This post is eighth in a series analyzing my own connection with the â€œtop 100 books the UK canâ€™t live withoutâ€ (pdf). In previous posts (Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six and Part Seven), I discussed books 31-100. In this post, I will examine books 21-30.
30. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame.
I’m not sure if I ever read all of this or just part, but I am familiar with it. My husband really enjoyed it as a kid; he’s mentioned that several times. I guess it didn’t make much of an impression on me.
29. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.
I don’t think I read this one until I was in high school or college, and the first impression I had was that this was no children’s book. It was hilarious and absurd in a way a child reading it wouldn’t really get. I liked it very much.
28. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck.
I began reading this one in high school — not as part of an assignment, but on my own. I didn’t finish. I need to finish it some day.
27. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
Believe it or not, I tried to read this one on my own in high school, too. I wanted to be ready for college, and I read or tried to read a bunch of books I had heard were classics. I didn’t get very far into this one, but maybe I’ll come back to it some day.
26. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh.
I actually haven’t read any Waugh, and I have been meaning to do so.
25. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams.
I started reading this one in sixth grade, but I don’t think I was ready for it. I haven’t tried to pick it up again, but I have been meaning to.
24. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.
Haven’t tried it. Too intimidated by the length.
23. Bleak House by Charles Dickens.
I haven’t read it. Sure does sound like a cheery book, doesn’t it?
22. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
I am surprised to see this quintessential novel of the American Dream on a list of favorites by Brits! One of my all-time favorite books. So many pretty passages. You can read some thoughts I wrote about this book nearly six years ago. Nothing’s changed.
21. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.
This was the first “adult” book I read. Up until that point, I’d read only children’s and YA books directed toward my age group. My mom had just re-read Gone with the Wind and her paperback copy was on the coffee table. I picked it up and looked at it, turning to the back to read the synopsis or reviews or whatever they were. I remembered my Girl Scout leader had a big hardback copy of the book, and it really impressed me. I thought it must be important if she had to have a hardback copy. My mom noticed me looking at the book and asked me if I wanted to read it. I was astonished. Me? I could actually read it? It hadn’t occurred to me that I could read a book like that. For some reason, my mom’s simple question made me feel like I could tackle it — I really could. I said I would. It took me two weeks. I read it between classes, at lunch, at every free moment I had. I was irritated when Ms. Snyder told me it was a good book (one of her favorites) and so clean. In fact, she said, the only racy thing in it was when Scarlett’s husband raped her. I was in a foul mood that she had ruined what seemed to me to be a major plot point. I felt a major sense of accomplishment after I finished that book. I was thirteen years old and in seventh grade, same as my own oldest daughter is now. I would ask her if she wants to read it, but after she finished The Witch of Blackbird Pond, she made it perfectly clear that historical fiction was not her thing.
[tags]World Book Day, literature, reading[/tags]