This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is a freebie week, so I mined the past topics for something interesting, and grabbed “Top Ten Books I Was ‘Forced’ To Read”. Which I shall interpret as meaning books read for class, rather than books people pressed upon me in a friendly manner…
- The Decameron, Boccaccio. Technically I don’t think I had to read this, but doing so definitely helps to understand the context of stuff like Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales. And it is, in fact, a darn good read; some of the stories get repetitive, but there’s a lot of fascinating stuff going on.
- The Annotated Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien and Douglas A. Anderson. Normally I probably wouldn’t be interested in an annotated edition, but this has some really fascinating stuff.
- Cwmardy, Lewis Jones. Or basically all the Welsh literature I read for class, because it was all pretty eye-opening for me.
- Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. My love affair with this poem didn’t really begin until I read it in the original, at a painstakingly slow speed, with a really intelligent tutor at the helm.
- Njal’s Saga. I just love that you can sum it up as “John Grisham for ancient Iceland”.
- The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Agatha Christie. No, really! It was a class on crime fiction and it was awesome, and while Christie’s writing could get formulaic, reading this one alone was pretty awesome.
- Country Dance, Margiad Evans. Or was it Turf or Stone? Either way, this deserves a special mention alongside Cwmardy because the introduction just hit me in the gut with oh, I recognise this… I forget who it was, but someone wrote about not knowing anything about Welsh literature as they grew up, and thinking there was none, and yeah, I’ve been there.
- The Mabinogion. Else what kind of Welsh person would I be? But I didn’t really ‘get’ it or dig into it until I had to read it and relate it to other texts and dig into research and scholarship.
- Postcolonialism Revisited, Kirsti Bohata. The birth of my understanding of Wales as a colony, and our literature as postcolonial. Not that non-Welsh classmates tended to appreciate this point of view.
- Richard III, William Shakespeare. I honestly did not ‘get’ Shakespeare at first, so never bothered to read the history plays. Which turned out to be my favourites.
English Lit degree: useful for something, at least.