Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Check out their blog here!
Today’s TTT topic is: Top Ten Favorite Classic Books (however you define classic) or Top Ten Classics I Want To Read. This is actually one I think I’ll do pretty well at, if I can remember all the books I read in college. Can we include poetry? I’m including poetry.
1. Antigone by Sophocles. Most of my Roots of Western Civilization stuff I didn’t enjoy (enjoy is the wrong word – I hard a hard time with my textbook because it was size 8 single spaced font, the poems and stories were actually good), but Antigone was so worth the sore eyes. I just remember thinking, “YOU GO GIRL FREAKING ANTIGONE IS MY HERO.” Seriously – there’s your strong female character right there.
2. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. I actually enjoyed this one so much that I now teach it in my World Literature class (to my surprise, many of the students claimed this as their favorite we read in the whole year!). I didn’t love Russian lit, but I think that has more to do with the fact that I had to read Crime and Punishment in two days. But Metamorphosis was a nice short bite that I could enjoy without stressing about essay deadlines and whatnot.
3. Zenzele: A Letter for My Daughter by J. Nozipo Maraire. Another that I now teach in World Literature – this book still stuns me no matter how many times I read it. Actually, I loved my entire African Encounters class, but this one really took the prize for best book. It also helped me understand that feminism doesn’t have to be the feminazi stereotype, and completely changed my thinking about the entire subject. Note: this was published in 1997 but I’m counting it here because ya’ll need to read it.
4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I read it when I was in elementary school, and didn’t understand it. As a teenager reading it again, I fell in love, and then reading it as a teacher, I loved it even more. It’s definitely one of my favorite books on my shelf, and I treasure it greatly even though it’s highlighted and written in and kind of falling apart.
5. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. I read this when I was fourteen, and it was like this great big world of “what if this happened” opened up to me. It spurred me to write my own science fiction stories, and was a treasured book throughout my high school days. It makes me ponder a lot of issues, and it still influences my writing today.
6.A Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes. I actually liked most of the Harlem Renaissance stuff I read, but this was my standout piece. I just love the way it tastes when I read it out loud (I am so sorry if that doesn’t make sense but hopefully someone understands).
7. Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe. Another that tastes good when I read it (and another that I teach in my classes), and it sounds like the ocean. If I could have someone record that in their most soothing voice, then played on repeat, I’m pretty sure I’d fall asleep in .2 seconds.
8. Hope is the thing with feathers and If I can stop by Emily Dickinson. Someday I’m going to get myself a stunningly bound complete collection of all of Dickinson’s poems. She’s my favorite, and I never get tired of reading them. If I could teach a class where I just read her poems out loud for an hour and we discuss them and call that an entire lit class I’d be in heaven.
Classics I Want to Read
9. The Lord of the Rings trilogy by JRR Tolkien. This is shameful, since I’m actually a huge LOTR fangirl and know more than the average person does or should. Case in point: when they adapted The Hobbit, and I went to see Part I in theaters, and they were being chased by the wargs on those plains? I knew it was an elf horn that had sounded before the elf armies even showed up. So maybe I’m just a movie geek, but I intend to make that book geek too, especially since I’ve read the Hobbit five times over. But technically I’ve read Fellowship several times; it’s just sticking with the rest of the series that I fail at.
10. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. I’ve heard a lot about this one, but have never had the time to sit down and read this beast. At over 1K words, I’m going to need some time to power through.
BONUS! A classic I loved:
11. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. I’ve made it known that I’m not a huge fan of the sequel, but Ender’s Game and Ender’s Shadow are on my list of all time favorite books. It’s another I wish I could teach, but I’d have so many parents storming the gates due to questionable content, so I’ll just be content reading it at home and dreaming of the day. I could probably say even that Ender’s Game is what got me through college – I think I read it three or four times in one year alone. I still really want a hardback copy, even though my paperback is pretty nice.
I actually could have gone on to list more, but I’m itching to get back to Dreams of Gods and Monsters, and I’m having really bad book amnesia. Apparently I blocked all my college reading out of my head. I didn’t think it was that bad, but I guess my brain says otherwise…
That’s my list for this week – link me yours below!