Literature

Several years ago I thought, “Here I am, an English major and teacher.  I really should be more well read.”

I began by pulling out a book of Modern Poetry that I had hung onto since my college days.  I was horrified that so many of these modern-day “classics” (post 1900s)  were so painful to read, and the lives of the authors were even more painful to learn about.  I began to wonder, what constituted a classic?  Who decides what is classic literature?  What criteria do they use to measure what is classic and why?

Often as a religious person, I’ve been admonished to “seek out of the best books learning and wisdom” (that’s a paraphrase of D&C 88:118) and so I’ve wondered, what makes literature great, and do I have to accept someone else’s notion of Classic Literature as some of the “Best Books” ?

“It is chiefly through books that we enjoy intercourse with superior minds . . . In the best books, great men talk to us, give us their most precious thoughts, and pour their souls into ours.” William Ellery Channing

Bram Stoker’s Dracula or Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s The Sufferings of Young Werther may be considered Classic Literature, but while I read them,  I never had the desire to treasure up their words  and ideas and live my life differently because of them.

Inspiration is different for everyone, I do understand that, but for me, it is imperative that the literature that I spend time with is uplifting.  I want to read about ideas and experiences that inspire the reader to want to be a better being.  Books, movies, music, etc. that spend all their time wallowing in the wretchedness of the human condition without hope or at least some conclusions or solutions to alleviate that condition seem pointless.

At the very least,  give me something humorous so that I can be entertained – if nothing else!  That way, my time and money won’t be spent throwing me into a depression.  (If I want to know how terrible the world is, I  just turn on the news.)

While there are countless other sites that give the chronologies of the vast thoughts of humankind, this will be a page of  authors and literature that is inspiring or entertaining to me.    Most of the works I have read and thoroughly enjoyed.  A few stand as place holders because I desire to read them one day.

This page will be a work in progress and updated as time and resources permit.  Please feel free to add your thoughts.

Favorite Literature

Shakespeare

  • Henry V
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream
  • Much Ado about Nothing
  • The Taming of the Shrew
  • Twelfth Night

Jane Austen

  • Pride and Prejudice
  • Persuasion
  • Emma

Charles Dickens

  • A Christmas Carol
  • A Tale of Two Cities

Alexandre Dumas

  • The Count of Monte Cristo
  • The Three Musketeers

Charlotte Bronte

Victor Hugo

  • Les Miserables

Jules Verne

  • Around the World in Eighty Days
  • Journey to the Center of the Earth
  • In Search of the Castaways
  • Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea

Mark Twain

  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
  • A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
  • The Prince and the Pauper

Oscar Wilde

  • An Ideal Husband
  • The Importance of Being Earnest

JRR Tolkien

  • The Lord of the Rings

CS Lewis

  • Mere Christianity
  • The Screwtape Letters

Viktor Emil Frankl

  • Man’s Search for Meaning

Gilbert and Sullivan (Operettas)

  • The Pirates of Penzance
  • HMS Pinafore
  • The Mikado

William Wordsworth (Poetry)

Emily Dickinson (Poetry)

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Reverend, Activist, Leader)

Winston Churchill (Statesman)

Favorite Youth/Children’s Literature

Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm (love those fairy tales)

Hans Christian Anderson

Antoine De Saint-Eupery

  • The Little Prince

Louisa May Alcott

  • Little Women

CS Lewis

  • The Chronicles of Narnia

Kenneth Grahame

  • The Wind in the Willows
  • The Reluctant Dragon

AA Milne

  • Winnie the Pooh
  • The House at Pooh Corner
  • When We Were Very Young
  • Now We Are Six

LM Montgomery

  • Anne of Green Gables
  • Anne of Avonlea
  • Courageous Women (non-fiction)

Frances Hodgson Burnett

  • A Little Princess
  • Little Lord Fauntleroy
  • The Secret Garden

Roald Dahl

  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  • James and the Giant Peach
  • Matilda
  • The Witches

Ian Fleming (Yes, of James Bond fame)

  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: The Magical Car

Lois Lowry

  • The Giver

Madeleine L’Engle

  • A Wrinkle in Time
  • A Swiftly Tilting Planet

Gail Carson Levine

  • Ella Enchanted
  • Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly (non-fiction, a book about writing for young authors)

JK Rowling

  • Harry Potter Series

Other Favorites

Frank Herbert

  • Dune

Here is my favorite quote from Dune –

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

Dan Brown

  • The Da Vinci Code
  • The Lost Symbol

I love the way that Dan Brown mixes so much of culture and history in his books.  I always end up doing a lot of research when I finish his novels.  I’m also a fan of the fast paced chapters.

Stephenie Meyer

  • The Twilight Series

I loved the imagination and the morality of the books in this series.

Other things I’d like to Read/Study

Alexis deTocqueville

  • Democracy in America
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4 thoughts on “Literature

  1. Pingback: Charlotte Brontë « Tamarack Idea Factory

  2. I just realized how much I haven’t read! Those are all really good books. I better get started! I agree with you on Dan Brown–great fast paced chapters and I love how much history he puts into his books–I end up researching, too! But, as far as classics go, I need to read more Dickens. I love his books and I’ve only read a few of his in their entirety.

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