Top Ten Tuesday: Everyone Has Read but Me…

Top Ten TuesdayThis week’s Top Ten Tuesday focuses on the top ten books I feel as though everyone has read but me. I went to three different high schools. I can’t remember reading a single book for school during all of tenth grade. In fact, all I remember about that year was doing grammar exercises out of the Warriner’s grammar book and feeling that our teacher hated us. Eleventh and twelfth grade were better, but I still managed to graduate from high school (and college, as an English major no less) without having been required to read a lot of books that seem to be staples in the canon.

  1. [amazon_link id=”0452284236″ target=”_blank” ]Nineteen Eighty-Four[/amazon_link] by George Orwell. I actually do want to read this one, and I had every intention of reading it this year, but I think you have to be in a mood for dystopian literature, and frankly, that mood hasn’t happened this year.
  2. [amazon_link id=”0142000671″ target=”_blank” ]Of Mice and Men[/amazon_link] by John Steinbeck. I’ve seen the movie many times, and it’s not like it’s a long book. It’s just that, well, the mood thing. At least that’s my excuse for not reading it this year. You know, I put together this reading challenge specifically to address some of these deficiencies, and I read all of one book for it.
  3. [amazon_link id=”0143039431″ target=”_blank” ]The Grapes of Wrath[/amazon_link] by John Steinbeck. Ditto.
  4. [amazon_link id=”0307454541″ target=”_blank” ]The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo[/amazon_link] by Stieg Larson. Not sure I want to read it, but man, hasn’t everyone else?
  5. [amazon_link id=”0307594009″ target=”_blank” ]Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl[/amazon_link] by Anne Frank. I somehow never got around to this one. I teach at a Jewish school, but the students tend to read it in middle school now.
  6. [amazon_link id=”B000XSKDH4″ target=”_blank” ]Anne of Green Gables[/amazon_link] by L.M. Montgomery. Would I like this? I was never sure, so I never picked it up. Now it almost feels too late to bother.
  7. [amazon_link id=”1420929089″ target=”_blank” ]Little Women[/amazon_link] by Louisa May Alcott. Even my husband has read this book. I never really wanted to, but it sure seems like everyone else has read it.
  8. [amazon_link id=”0375842209″ target=”_blank” ]The Book Thief[/amazon_link] by Marcus Zusak. I have finally been convinced to put this on my TBR pile, but frankly, I avoid books about the Holocaust mainly because it was such a tragic event—many of my students’ grandparents are Holocaust survivors—and sometimes I feel that books and movies try to capitalize on it. It’s hard to explain how I feel. It’s sort of like writing a college admissions essay that deals with your brother being killed by a drunk driver—the admissions committee looks callous if they pick at your writing ability with a subject so fraught with emotion, but the point behind the essay is to evaluate your writing ability. It’s a form of manipulation. That’s how I feel about Holocaust books and movies—it’s almost impossible to criticize them because you look like a horrible person. Case in point, [amazon_link id=”0198326769″ target=”_blank” ]The Boy in the Striped Pajamas[/amazon_link] probably couldn’t have happened in reality because of the manner in which the Nazis dealt with children during the Holocaust, and yet, how do you point that out without looking like a complete ass? I should just stop because you probably think I’m a horrible person.
  9. [amazon_link id=”1594480001″ target=”_blank” ]The Kite Runner[/amazon_link] by Khaled Hosseini. I started this one, but didn’t get far. My daughter has read it. She said it’s excellent.
  10. [amazon_link id=”1451626657″ target=”_blank” ]Catch-22[/amazon_link] by Joseph Heller. This seems to be some kind of staple of teens/twenties. I don’t know how I passed the threshold into the my thirties without having my book passport stamped with this one, but I snuck by somehow. And now that I’m officially in my 40’s, I’m just not even sure I’d want to bother.

In addition to these books, I haven’t read much Kurt Vonnegut at all (that is, I have read one short story). I’ve also read precious little Dickens ([amazon_link id=”0142196584″ target=”_blank” ]A Tale of Two Cities[/amazon_link], [amazon_link id=”0142196584″ target=”_blank” ]Great Expectations[/amazon_link], and [amazon_link id=”1612930336″ target=”_blank” ]A Christmas Carol[/amazon_link] being the only selections I’ve read).

However! Before the admonitions start in the comments, I would like to add that I have read all of the following books that seem to be cropping up on these lists on other peoples’ blogs today:

  • [amazon_link id=”B003GCTQ7M” target=”_blank” ]Moby Dick[/amazon_link] by Herman Melville
  • [amazon_link id=”B003VYBQPK” target=”_blank” ]The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn[/amazon_link] by Mark Twain
  • [amazon_link id=”0743273567″ target=”_blank” ]The Great Gatsby[/amazon_link] by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • [amazon_link id=”0684801469″ target=”_blank” ]A Farewell to Arms[/amazon_link] by Ernest Hemingway
  • [amazon_link id=”0679723161″ target=”_blank” ]Lolita[/amazon_link] by Vladimir Nabokov
  • [amazon_link id=”0199536368″ target=”_blank” ]Crime and Punishment[/amazon_link] by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • [amazon_link id=”0143105442″ target=”_blank” ]The Scarlet Letter[/amazon_link] by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • All of Jane Austen’s completed books (the six novels)
  • [amazon_link id=”0143106155″ target=”_blank” ]Jane Eyre[/amazon_link] and [amazon_link id=”0143105434″ target=”_blank” ]Wuthering Heights[/amazon_link] by Charlotte and Emily Brontë respectively

So, I am not a complete slouch.

15 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Everyone Has Read but Me…

  1. I was skeptical about The Book Thief, too. But I did find it amazing. Mostly because I enjoyed Death as the narrator and I appreciated getting a German perspective. And an innocent one at that since the protagonist is a child/young girl. It's not everyone's favorite book but I hope you'll give it a try!

    1. I plan to read it. I was just trying explain why I have waited up until now. I read a review that convinced me I needed to give this one a shot.

  2. I think my mouth hit the floor when I saw Anne Frank. That is one of my favorites of all time, and I re-read it last year for Banned Books Week (hint, hint!)

    Personally, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is fine to pass on. It was a novelty, a fad of sorts, and I'm still mad I read all three books.

    Besides that – we have a few unread books in common!

  3. I know. The Anne Frank is shocking, isn't it? I need to get around to reading it one of these days. I had pretty much planned to pass on the Larson because I just had a feeling I wouldn't like the series much. There's nothing worse that a series that you don't like but have to finish.

  4. It is NEVER too late for Anne of Green Gables. This is one book and one series that I adored as a young girl and still turn to as an adult. It's one of those books that just feels like "home", ya know what I mean?

    The Book Thief is definitely worthy of being on the top of your TBR list.

    Here's my Top Ten

  5. I'm glad you've changed your mind about The Book Thief! I feel much the same about Holocaust books, and kind of changed my mind after reading an interview with Zusak where he said that he had written the book based on stories he heard from his grandparents about what it was like living in Germany under the Nazis and doing things like skiving off the Hitler youth. And it is a really, really, really fantastic book.

  6. I hate to tell you this, but I have read all of them. Make time for The Book Thief. It was excellent. And I've been meaning to reread Catch-22. I read it when I was way too young … but who knows if I'm too old now! And I read Anne of Green Gables for the first time last year and was charmed. And YES to Little Women!!

  7. If you don't mind audio books, I recommend Of Mice and Men as read by Gary Sinise. Of course Sinise knows the story well, and it's a quick listen that's easy to follow while driving. I've been working on Catch-22 for ten years! I pick it up, read about 30 pages, then put it down for a year. It's good when I read it, there's just always another book I'd rather read!

  8. I have read a few that are on your list. 'Anne Frank' is shocking though! But, I have tried numerous times to get our teenage girls to read it, and they haven't – they said they didn't need another Holocaust book…but it is so much more than that!

    'Breakfast of Champions' is iconic Kurt Vonnegut…you will never look at asterisks the same way again! As for Steinbeck, I know you are an English major/teacher… but you can keep him!

    Here is my list.

  9. I've loved studying about Louisa May Alcott all my life (now in my mid 50s) and I only just read Little Women seriously last year! I don't think I would have appreciated it earlier in life, but now was the perfect time. Maybe that will be true for you too.

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