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It can be comforting to sink into the couch with a cup of tea and a classic novel in your hands. The world becomes quiet in those moments as you enter the world of the author’s creation.

Some of those classic novels can also be incredibly boring to some readers. With page after page of description and character commentary without pushing the narrative further, it can feel like you’re pulling teeth to get to the good stuff.

That’s why taking an unconventional approach to your reading can be beneficial. Here are a few substitute novels to consider if you’re tired of taking the traditional route with this pastime.

Alternative Books to Read Instead of the Classics

1. North and South (Pride and Prejudice)

If you want a grittier tale to read, this social novel isn’t a Civil War story, as some may believe. It was published in 1854. It focuses more on the relationship between businesses and their employees, offering glimpses of the working poor during the era. How would families survive the Industrial Revolution?

2. Shalimar the Clown (Midnight’s Children)

Although this novel doesn’t get much attention, it is arguably Salman Rushdie’s best work. It starts with an assassination, which comes about as a love story that weaves passion, revenge, and religion into India’s current events. The tale has so much vividness that it feels like you’re right there.

3. She (Heart of Darkness)

In the classic novel Heart of Darkness, a European ivory baron establishes himself as a despot in Congo. For the alternative story, you have a female protagonist with similar power. The character is an all-powerful queen who has been waiting for over 2,000 years to reunite with her lost love. It has everything that you want to see in a great adventure novel!

What are some of your favorite contemporary novels that you’ve read in recent years?

Scott Larson