A brief reblog with a personal twist!

When asked, (usually to myself) why I majored in English the answer I give is close to “Well I first tried majoring in history but that involved way too much cramming and not enough creativity ( a euphemism for bullshitting), so I switched to English. Besides I was spending a lot of time reading for pleasure so why not convert a hobby into an academic major.

There is a good dose of enduring truth to such a response. I, like many aspiring writers, enjoy being able to use my imagination and playing with facts rather than simply synthesizing them as history majors must do. I also love reading, maybe not as much as I love mint chocolate chip ice cream, going to a U2 concert or watching my team of preference win a big game but books are definitely in my favorite five.

I am also glad I grew up in a day and age where there were fewer outside distractions. In fairness, I am not sure how students today fend off all of the stimulation and from what I have observed as both a teacher and tutor, it’s a juggernaut that is almost impossible for adolescents to defend. Luckily, I have had enough time to read and even teach some great novels during my life, and I owe a large chunk of that gratitude to ending up as an English major. So in keeping with the spirit of this reblog and whatever ranking Time Magazine may have produced, I would like to mention my twelve favorite books, though in no particular order.
I’d also love to hear my fellow book-lovers top lists:

A Separate Peace by John Knowles
Night by Elie Wiesel
The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
– The whole S.E. Hinton series (at least when I read it in middle school)
The Razors Edge by W. Somerset Maugham
Henry V by William Shakespeare
Moby Dick by Herman Melville
This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

And the novel illustrated above – The Invisible Man

In compiling this list, I am well aware that it is subject to change, particularly after I refill my brain with some actual food. I am also aware, with some accompanying guilt, that almost all the authors are DWEM’s (Dead White European Males). But that’s part and parcel of being raised in the 20th century in New England, exposed to the classics, taught the classics and I suppose, obsessed with them too.

I am curious what others would choose and while I wait for your responses, am going to agonize over the novels I left out. And if I make it a priority, I may actually start reading some books from living authors.

101 Books

So, as you may know, Time Magazine chose not to rank the 100 All-Time novels when they created this list, but I thought I’d be a dove and help them out. So I rank each novel after I’m finished with it. I like to call these my totally meaningless and highly subjective rankings.

After every 5-6 books, I take a little time to explain why I ranked each book as I did. It’s my way of staying accountable to you and letting you rain down hate upon me in the comments section, if you so choose.

So, here’s how I ranked books 46 through 51:

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One thought on “A brief reblog with a personal twist!

  1. Mark
    These are all great books and authors . If I were tpo add a DWAM it would be John Steinbeck for “Grapes of Wrath”.
    Shabbat shalom .
    I am off to Lincoln Center for a concert,
    Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

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