Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Classics I Read in School


I am so bad at keeping up with these lists...which is sad because they're so fun! Going to strive to do better, and I have a few book reviews backed up too, so hopefully that means a lot of activity here for this little blog soon. Anyway, this week's topic for Top Ten Tuesday over at The Broke and the Bookish is "back to school" and it's a freebie, meaning you can pick how you want to approach your personal list. I have chosen to select the top ten classic works of literature that I read over my schooling years, possibly including college, but not likely. Granted, it's a bit different than if I had been in school; half of these I don't recall if I read them for school or for fun. But being homeschooled makes the lines a bit blurred, and I can't say I'm upset about that! So, here is my list, in no particular order.

1. Pride & Prejudice, by Jane Austen
     Obviously I had to include P&P, because this set off a lifelong obsession with all things Regency.

2. Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte
     I distinctly do remember reading this one for fun when I was seventeen, though I think I did write a short paper on it for my mom because it made such an impact on me.

3. The Hunchback of Notre Dame, by Victor Hugo
     This was my first foray into French literature and it totally blew me away.

4. All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque
     I read this one three times, once in high school, twice in college (one of those for fun). Not as old as the other books on this list, but every inch a classic and a book I tell everyone they should read.

5. Silas Marner, by George Eliot
     Haha, this one I fought with my mom about...it sounded so boring when she wanted me to read it (I think I was in 8th grade?). And the print in our copy made it hard to read, but I struggled through it and found at the end that it really wasn't that bad. I'm thinking of rereading it in the next few years.

6. The Pilgrim's Progress, by John Bunyan
     This is my very first review on my blog! I've read it a few times throughout my life. Always excellent.

7. Ivanhoe, by Sir Walter Scott
     Initially I read this for school, in junior high I think, and got an abridged copy from the library that took me only two hours to read and I was left thinking a lot was missing. Mom suggested I find an unabridged copy, which I did, and that ended up taking me three weeks to read haha. But a seriously amazing story, I love it so much. One of the books that fueled my love of medieval England.

8. The Divine Comedy, by Dante Alighieri
     This I definitely read in college, because I took a class on it. I had read short excerpts in the past, but always only from Inferno, and I was beyond ecstatic that my favorite professor was going to teach on the entire work. It was one of the best classes I ever took (all of his classes were the best, tbh), and I now own three different translations and like to tell everyone they should read the entire thing. [Yeah, you reading this, go read Dante!]

9. The Epic of Gilgamesh, author unknown
     I believe I read this in junior high or my first year of high school, not sure. (The years blur because there's not really such a thing as grade separations when you're homeschooled haha.) It was on my classical literature list and I didn't fight about this one at all, because I adore old, old, old literature. The translation I read was really awesome too, easy for me to read. Wish I could remember which one it was.

10. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, by Lewis Carroll
     I would be remiss if I didn't include this on my list!! The first hundred times I read it were totally for fun, but the culmination of my college career was my senior seminar on Alice, so I spent a lot of time reading and rereading while I worked on that. It's definitely one of my favorite books of all time, despite that it's technically a children's book.


There you have it, my top ten classics read in school!! As I was writing this list, I actually had to pare down and pick and choose, because there were a lot more than ten...classics were always something I loved very much.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Battle Royale


Sometimes, you read a novel that just sticks with you.
Sometimes that novel is one you've wanted to read for ages, but only recently got your hands on a copy because time and forgetfulness are real.
Sometimes said novel is everything you hoped for and more.
Sometimes you can't stop thinking about the characters, even a month later.

...a book changes your life.

Most recently for me, that book was the very violent but absolutely incredible Japanese novel from 1999 called Battle Royale. I kid you not, this was an almost 600 page book with small print that I read in less than 24 hours because I just could not put it down. People call it the original Hunger Games, and also liken it to Lord of the Flies, and I see it. But it's better than the latter, and also hugely better than the former, which I am 99.9% certain is a total ripoff. (There's just too many similarities, guys. Suzanne Collins, at least for the first book, really had to have ripped off Battle Royale. Anyway, I digress.) All that aside, this book was just sooooooooo good. If you don't handle rather graphic descriptions of violence and gore well, I would suggest you stay away, but if you don't have a problem with it, read it. Really. There's so much socio-political stuff, and getting inside the heads of the teenage characters when they are faced with certain death (at the hands of their classmates, no less), is fascinating. Human nature is well explored in this novel, which I find interesting from a Christian standpoint because Japan is so different from most of the Western world in how they view humanity. And yet, the depravity of the human soul is shown so well, as is the fragility. It's so sad and yet so beautiful in its own way, amongst all the killings. I know that sounds so weird, but it's true.


I don't have anything else I feel I can say at this point about Battle Royale. You will just have to read it for yourself to see just how beautiful it really is. Beyond five stars.