Today’s Top Ten Tuesday, from the Broke and the Bookish, is a freebie. I’ve decided to talk about ten books that I read for school, either in high school or college, that left a lasing impression.
2) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
I read this on a train on the way back from Switzerland in high school. It was my first Austen. Although her works aren’t plays, they lend themselves beautifully to theater and I’ve seen Pride and Prejudice as well as Sense and Sensibility performed.
3) The Tempest by William Shakespeare
I <3 Shakespeare. For Real. This wasn’t the first Shakespeare that I read. That was Romeo and Juliet. I also read Julius Caesar, The Taming of the Shrew, Hamlet, and Othello in high school and college and that inspired my completed project of reading all of Shakespeare. I’m picking The Tempest, though, to discuss here as it’s thrilling as many believe that it was influenced by the newly founded colony of Jamestown in VA (Some of my ancestors were very early settlers there) and so it perfectly shows how history and current events can influence a writer. For more on how Shakespeare’s world influenced him, I highly recommend Shakespeare’s Restless World by Neil MacGregor.
4) Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Atmosphere. This is a quintessential story in how horror can arise from atmosphere rather than gory details and how the strongest point can be made by examining the moral limits of the animal called man.
5) Der Richter und sein Henker by Friedrich Durrenmatt
I went to high school in Germany, at an American school, but I did take four years of German class. This was the first complete novel that I read in German. The title translates as The Judge and His Henchman and it examines the moral dilemma of what happens when a past crime goes unpunished and a police detective investigates a new crime.
6) Antigone by Sophocles
Oedipus Rex is perhaps better known, but Antigone is a part of the trio that continues the story. She’s Oedipus’s daughter and her strength far exceeded Oedipus’s to me. It was amazing to see an early Greek female character embodying such character.
7) Lord of the Flies by William Golding
This book is slightly disturbing, though less so than 1984 (which I also read in high school). We spent weeks on it in my English class, though, and that meant that every detail could be dissected. I remember writing pages on the conch shell and the symbolism of every character and element of the story. I still love symbolism- reading it and writing it.
8) A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen
Ah, Nora. Questionable motives. Proto-feminist. Iconic character. This play was full of twists, not only in plot but also in motivation and was very interesting to study.
9) The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde and Tartuffe by Moliere (translated by Richard Wilbur)
I’m grouping two in one, because I read both of them for my literature: drama class in college and I found both of them to be hilarious. Words can be wonderfully amusing. These playwrights did that for me. I like smart humor. These works accomplish that.
In AP Literature, we were asked to pick an author and read two works by him or her and then write a paper on the author. I picked Charles Dickens and read A Christmas Carol and A Tale of Two Cities. My paper examined Dickens’ views of capitalism and a longing for the past. It was one of my favorite high school papers to write. And, as in The Lord of the Flies, it provided ample opportunity for an abundance of examining symbolism.
Which books from school left a lasting impression on you? What were your favorite assigned reads? Which would you have preferred not to be assigned to read?
My best to you all,