I haven’t done Top Ten Tuesday in possibly a year. Which is fine. I’ve been off having crazy adventures like we wild kids do. Right. So, this Tuesday’s theme is “Top Ten Books I Was “Forced” to Read (either by teachers, friends, other bloggers, book club) — doesn’t necessarily have to be a BAD thing. Could be required reading, yes, but also book club, or just super enthusiastic friends “making” you read something!” I realize I didn’t have to put the whole thing, but pressing CTRL V is so much easier when you never look back.
These aren’t in any particular order. And I’ll try to do books that I read all the way or mostly through, which honestly narrows the list down a lot because I definitely didn’t read half the books I was supposed to in high school…or in college. I’m a living testimony that modern American education is a sham, because I did very well for not having done any work.
1.) Crime and Punishment: I read this book in college as part of a book study led by one of the coolest professors ever, Jonathon Watt. I’m not a huge fan of Russian literature, but this is a good one. It gets into the mind of a sane man who plans and carries out a murder. A great read, especially if you like psychological thrillers.
2.) Fahrenheit 451: Set in a futuristic dystopia in which the government controls its citizens by making them idiots…essentially. They outlaw anything that encourage original thought, like books. There’s a job specifically designed to get rid of any form of literature by fire; ironically, these are the firemen.
3.) Frankenstein: I read this in conjunction with Crime and Punishment to explore ideas of freedom and how in that freedom we can commit despicable acts, which include not just taking life, but sometimes giving it as well.
4.) Phantastes: Read in my three months at Oxford as part of my tutorial on C.S. Lewis. George MacDonald believed that fairytale aren’t just for kids. In fact, they weren’t even originally meant for children. Phantastes is one of many fairytales he wrote.
5.) Literary Nonfiction: Well this is random. A collection of award-winning feature stories that were published in newspapers and magazines in the 20th and 21st century. I read it for an independent study two years ago. Honestly, I read some of the most masterful modern prose in here, at least in my opinion. I aspire to it in my own writing…only to be horribly disappointed in the result. But it’s all learnin’.
6.) Midsummer Night’s Dream: A required reading two times–once for a class and again for the production we did my senior year (last year) in which I played Puck. Remarkably appropriate. Shakespeare can be hard to read, but it was never meant to be read like a novel.
7.) My Name Is Asher Lev: I don’t remember much about this story, as I read it eight years ago. But it’s essentially the coming-of-age story of a Jewish boy who wants to be an artist. I don’t think I liked it at first, but it grew on me. Same with Catcher in the Rye. Actually, I still don’t know if I like that one or not.
8.) My Ishmael: A talking monkey who tries to tell me how to live my life. My favorite. Actually, I really shouldn’t have put this one on here…because I didn’t finish it. Not even close.
9.) The Cobra Event: Bio Terrorism three years ago. Yes, be afraid. I know things…like how to say botulinum. This book is incredibly descriptive. Which I appreciate. In fact, it’s so descriptive in terms of how it relays the symptoms of a fictional mysterious illness that it managed to make me lose control of my facial expressions while reading it. I was reading the first chapter late at night, and my roommate at the time came out of her room briefly to get something. She looked over at me in the chair in the corner, and I was sitting there with my mouth hanging open staring with wide eyes at the book. I didn’t even notice her come in and had no idea my face was doing that till I closed the book. The only other time I remember doing that was the autopsy scene in Contagion where they peeled Gwyneth Paltrow’s scalp over her face. Yup.
10.) Harry Potter series: Peer pressure. More like everyone had read it, and I wanted to know what the big deal was. I wasn’t disappointed, though it took some working through; Rowling’s stories are incredibly slow.
There are other books I could have put in there, obviously. Like anything about the Holocaust. Those stories fascinate me. Be sure to leave comments. I like those.