I'm also a contributor over at The Broke and the Bookish. Every week we host a meme called Top Ten Tuesday. This week's topic is right up my alley--Top Ten Classics. Either favorites or ones that I want to read. I think I'll be able to limit myself to ten favorites, as opposed to merely listing ten that I want to read...
Without further ado, here are my Top Ten Favorite Classics
1. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell--No top ten list involving the classics could begin with any other book. I love this book. I read it ten times between the ages of 13 and 18. Sadly, I haven't read it in its entirety since then, but I plan on rectifying that soon. There is so much about this book that I love. I love the language used to tell the story, I love the story, I love the characters. This book made me laugh and cry and feel all the things.
2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee--There is a lot to love about this book too! The story is told from Scout's perspective, which means there are some super precocious lines (a snowman that looks like an absolute "morphodite," anyone?) but the narrator is also able to cut through a lot of the bullshit, the way only a child can. It also features one of the bravest, most inspiring protagonists in literature--Atticus Finch. Lee does an amazing job of creating a sense of place in how she describes everything from the physical appearance of the town to the humidity to the people of the town.
3. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller--People either love or hate this book. I think a lot of it has to do with whether they are able to follow the various strings of the plot. This novel is full of memorable characters--even the secondary and tertiary characters are supremely entertaining. It truly exhibits the madness of war and of blindly following orders. I laughed and cried and applauded. It's a late addition to my ambitious reading project.
4. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner--This is one of those books that I never really thought about until I realized how many times I have read it. If I keep re-reading the same book, obviously it means something, right? I love how Faulkner creates so many voices to tell the story. I love how it examines the futility of certain ventures, but also the bond of family.
5. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway--This was my first experience with Hemingway. I really enjoy the story of this novel. I haven't done a close reading of it--which means I really need to soon--but I can't help but get caught up in the story. There are moments of action that make you catch your breathe and there a moments of happiness that also make you catch your breath. Definitely need to re-read soon!
6. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald--This novel is so short! But it says so much! It's a great commentary on the high life in the 1920s, told by someone who was right in the middle of it. However, it's also a novel of hope and dreams. Nick Carraway is one of the most interesting narrators. It's really difficult to dissect my feelings about this novel.
7. East of Eden by John Steinbeck--I love this book! (This is getting repetitive, isn't it?) Steinbeck retells the story of Genesis in this novel and also weaves in his own family's history. He creates an overwhelming sense of place and extremely deep characters that touch your lives and wriggle their way into your mind. Lee is one such character. He's stayed with me for over four years. I am partway through a re-read of this novel and am very much looking forward to picking it up again.
8. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway--This was the third Hemingway novel that I ever read. I love reading about the 1920s ex-pat scene and this perfectly fit the bill! It made me want to run away from home and travel around Europe. Like Gatsby, this novel also explores the emptiness of life. It has some interesting characters. I like how Hemingway weaves in his own experiences into his novels. They make for a rich reading experience.
9. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck--This novel hold a special place for me. Steinbeck does a great job of setting the scene in Oklahoma and I think it helps explain why Oklahoma is the way it is--it never recovered from the Depression. That said, the Joads' journey west to California is heartbreakingly entertaining. It's hard to believe that this stuff actually happened, but it definitely did. This one talks about the resilience of people and says a lot about the strength of women within the family.
10. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain--I'm honestly kind of surprised that I included this novel. I had a horrible experience in a single-author course as a junior in college and haven't been able to pick up any Twain since. But this novel is a perfect satire! It points out the hypocrisies in human nature. Much like To Kill a Mockingbird, it's choice in narrator truly makes the book. As an outsider living within society, Huck cuts through the bullshit like Scout. It's a truly American story. And I think I can finally read it again.
Those are my favorites. What are yours?