金曜日, 7月 16, 2004

Favorite Books in Adolescence

1)  Till We Have Faces 
    C.S. Lewis 
  Kind of a twisted fairy tale, based on the myth of Psyche and Cupid.  I loved this book in high school.  It's very profound.
2)  Crime and Punishment
  Fyodor Dostoevsky 
  Near the beginning of my Russian Literature phase, I loved this book. I was 14. I guess it appealed to the alienated loner in me. I haven't re-read it since.
3) The Odyssey

  I had the verse translation by Robert Fitzgerald.  It's beautiful. I memorized the first few pages because they were so fun to say.  I read it on my own, but later I read Fitzgerald's translation of The Iliad for my World Lit class.
4) The Brothers Karamazov
  Fyodor Dostoevsky 
  Also very profound, with good characters.
5)  The Fountainhead 
   Ayn Rand 
  You must read this. An exciting novel of ideas. 
6)  The Dispossessed  
      Ursula K. LeGuin   
   I read a lot of LeGuin's science fiction and fantasy novels. The Dispossessed is still my fave. It's a utopian science fiction novel with  many interesting ideas and characters I grew to love.  Only one thing bugged me:  Shevek, a scientist on an anarchic planet, learned a foreign language in 6 months by shutting himself up in his room with a dictionary, a grammar book and a couple books written in the language.  He didn't have any real people to talk to, yet he was able to communicate when he went to the new planet. I was struggling with Japanese for years and years--and years--and I knew this was unrealistic. As much as I loved Shevek, I resented him for that easy victory. 
7) Clan of the Cave Bear 
  Jean Auel 
8)  Julie of the Wolves
   Jean Craighead George
  I liked the survival adventure genre at that age - Julie of the Wolves is one of the best.   
9)  Valley of Horses 
      Jean Auel
  I also liked Jean Auel's books because it was fun to see how Ayla survived in the wild - especially in Valley of Horses when she lived alone in a cave for years.  She gathered many interesting plants and tamed and hunted dangerous wild animals. I liked imagining how I would pull that off. 
10) Flowers for Algernon  
    Donald Keyes
11)  The Grapes of Wrath 
       John Steinbeck

12)  Maia 
       Richard Adams 
  I read this 1000 page + epic fantasy novel several times when I was about 13-15. I'm surprised to see on Amazon that it's now out of print. The paperback copy I had in high school was so huge and flimsy it fell apart quickly and I had to re-read it in coverless sections. Although all the explicit sex certainly makes this title memorable, it also had a good story and was compellingly written.   
13)  Romeo and Juliet
       William Shakespeare
14)  A Tale of Two Cities
       Charles Dickens
    We read these two (Romeo and Juliet and Tale of Two Cities) in 9th grade English. I liked them a lot then, but I think I was just impressed by them because it was the first Shakespeare and Dickens I ever read. It was years before I got around to reading A Christmas Carol, Great Expectations, and David Copperfield.  My favorite now is Great Expectations.