Picture this: it’s a warm summer day at the beach. The light breeze smells of sunscreen and salt. Above you, seagulls soar and squawk. You’ve laid out a towel on the sand, you’re sipping on your favorite iced drink, and your sunglasses are perched on your head. When you get too hot, you run to the water and let the waves swirl around your feet. It truly is a perfect day- the only thing you’re missing is a good book! If you’re looking to read something as cozy as a day at the beach, it may be time to return to some classic literature.
I know what you may be thinking. Classic literature? You mean the books I was forced to read in high school? Well, yes! Classic books aren’t only sentimental and nostalgic, but they also reveal different cultural and historical perspectives. Studies have shown that people who read classics are more empathetic and emotionally intelligent, and they have a stronger sense of personal ethics. Reading classics can also be just as or more beneficial than reading self-help books. Whether you’re looking to gain these benefits, or you’re just looking for a comfortable, old-timey beach read, keep reading. In honor of National Sunglasses Day, here are some classic book recommendations based on your favorite pair of eye protection!
Ah, yes, the classic wayfarers. A fan favorite. The frames of these sunglasses are thick enough to be comfortable while out and about, but the style is classy enough to be worn with every outfit. President John F. Kennedy paired wayfarers with his suits and ties. In the recording studio, Bob Dylan wore them while producing “Like a Rolling Stone.” Still not convinced? Just watch Risky Business with Tom Cruise.
If wayfarers are also your go-to sunglasses, you’re most likely a versatile person who can handle anything thrown your way. Your life is fast-paced and your schedule is jam-packed. But that’s not a problem for you! With your trusty wayfarers perched on your nose, you can discover a ghost, fight off a few bullies, and completely reform the justice system by noon. As a wayfarer enthusiast, when you do find time to sit down and enjoy a classic book, you’re probably looking for something that checks all the boxes of canonical literature. That’s why you should check out To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee!
To Kill a Mockingbird was published in 1960 and, in 1961, it won the Pulitzer Prize. The events in To Kill a Mockingbird are based off Lee’s childhood experiences in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama. While reading this book, you will teleport to the Great Depression in the Deep South, where you will experience the harsh realities of segregation and racial inequality. Told through the eyes of young Scout, this classic is an honest reflection on the flawed human nature. Readers must be ready for a lesson in history, empathy, and social behavior all at once! Just like a wayfarer fan checking items off their to-do list, To Kill a Mockingbird offers all the elements of classic literature in a single read.
Very few sunglasses are as cool and suave as the aviators. When I see someone with these lenses, I picture them walking away from a Hollywood budget explosion. I picture them jumping out of a faulty plane without flinching. I am once again picturing Tom Cruise, but this time in Top Gun. And it makes sense. Invented in the 1930s, aviators were originally designed to replace the bulkier, foggier goggles that were worn by military pilots.
If aviators are your favorite choice of sunglasses, you are most likely a person with a can-do attitude. Your greatest desire in life is to do good for the world and its people. You are brave and selfless, but you occasionally make foolish decisions in the name of adventure. Aviator enthusiasts are constantly looking forward to their next exciting feat. When they do pick up a classic book, they’re looking for something that provides them with the same thrill they find in their everyday life. That’s why, if aviators are your preferred sunglasses, you should read Catch-22 by Joseph Heller!
Published in 1961, Catch-22 is a satirical war novel that revolves around Captain John Yossarian’s tragic experiences during World War II. With the rest of his Air Force squadron, Yossarian is stationed on the island of Pianosa in the Mediterranean Sea. During especially brutal combat situations, Yossarian watches his friends thoughtlessly die or disappear in order to boost the reputations of their superior officers. And the craziest part? Only Yossarian seems to be aware that they are fighting a war. In an epic tale of brotherhood in order to fight against bureaucracy and violence, Heller’s Catch-22 is sure to keep even the most avid aviator fanatics on their toes!
Growing up, all my favorite book and movie characters sported round glasses. Think Simon from Alvin and the Chipmunks. Think Edna from The Incredibles. I mean, come on! Is there a better way to say “I’m a book nerd” than to wear polarized Harry Potter glasses? In the trendiest, most stylish way possible, round sunglasses give off an air of intelligence.
If you like round sunglasses the best, you’re most likely a bookish person who constantly desires to learn more about the world around you. You often find yourself in your own little world, contemplating the many mysteries of life. People who wear round sunglasses don’t need to be told what books they should read because they’ve already found, read, and annotated them themselves. However, if you have a pair of round sunglasses sitting on your nose and you’re looking for a classic read that will stretch your mind, try Frankenstein by Mary Shelley!
Modern retellings of Frankenstein have made it so we all know the basic story- an “evil” scientist creates a living creature through an unorthodox science experiment. But Shelley’s 1818 publication of Frankenstein is much more than that. The original Frankenstein is a philosophical pondering of human morality, monstrosity, and alienation. After reading this classic novel, the reader is left to answer a question of ethics- is your personal ambition or your responsibility towards others more important? Look no further, round sunglasses lovers! Frankenstein will surely meet your intellectual needs.
Cat-eye sunglasses are the perfect lenses to choose if you want to look designer without having to pay the big bucks. These sunglasses weren’t designed with a specific function in mind. Instead, Altina Schinasi invented them in the 1930s after walking into an optician’s office and recognizing the lack of stylish options available for women.
If you wear cat-eye sunglasses, you most likely value fashion and flair. You are caught in a perpetual spotlight, but you don’t mind. Even while you’re at the center of attention, looking glamorous comes easy to you. Your nails are always freshly painted, your eyeliner stays on fleek, and there is not a single hair on your head that’s out of place. You truly belong with the big leagues- and that’s why you should read The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald!
Published in 1925, The Great Gatsby tells the tragic story of the self-made millionaire, Jay Gatsby. Living in his mansion on Long Island, Gatsby invests himself in all things luxurious. He throws elaborate parties, wears expensive clothing, and mingles with the Jazz Age’s most influential socialites. But his main goal in life isn’t unachievable wealth- it’s to win back the love of his life, Daisy Buchanan. With your cat-eye sunglasses perched on your nose, you can dream of living an extravagant life right out of The Great Gatsby… without the murder, revenge, and betrayal, of course.
Shield lenses make for the most practical sunglasses on this list. With the single lens, your eyes are protected from the sun, wind, and flying debris during even the most rigorous activities. Looking to try cycling, hiking, or other outdoor sports? Look no further! With shield sunglasses, you won’t have to worry about squinting or blinking away dust all day.
If you grab your shield sunglasses before heading out for the day, your friends would most likely describe you as a team-player. You work hard so you can play hard, and you play hard so you can win. You certainly aren’t afraid to get a little dirt under you nails. Even on a hot summer day, you can be found exploring the great outdoors or playing a sport with your teammates. With your shield sunglasses protecting your eyes, you can push yourself to any victory- and that’s why you should read The Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn!
Published in 1972, The Boys of Summer is a non-fiction classic about one of America’s favorite sports: baseball. After growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Kahn began his writing career as a reporter for the New York Herald Tribune. The Boys of Summer, Kahn’s first book, tells the exciting true story about the young men who learned to play baseball in the 1930s and 1940s. As their success grew, these men went on to form the Brooklyn Dodgers major-league baseball club, winning the 1955 World Series and breaking the color barrier on sports teams alongside Jackie Robinson. Do your shield sunglasses make you feel like a winner? The inspiring story in The Boys of Summer will, too!
Heart-shaped lenses make for the most unique style of sunglasses on the beach. But these sunglasses have actually dominated popular culture for decades. Since their invention in the 1970s, heart-shaped sunglasses have been worn by celebrities in blockbuster Hollywood films, in music videos, and on the Red Carpet.
If you like to look effortlessly cute and retro in your heart-shaped sunglasses, you’re most likely a person who values pleasure and fun. You’re always down for any kind of celebration. Is it your best friend’s birthday next week? No problem! You planned, scheduled, and sent out invitations for their surprise party over a month ago. With your heart-shaped sunglasses tangled in your hair, everyone knows you’re quirky, sweet, and playful. There is no better way to say “I’m a lover, not a fighter” than heart-shaped lenses, so you’re probably looking for a classic book with love as the central theme. That’s why you should read Little Women by Louisa May Alcott!
I know, I know, Little Women isn’t always the most light-hearted read. Centered around the four March sisters- Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy- this family must learn how to extend kindness to others even while living in poverty themselves. Even more emotionally difficult than that, their father is away to serve as a Union chaplain in the Civil War. But at its core, Little Women is a classic read about personal growth, familial relationships, forgiveness, and sacrifice. If you want to feel as much love as you do while wearing your heart-shaped sunglasses, dust off Little Women. Or, you can also try watching Greta Gerwig’s 2019 adaptation of this classic book.
You may be reading this and thinking, “Me? Sunglasses? Pfft… I’m not sitting on the beach wearing those. I’m running straight to the water!” There’s no shame in opting for goggles instead of sunglasses. Goggles can be polarized, protecting your eyes from the sun’s rays. You can also swim with the fishes all day long!
If goggles are your go-to beach wear, you’re most likely an adventurer, a pilgrim, a conquistador. While pioneering through life, you don’t worry much about planning ahead. You’ll always find something new to try or explore! When you don’t respond to your friends’ texts or calls, they don’t fret. They know you’re out busying yourself with your next quest. As a goggle enthusiast, you’ll relate most to classic book characters that also value exploration and discovery. That’s why you should read The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien!
Originally meant to be a sequel to Tolkien’s novel The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings quickly developed into a much larger project. It was initially published as three separate works, compiled by The Fellowship of the Rings (1954), The Two Towers (1955), and The Return of the King (1955). This classic book follows the fantastical adventures of Frodo Baggins, who inherited a magical ring from his uncle. But the ring has the ability to control the whole world, turning its owner power-hungry. Alongside a team of hobbits, dwarfs, elves, and men, Frodo must attempt to destroy the ring with the evil Sauron at his tail. With your goggles at your side, you can brave all of Frodo’s adventures!
For National Sunglasses Day, we hope you like these classic book recommendations based on your go-to sunglasses! If you think you already know these classics by heart, give this Bookstr quiz a try- Can You Name These Literary Classics By Their Opening Lines?