Unpopular opinion: I LOVE analyzing books in English class. Hear me out! English teachers definitely have a propensity to read a little too deeply into a text- arguably putting more thought into analyzing a book’s meaning than the original author, but I think there’s real value in interpreting the message of a book for yourself, even if you go a little overboard with symbolism. And most of the books we read are classics for a reason: they’re good books.
Sure, the pop quizzes and excessive worksheets can get annoying, but having class discussions about literature and exploring the ideas in books is just so fascinating. Sometimes I legitimately watch Crash Course Literature or read Sparknotes about the book we’re doing in class, just for fun… what can I say, I’m kind of a nerd. (But Sparknotes’ Twitter is hilarious!) Recently, I’ve been making an effort to read more classics on my own. Here are some of the titles on my TBR…
- Lord of the Flies by William Golding– I would be reading this in school RIGHT NOW if it weren’t for the coronavirus. And I was looking forward to it too! I loved every single other book we read this year. Ugh.
- Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck– I’ve heard this book is extremely sad. I mean, The Pearl was too, so I’m a little nervous…
- Life of Pi by Martel Yann– I’m very curious as to what even happens in this book.
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte– I found the audiobook for this on YouTube, so I will hopefully be getting around to it soon. So many people love this book, and I really want to try it for myself!
- Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte– Another Bronte! I’ve heard this described as super angsty and therefore “good for teenagers” so… we’ll see…
- A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens– I’ve never read anything by Charles Dickens, unless you count those dumbed-down “Young Readers Editions” they sell at Target that I used to read when I was seven… I remember being very very scared of the illustrations in the Oliver Twist one…
- Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen– next up on my Jane Austen list! So far, I’ve read Pride & Prejudice, Northanger Abbey, and Emma– which I reviewed back in March (review here)
- The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini– Pretty sure I’ll have to read this in senior year English, and I heard it’s also very sad.
- War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy– Haha, someday. All I can think about is that one Charlie Brown movie where he tries to do a book report on “Leo’s Toystore” by “Warren Peace”
- The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne– Upperclassmen have told me this book is terrible, but I tend to like school books and I have a high tolerance for slow pacing so maybe I will enjoy it.
- Brave New World by Aldous Huxley– I was BLOWN AWAY by 1984 so I definitely want to read this too! I love dystopian books.
- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood– another ~dystopia~
- Hamlet by William Shakespeare– right now Macbeth is my favorite Shakespeare play but then again I’ve only read two. I don’t know if I’m going to be reading Hamlet for school soon, but I hope so.
- The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde– The synopsis sounds very… intriguing… and I heard this is a really good classic to start with.
- Little Women by Louisa May Alcott– I don’t know how, but I STILL have yet to finish the actual version of Little Women. I read half of it a few years ago, but never got around to finishing. I remember being horrified when I got to a certain major plot event that had been completely cut out of the young reader’s edition. I was not emotionally prepared.
I am planning to read a lot this summer, so hopefully I can check some more of these classics off my list!