I read these books shortly before I began my blog, but too much time had passed to do them justice. Now that I’ve compiled the list, though, I’d kind of like to re-read and review these titles, because they were just that good.
Note: Many of these books look like they’ve been drawn from a tenth-grade reading list. (Or lower.) Despite my youthful good looks, I am actually not in high school. I was just on a classics kick before I started blogging (and before I realized that there are living authors who write, too. And well.). But feel free to be impressed by how totally erudite I am.
10. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
I read somewhere on the internet that some people think this is a children’s story. (I guess Jack Black doesn’t help.) It is, in fact, a pretty brilliant satire that has transcended centuries.
9. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Oh, Okonkwo. How can you not love a man like this? “No matter how prosperous a man was, if he was unable to rule his women and his children (and especially his women) he was not really a man.” But for realz, Achebe is really freaking awesome. Which is why everyone else has probably already read him, and I’m just late to the party. As usual.
8. A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
This was the first YA book I read as an adult, not counting Harry Potter, which I obviously don’t. I picked it up one summer vacation during college, and the story has stayed with me ever since. It’s the start of an awesome series, too.
7. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
Have you always been secretly ashamed that you’ve never actually read Hemingway? Now’s your chance to make amends! The Old Man and the Sea is short, poetic, awesome, and won some big prize or the other. Read it.
6. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
This was given to me by a boy whom I very much admired at the time, so it’s hard to separate my feelings for him from my feelings for the book. (It’s also why I haven’t been able to re-read it.) But in my admittedly subjective opinion, this was a really interesting and thought-provoking book. Even if the boy wasn’t.
5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
I resisted reading Jane Eyre for a long time. I would have gotten away with it, too, because everyone assumed that I’d already read it, probably based on the fact that I was a girl and a reader. But after Susan Redington Bobby’s class on fairy tales, in which she made repeated references to “the madwoman in the attic,” I knew I’d have to cave. And it was actually quite good!
4. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
One of the literary gifts Jack has given me, in addition to George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, was Ender’s Game. I had dismissed it as the realm of ten-year-old boys, but boy, was I wrong. I loved this book. I’m not saying it’s why Jack and I are still together, but I’m not not saying that.
3. 1984 by George Orwell
My classics kick was fueled, in part, by a desire to understand literary references. And what book is referenced more than 1984? (Please tell me so I can read it.) In my humble opinion, this book was the second-best thing about the ‘80s.
2. Candide by Voltaire
I very clearly remember studying for a history exam in high school, and this was the flashcard entry I made:
“Voltaire: The 18th century French infidel.”
No lie. My history book was a bit… biased. Luckily for me, I read it anyway. Candide is thoughtful and hilarious—essential reading.
1. Slaughterhouse-five by Kurt Vonnegut
Look, you don’t need me to tell you that Kurt Vonnegut is a genius. But I can’t really describe this book any other way, which kind of explains why I didn’t review it. I can only quote one of the most powerful lines of literature: “Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.”
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each Tuesday, bloggers create top ten lists about reading, writing, blogging, and more!
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