Saturday, February 24, 2024
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Fiction Books: The Most Thrilling and Fun Public Domain Books

Books are one of life’s greatest treasures; the ability to flick through some pages and transport yourself to another universe in seconds is a pleasure hard to replicate. Unlike other media like television and video games, books require our imagination, making the journey to this different universe all the more special. There are some fabulous reads out there, and I’ve compiled a brief list of some of the best fictional public domain books on offer.

Dracula

Bram Stroker’s novel is one of the most famous and incredible stories out there. Who doesn’t love a tale about an undead creature/man that only comes out at night and bites people? The concept alone tickles the imagination and has been the inspiration for so many other stories in the horror genre.

The book was published in 1897, so it’s an old one (this is an article about public domain books, after all). The narrative kicks off with solicitor Jonathan Harker embarking on a business trip to the estate of Count Dracula, a nobleman from Transylvania. Harker manages to flee the castle upon uncovering Dracula’s vampiric nature. Subsequently, the Count relocates to England, causing disturbances in the coastal town of Whitby. A coastal town in Yorkshire, England. What I love about this book is the format in which the story is told. The novel unfolds through a collection of letters, diary entries, and newspaper articles, which is unique, especially for the time it was published.

Whitby is still a wonderful place to visit today, and many people go there to enjoy the seaside town and take part in the many Dracular-themed events that the book has inspired.

The War of the Worlds

This book holds a special place in my heart, mainly because, as a child, it used to scare the living daylights out of me. Jeff Wayne’s musical version, in particular. My dad introduced me to that, and although I loved the music, the idea of aliens landing and capturing humans to feast on them worried me as a young boy. It still bothers me a bit now.

Now, we are here to talk about the book, which is incredible. That is to be expected, as legendary author H.G Wells penned it. It’s one the earliest novels that have humans battling out against an alien race and is a must-read. You won’t be able to put it down.

The Great Gatsby

This one became more famous with the movie adaptation starring Leonardo Dicaprio (he’s my favourite), but the original book that inspired the movie is a fantastic read. Some people are critical of this book (probably because they were forced to read it in school). But it highlights some of society’s issues surrounding classism in fun and engaging ways.

A classic novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald set in the Roaring Twenties. The story unfolds through the eyes of Nick Carraway, who moves to Long Island and becomes entangled in the lives of his mysterious neighbour, Jay Gatsby, and his cousin, Daisy Buchanan. Gatsby is known for extravagant parties and harbours a deep, enigmatic past. The novel explores themes of wealth, love, and the American Dream with a backdrop of decadence and disillusionment in the Jazz Age.

The Secret Garden

Now, this one is a childhood classic. I read this numerous times, and again this was introduced to me by my father; he read this book to me before I read it myself.

Written by Frances Hodgson Burnett, the story revolves around Mary Lennox, a spoiled and lonely girl sent to live with her reclusive uncle in a vast, mysterious estate. While exploring the estate, Mary discovers a hidden, neglected garden. Her cousin Colin plays a vital role in this book. Colin is a sickly child who is unable to walk and spends most of his time confined to his room before Mary arrives at the estate. They not only transform the garden but also the characters’ lives. The novel is a tale of self-discovery, rejuvenation, and the magic that can be found in unexpected places.