This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is a back to school freebie. There were several ways I thought to do this, but a post about my personal Required Classics Reading fits my blog and current reading habits the best. The 10 books I chose are some of my favorites and I tried to pick a variety of genres and writing styles, from romance, philopsophy, mystery, and dystopian. They’re listed in publication order, from 1813 and 1985.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
I won’t say that this is the most surprising list for my Required Classics Reading, but I like the variety of books here. All of these would be great for a class, especially the mysteries, and could promote some wonderful discussions among students.
Pride and Prejudice was required reading for me in high school (although I didn’t finish it at the time) and is now one of my favorite books. I think that Jane Eyre is a wonderful book on its own, but those 2 as a pair would be nice to use for a compare and contrast lesson. Then there are the 2 mysteries I’ve picked, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and And Then There Were None. Again, great to compare and contrast, but also fun to try to solve the mysteries. I haven’t read The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes yet, but any of the Sherlock books would be fitting.
I chose most of the rest for their different genres. There’s always a dystopian novel in a literature class, from Brave New World to 1984, but I went with The Handmaid’s Tale. The Hulu adaptation has been extremely popular recently and it’s also a dystopian novel that I feel fits best at this time. I wanted to include existentialism even though sometimes they make me question reality, and The Metamorphosis is thought-provoking while also being short. It and The Picture of Dorian Gray are both philosophical books, but the latter is a bit easier to read. I read The Picture of Dorian Gray in school and, while also a short book, the story has stuck with me.
I have 3 books on my list from the 1950s and 1960s because only a couple of classes I took included books from those decades, and Shirley Jackson was never mentioned beyond The Lottery. The Catcher in the Rye has been one of my favorite coming of age novels since I first read it as a teenager, but it was never required reading for me in school like it is for a lot of people. It may be the most controversial book on this list, and a widely hated book, but I always loved it. It’s staying on my list. The Bell Jar is another important coming of age book to me. It’s about mental health, particularly in a fictionalized version of the author herself, and the experiences of having depression in a time when electroshock therapy was a normal form of treatment. It’s a tough read at times, but I’d like to reread it myself. And, last but certainly not least as it is what I usually consider to be my favorite book, is We Have Always Lived in the Castle. It includes several of the genres I’ve mentioned here as its a coming of age, mystery, and gothic novel. Like I mentioned, I never took a class where Shirley Jackson was discussed other than The Lottery. That’s a wonderful dystopian story, but I feel like one of her novels should be celebrated as well.
Would any of these books be on your Required Classics Reading list or in your Classics class? I’d love to know what you think! Thank you for reading my long winded post about my favorite classics. I would be a rambling teacher for sure.