books · lists · literature · reading

Books that you need to read before it’s too late.

That was a click-bait title, at least that’s what the analysts call it. I don’t have any analysts and this is getting off topic when the post has barely started so let’s go. This weekend is lists. Not great or epic lists, but lists of things that I want or enjoy. Today: Classic Literature.

Now, being an English major probably afforded me a bit of leeway in thinking about this a bit or at least that’s what people who are not English majors seem to think. The truth is, I never read any of the classics I thought I would. I read some obscure ones that turned out to be interesting, weird, and not ones I can say I would read again (probably because writing a 10 page paper drains the story out for you). But, here’s some novels that I read as an English major that stuck out the most to me. I hope you’ll check some of them out.

1. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen.

Image via Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Northanger-Abbey-Barnes-Noble-Classics/dp/1593083807/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1442715939&sr=1-7&keywords=northanger+abbey
Image via Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Northanger-Abbey-Barnes-Noble-Classics/dp/1593083807/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1442715939&sr=1-7&keywords=northanger+abbey

I think this must be the most under-rated Austen novel. I would have got to it eventually one day, since my goal is to read all the novels but one class in particular in which I read this book made me think about gothic literature and its effects. I do not remember watching the tv movie or masterpiece special, though maybe I did and it wasn’t as memorable as P & P. Read it though, whatever people told you about Austen forget it and let yourself read a romance out of its time for a bit.

2. The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon.

via Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Crying-Lot-Perennial-Fiction-Library/dp/B00ERJXBMO/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1442716121&sr=1-2&keywords=the+crying+of+lot+49+by+thomas+pynchon
via Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Crying-Lot-Perennial-Fiction-Library/dp/B00ERJXBMO/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1442716121&sr=1-2&keywords=the+crying+of+lot+49+by+thomas+pynchon

I don’t really know why I’m putting this on the list, I don’t remember the story that well. It’s probably because I saw it in the library recently and I remembered it to be sad and recalled a woman named Oedipa, vaguely. Give it a try.

3. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner.

via Amazon (the copy I read!): http://www.amazon.com/Sound-Fury-Publisher-Vintage/dp/B004V0BAJK/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1442716204&sr=1-4&keywords=the+sound+and+the+fury
via Amazon (the copy I read!): http://www.amazon.com/Sound-Fury-Publisher-Vintage/dp/B004V0BAJK/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1442716204&sr=1-4&keywords=the+sound+and+the+fury

Wow, go me putting this one on here. This was that novel that takes place in the South that was told through multiple narrative styles (which I just now read included a technique called stream of consciousness..interesting). I didn’t love it when reading it because I analyzed it without getting the meaning from it. I know its importance as an important historical novel about the South. I would recommend it even though I don’t love it. See, I think of others!

4. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.

via Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Catcher-Rye-J-D-Salinger/dp/0316769177/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1442716315&sr=1-1&keywords=the+catcher+in+the+rye
via Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Catcher-Rye-J-D-Salinger/dp/0316769177/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1442716315&sr=1-1&keywords=the+catcher+in+the+rye

I feel like this should be at the top. I think this is one of my all time favorite novels. I read it in a class for youth fiction or something. Most of my class did not enjoy this novel, but instead loved The Bluest Eye. I never got why that was. Of course both totally different novels.

5. Rabbit, Run by John Updike.

via Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Rabbit-Run-John-Updike/dp/0449911659/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1442716416&sr=1-1&keywords=rabbit+run+john+updike
via Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Rabbit-Run-John-Updike/dp/0449911659/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1442716416&sr=1-1&keywords=rabbit+run+john+updike

This is a good one, that’s all I remember. That it was good and I liked it. Read in an American contemporary fiction/American novelists class. It follows three months of a former basketball players life. There are sequels which I never read. This is like when I read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and was told there were sequels. I didn’t read those either. Whatever, don’t regret it too much.

6. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy.

via: http://www.amazon.com/Arundhati-Roy-God-Small-Things/dp/B004T4MRAY/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1442716509&sr=1-3&keywords=the+god+of+small+things
via: http://www.amazon.com/Arundhati-Roy-God-Small-Things/dp/B004T4MRAY/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1442716509&sr=1-3&keywords=the+god+of+small+things

Majestic, heart-wrenching, and thoughtful. Read it and also read more of Roy’s work (I want to read more of her work myself.)

7. White Teeth by Zadie Smith.

via Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/White-Teeth-Novel-Zadie-Smith/dp/0375703861/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1442716596&sr=1-1&keywords=white+teeth+zadie+smith
via Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/White-Teeth-Novel-Zadie-Smith/dp/0375703861/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1442716596&sr=1-1&keywords=white+teeth+zadie+smith

This is also one of best books I’ve read. So profoundly moving. Does that sound like a movie critic? Sorry, but read it. If you want to know what its about in four words here: Immigrant family, London, tenacious, sinewy.

8. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro.

Via: http://www.amazon.com/Remains-Day-Kazuo-Ishiguro/dp/B002EXUV32/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1442716926&sr=1-5&keywords=the+remains+of+the+day
Via: http://www.amazon.com/Remains-Day-Kazuo-Ishiguro/dp/B002EXUV32/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1442716926&sr=1-5&keywords=the+remains+of+the+day

This is historical fiction set in England. I believe it tells a story of a butler, but of course its more than that. It’s really a great book so I do recommend it.

9. Pavilion of Women by Pearl S. Buck.

Via: http://www.amazon.com/Pavilion-Women-Novel-Womens-Quarters-ebook/dp/B008F4NRT4/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1442717002&sr=1-1&keywords=pavilion+of+women
Via: http://www.amazon.com/Pavilion-Women-Novel-Womens-Quarters-ebook/dp/B008F4NRT4/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1442717002&sr=1-1&keywords=pavilion+of+women

I would use the word “oppressed” to describe parts of this book and “traditional” and “sacrilegious” to explain other parts. It’s maybe controversial, I don’t know. I can’t remember it clearly enough to say anything to make you want to pick it up and read it more but do look it up.

10. Caucasia by Danzy Senna.

Via: http://www.amazon.com/Caucasia-Novel-Danzy-Senna/dp/1573227161/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1442717114&sr=1-1&keywords=caucasia
Via: http://www.amazon.com/Caucasia-Novel-Danzy-Senna/dp/1573227161/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1442717114&sr=1-1&keywords=caucasia

Oh this book. This book, how I worked and researched this book for so long. It was the subject of a class paper and for a senior thesis I chose to write on this book again (professors worried I would be copying from the first essay, but I promised to do more research as I felt there was much more to explore on the novel). Suffice to say, the paper was never published in any journals. Should I have at least tried to submit? Probably? Would it be too late? I don’t know, but I need newer references and sources that the one’s I used likely. Enough of that struggle. Read it!

By this point, you may be like “wow, this girl read so many awesome books during her time in college!” And to that I would say, “Sure, but I read a lot of boring short stories too and I’ve read so many more awesome books since then!” I really have. Check out the book blog. I post what I read, when I remember to post about it.

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