–by Bronto Incognito
For this month’s Top 5 list I really can’t say that these are TOO much in a particular order. So let’s just jump on in…
5. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Read this one in high school, and while I don’t remember everything that happens in it the story has stuck with me since then. (I consider it a classic even though it was only published in 1994.)
The author was criticized for not writing this in his own language, but it wasn’t meant for his people. They know what has happened to them. This was written for us.
The book follows the story of Okonkwo as he falls from grace within his own tribe as well as his (and his people’s) clashes with some overly-aggressive Christian missionaries. It’s a story about the white-washing of African culture, and if I hadn’t read this in high school I don’t think I would have loved The Poisonwood Bible nearly as much as I do.
4. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
In some unnamed war a group of boys are left on an island to fend for themselves. Chaos ensues. People go crazy, dictatorships, divisions, death, pig heads on spikes…Maze Runner ain’t got nothin’ on these boys.
Also, I would like to point out that I wrote an essay all about how the blue flowers on one side of the mountain symbolized peace and order and the other side represented anarchy all because I looked up “blue” in the dictionary and found it was the color of the Conservative Party of England.
I got 100 on that essay.
Even though my English teacher from the previous year, upon learning this as insisting on reading my essay said, “You know this is a bunch of BS right? I mean, it’s quality BS, but it’s still BS.”
Well, sir, yes I do. And those are now my initials, so…BOOM!
3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Is it possible to put a book on here that you haven’t read, but you LOVE all the adaptations of? Well I just did. So there.
Jane Austen knew what she was doing. And while this one is not everyone’s favorite there’s a reason we remake it so many times. Social class, oppression, unrealistic expectations, growth, egos, embarrassing families, obnoxious presuming suitors, deep dark secrets, fake texting!!!
Oh wait, that was Lizzie Bennet Diaries. But still, this story’s got it all! And you cannot witness Mr. Collins in any form and tell me that Jane Austen didn’t know a Latcher when she saw one and didn’t experience more than one in her lifetime.
This one is of course on my TBR list, and maybe I’ll knock it out for the classic reading challenge month. But either way, I still love me some LBD now and forever.
2. Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
So my high school was weird. We were on the trimester schedule for some weird reason and in English 3 I had Mr. G first trimester, nothing second, and then Mrs. H the third even though Mr. G had a class at the same time.
So I asked to switch, but Mr. G said give it a week. I did. Every day I slept in class, woke up in the last 5 minutes, did the homework for that night and turned it in early. We spent 20 minutes on a poem with lines about “it slithers through the grass, its forked tongue darting in and out” and Mrs. H asking, “So what do you think the poem is talking about?”
For reals. So I switched and Mr. G says, “We’re already in the middle of a book.”
Mr. G: Huckleberry Finn
Me: Oh that’s cool. I’ve already read that one.
Mr. G: No, you’re thinking of Tom Sawyer
Me: No, I haven’t read that one. I read Huck Finn.
Mr. G: *looks incredulous*
Me: Huck Finn is the one where he and Jim travel on a raft to get him to safety and there’s the whole craziness with the butter melting under his hat at the end. I read it.
Mr. G: *still confused*…for what???
Me: For fun?…
I was a weird reader kid. Plus YA didn’t exist then. And this story is fantastic. I get why it gets banned in some schools and I can’t imagine being the black kids in class forced to read the N-word over and over in this story. I cannot know what that’s like. BUT–
Imagine being Huck. Terrible home life, one really good friend, and one nice lady in town willing to take you in. You’ve been raised to know that slaves are property and the church where the nice lady makes you go each week drives home the brimstone-laced punishments designed for thieves. And you KNOW beyond knowing that you will being going to hell for what you’re doing and could go to jail for it as well, but gosh darn it Jim’s trying to get to his wife and you like this guy and you just cannot turn your back on him. Even though you’re guilt-ridden and going to burn in eternal hell-fire, you do it anyway. Regardless of everything society has ever taught you. Because to you, Jim is too much of a person to see as just someone’s property.
I love me some Huck and Jim.
1. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Don’t get me started on why I hated reading Jane Eyre. But this one I liked. And don’t get me started on the knuckleheads that think that Catherine and Heathcliff make the perfect star-crossed couple.
Catherine is a spoiled, vindictive brat and Heathcliff is a hateful, vengeful monster.
So yeah, I guess in that way they deserve each other.
There’s only one character worth liking in the first generation of characters, and for a while there are none in the second generation. But to me this is a story about how people given everything can turn their lives into sludge and people trapped in terrible circumstances can choose to rise above them, even if they have to leave everything behind and never look back. Such great lessons.
I love it.
So what did you think of my list? Have you read these? Did you love them, too, or did you hate them? Let us know your favorite classics down below!!
And if you missed it, check out our Top 5 Hated Trope lists from last month!!