Top Ten Classics

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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.

Favorite Books/Plays

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.

Favorite Poems

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!

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16 thoughts on “Top Ten Classics

  1. LotR is truly awesome. There’s so much in the books that Jackson left out of the movies – not just sequences and characters but nuances. I was really disappointed in Faramir’s character in the movie until I saw the extended edition because there’s so much clear, pure nobility in him in the books and it set him up as a much more dramatic counterpoint to Boromir. But then, I get in the film they couldn’t undo all the danger and power they’d set up in the first film.

    Atlas Shrugged is probably the longest book I’ve read. I wouldn’t mind so much except that there’s a 60 PAGE MONOLOGUE. That’s probably not much of an endorsement but it’s a very interesting and thought-provoking books so I think it’s good. It’s just that monologue…

    • Everyone says that – I really need to get on it. I know they completely skipped Tom Bombadil from the first book, but I hadn’t heard about Faramir. I guess I’ve had it good because I’ve only ever seen the extended versions 😛

      How is a 60 page monologue even realistic?? Who can even TALK that long?? Jeeese.

  2. You haven’t read LOTR?! It’s like I don’t even know you lol
    I also love Annabelle Lee 🙂 It’s one of the poems I made a point to memorize when I was younger.
    I’m glad we’re already friends because otherwise I would have so many doubts because we have VERY different opinions on The Metamorphosis–I actually blame it for why my bug phobia is even worse than it used to be. I can’t even read Mossy by Jan Brett because it creeps me out because it’s like when Gregor got that apple thrown at him and stuck in his bag TIL IT ROTTED. Ugh I’m freaking myself out now. *wanders off*

    Good list though, seriously.

    • I know, I know. It’s my greatest reading shame!

      I read it from my book when I teach it just to be 100% sure but I’ve pretty much memorized it as well 😀

      I think the idea of a human sized bug was so abstract to me that I didn’t even take it to heart! I’ve never heard of Mossy actually, but yeah the apple part gave me the heebie jeebies.

      *pats your back* It’s okay – no bugs here. This blog is a bug free zone!

  3. I really need to read Fahrenheit 451 still! I’m hoping it meets my expectations better than 1984 did, sigh. I also want to read LOTR and Atlas Shrugged one day. I didn’t think of Ender’s Game, but I suppose it could be considered a classic!

  4. I’ve only read four of the books on your list here (that’s actually pretty impressive! xP), and most of them were my favorites! The Metamorphosis was kind of weird and disturbing at the same time. I liked the idea, but I didn’t enjoy the book much because it was so hard to tell what the whole point of it was. And frankly, it bugged me that it was never explained why the MC turned into a cockroach. Or maybe it was; I read it a couple of years ago so my memory’s a bit fuzzy.

    YES to To Kill a Mockingbird, though! One of my favorite classics ever. I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did, but Harper Lee is a fantastic writer and I loved reading from Scout’s eyes. It was also so honest and real — especially what happened to Tom at the end. I loved Ender’s Game as well! I know a lot of people are angry at Orson Scott Card for those stupid remarks he made (that was a pretty idiotic move on his part), but I read EG before all the drama so it didn’t affect me much. I still need to read Ender’s Shadow, but I’m glad that you enjoyed that one, too!

    Oh, LotR! I haven’t read the whole series either but I’ve watched the movies a couple of times. 😛 I do intend on finishing it, though. It’s just really hard for me to get past The Two Towers because of all the traveling descriptions and songs… But WE CAN DO IT. I know we can!

    I haven’t read Atlas Shrugged yet, but ever since playing Bioshock and learning that much of the game was inspired by that book, I really want to now. It’s such an awesome game, though a little creepy with all those jumpscares. Anyways, great list, Kayla!

    • Nope, it’s never explained why. But it was just weird like that. All Russian lit is, in my opinion. It’s kind of a hopeless mood, at least from the books I’ve read.

      I was SO angry at what Card said – really dude, shut your mouth sometimes – but I read his book beforehand so I wasn’t too affected. Though I felt a lot of political doctrine-pushing in Speaker for the Dead, so I didn’t love that as much.

      LET’S DO IT! Then we can reward ourselves by watching the movies again 😀 Extended version, of course.

      I’ve… never played Bioshock *hides*

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