Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that was started by The Broke and The Bookish.
This week’s topic is…
August 25: Top Ten Books That Would Be On My Syllabus If I Taught “Second-Chance” Classics
So, this is my list of books that you were probably forced to read in high school and just slogged through without really stopping to enjoy and understand just how fantastic these novels are. I know a lot of people who claim they aren’t readers because they were assigned things in school that they didn’t enjoy – I, for one, have loved the Classics at all ages, but I can also see the argument that perhaps waiting to read them later in life (and when you’re not being graded) means you’ll be able to appreciate them more.
1) To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee – You need to read this modern American classic. Set in a small Southern town during the Depression, To Kill A Mockingbird tells the story of Atticus Finch and his family as he, a white lawyer, defends an innocent black man on trial. This book is funny and sad and beautiful and indelible.
2) The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne – This American classic is So. Scandalous. I love it. The story, set in 1600s Boston, follows Hester Prynne, a young woman who has a child from an affair and out of wedlock (gasp!). Juicy stuff.
3) Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte – It’s obviously not a Classics list of mine without Jane Eyre, one of my all-time favorite books and name inspiration for this here blog. Victorian-era Classic featuring love, hate, romance, attempted murder, a crazy person in the attic and much more. There is so much drama and fun to be had.
4) East of Eden, John Steinbeck – Even crazy-readers like myself fall prey, guys! I would not read East of Eden, even though its my BFF’s favorite book, because I loathed reading Grapes of Wrath in high school (like, we get it, its the Dust Bowl…for 5 millions pages….). Anyway, I righted this wrong this year and am so glad I did. East of Eden is an epic family drama set in early 1900s California. Like Jane Eyre it features love and hate along with the added drama of shootings and brothels, plus one super awesome male nanny.
5) The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath – I read The Bell Jar in college and have loved it ever since. Plath’s semi-autobiographical novel about a young woman’s mental breakdown is really powerful, and especially affecting when you know Plath’s history and eventual fate.
6) The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald – You should probably read Gatsby again. Just because.
7) In Cold Blood, Truman Capote – I’ve mentioned this one before and maybe it sounds silly to say, but this is like, the original Serial. True-crime novel about the murder of a family in a sleepy Kansas town. Wonderful read that I couldn’t put down.
8) Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen – Duh.
9) Harry Potter Series, JK Rowling – Some may disagree with my classification here but to me, this is a present-day-Classics series. Harry Potter is the story that defined my generation. It has everything you need in a great story – good, evil, love, hate, friendship, family. It is simply the best. (And Neville…obviously….)
10) Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier – Rebecca savors strongly of Jane Eyre in terms of story line but it is a really great standalone suspense novel as well. Rebecca is more of a cult classic than literary classic but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read it.
So, would you register for my class? What do yall have on your syllabus?