namibia. She finds her way to South Africa and is rescued by South African bushmen who teach her to survive in the desert.

The English Patient. Michael Ondaatje
Booker Prize-winner in 1992.  In the last day of World War 11, four damaged survivors of the war find themselves together in an Italian villa. Hana, a Canadian nurse whose father has recently died; Caravaggio, a former thief, now Allied-agent; Kip, an Indian Sikh who has volunteered in the British army as a sapper. And each is affected by the nameless man known only as the English patient, a burns victim, who lies upstairs. Over time this man talks about his life secrets and passions, including a doomed love affair.