This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is gleaned from the old prompts on the page. Here’s ten books I was forced to read — which I loved! I’ve a vague feeling I’ve done this before, but I can’t find it by searching back, so why not?
- To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. It’s a classic, of course.
- War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy. I even had to read it in a week, thanks to a dare with my dad.
- Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte. I didn’t get far with this when I tried to read this as a kid, but when I finally had to read it for school, I fell in love.
- Troilus and Criseyde, by Geoffrey Chaucer. I didn’t have high hopes for this because I wasn’t a fan of The Canterbury Tales, in general. But I really got into dissecting it, in the end.
- Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Is this cheating? I read a translation, of course, but I had to read it in the Middle English for my BA, and that was revelatory. The playing with language is gorgeous.
- The French Lieutenant’s Woman, by John Fowles. In style and content it’s not at all what you’d expect me to enjoy, but I really did.
- Postcolonialism Revisited, by Kirsti Bohata. I was never much of a fan of actually reading theory, in my lit degrees, preferring to closely analyse the texts. But this was pretty revelatory, discussing Welsh fiction as postcolonial fiction — because in many ways, the Welsh experience was like that of colonialism.
- Richard III, by William Shakespeare. I was never a fan of Shakespeare, but I ended up having to take a class on his history plays for lack of other modules that interested me. And I loved this one.
- Country Dance, by Margiad Evans. Or indeed, all the other Welsh fiction I read for that particular class. I’d never even been fully aware there was Welsh fiction like this out there.
- The Annotated Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien et al. I love The Hobbit, of course, but I’m not really a fan of annotated texts. Still, the annotated version of The Hobbit was fascinating for its insights on Tolkien’s process.
There’s probably dozens of others I should think of — at one point, my mother bought me a whole bunch of classics she said I had to read before I went to university, for example! (She wasn’t wrong in suggesting they were important to know. Should’ve included more Oscar Wilde, though, Mum, and insisted I read more Shakespeare. Now you know!)