It's basically homework, right?


Bet you never imagined that Jane Austen's Emma is a dab hand when it comes to whipping up a latte? Or that Jane Eyre is also an Icelandic au pair working in Scotland?

Whether you're finding the books on your reading list a bit of a challenge or you fancy mugging up on the classics but can't seem to get into the swing of things, you might want to take a little look through these modern retellings of those books everybody always says you should read. 

Top 10 retellings and modern updates of literary classics - BOOKS

There are so many updates of the classics out there that it can be hard to know where to start and with that in mind, we've picked out our Top 10 updates that'll bring the great literary heros and heroines slap bang into the 21st century...

10. Going Bovine by Libba Bray (Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra)

Top 10 retellings and modern updates of literary classics - BOOKS

All 16-year-old Cameron wants is to get through high school - and life in general - with a minimum of effort. It’s not a lot to ask. But that’s before he’s given some bad news: he’s sick and he’s going to die. Which totally sucks.

Hope arrives in the winged form of Dulcie, a loopy punk angel and possible hallucination with a bad sugar habit. She tells Cam there is a cure - if he’s willing to go in search of it.

With the help of a death-obsessed, video-gaming dwarf and a yard gnome, Cam sets off on the mother of all road trips through a twisted America into the heart of what matters most.

9.  The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney (To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee)

Themis Academy is a quiet boarding school where the students are exceptional, the faculty trust that everyone does the right thing, and the administration sees only what it wants to see - perfection. So when Alex spends a drunken-night with a male student and awakes to evidence of a sexual encounter she can't remember, she doesn't know where to turn for help.

As she slowly comes to terms with the fact that she was date raped, she enlists the help of the Mockingbirds - a secret society of her peers whose mission is to right the wrongs that the faculty and administration don't even know exist.

In standing up to her attacker, Alex discovers a strength she never knew she had and begins to understand that if you love something or someone - especially yourself - it's worth fighting for.

8. The Espressologist by Kristina Springer (Emma by Jane Austen)

Top 10 retellings and modern updates of literary classics - BOOKS

What’s your drink of choice? Is it a small pumpkin spice latte? Then you’re lots of fun and a bit sassy. Or perhaps it’s a small decaf soy sugar-free hazelnut caffe latte? Some might call you a yuppie. Seventeen-year-old barista Jane Turner has this theory that you can tell a lot about a person by their regular coffee drink.

She scribbles it all down in a notebook and calls it Espressology. So it’s not a totally crazy idea when Jane starts hooking up some of her friends based on their coffee orders. Like her best friend, Em, a medium hot chocolate, and Cam, a toffee nut latte.

But when her boss, Derek, gets wind of Jane’s Espressology, he makes it an in-store holiday promotion, promising customers their perfect matches for the price of their favorite coffee. Things are going better than Derek could ever have hoped, so why is Jane so freaked out? Does it have anything to do with Em dating Cam? She’s the one who set them up! She should be happy for them, right?

Sweet and frothy, it's truly irresistible and even better than a coffee frappuccino with extra cream. Just saying.

7. Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding (Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen)

There's little doubt that you've seen the hit movies based on Helen Fielding's novel, but underneath all those hilarious embarrassing moments and blue string soup is a story based upon one of Jane Austen's most infamous novels.

From work based performance anxiety and mum's running off with orange TV show hosts to the worries about being left old and alone to be eaten by Alsatians, Bridget will have you helpless with laughter on her permanent quest to find Mr. Right - even if that means shagging her boss and putting up with the insufferable smirks of a certain Mr. Darcy while she does it.

We love Lizzy Bennett, but Bridget is our spirit animal and having coined the phrase 'smug married', she's in the running to be our ultimate heroine too.

6. The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesy (Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë)

Top 10 retellings and modern updates of literary classics - BOOKS

When orphan Gemma Hardy leaves her native home of Iceland to take a job as an au pair on the Orkney Islands, she never expects to find herself drawn into the world of dark and brooding businessman Mr. Sinclair.

Even before their first meeting Gemma is intrigued by the mystery surrounding him and even though they are an unlikely couple, the two are drawn to each other.

But Gemma's biggest trial is about to begin: a journey of passion and betrayal, redemption and discovery, that will lead her to a life is which she's never dreamed. Oh, and of course there's that mad bird living upstairs in the attic...

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