Friday, September 14, 2007

Trying to be smarter

In an attempt to jump-start my brain before possibly going back to school next fall, I have decided to read more. I was watching Studio 5 on KSL last week and they had a list of 10 classic books every woman should read. I love to read, and I thought this would be a better way to choose books than randomly picking things up as I chase Aubrey through the library.

I am starting with Mrs Dalloway and hope to read most if not all of them eventually. I have included the list below. I'm not sure about Little Women. People rave about it, but I've never been particularly interested. I think growing up with three sisters and later living with up to 9 other girls at a time in college, I haven't needed more female drama ona grand scale. we'll see when I get there.

One of my all-time favorite books is number 4 on the list- that makes me feel a wee bit smarter than I did an hour ago. Ü

The librarian that presented the list has a blog. The link is at the end of this post.

See if there's something that interests you. Post your book review here, if you'd like.

Criteria: published at least 50 years ago; strong female protagonist; a woman's place or experience in history, family, society, and religion.

1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (1813) British "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single gentleman in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife," is how Austen begins her unforgettable comedic satire of the marriage mart in Regency England. The Bennets have five marriageable daughters but which sister will the wealthy Mr. Bingley and his even wealthier friend Mr. Darcy choose?

2. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (1847) British Jane Eyre becomes a governess at Thornfield Hall where she is irresistibly drawn to her older employer Mr. Rochester, who appears to care for her in return, however, the secrets of his past could destroy them both.

3. Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys (1966) Dominican Written as a prequel to Jane Eyre, Rhys tells the history of Bertha Antoinette Mason and allows the reader to decide whether she was "mad" or misunderstood.

4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (1960) American Miss Maudie explains to Scout that, "Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat up people's gardens, don't nest in corncribs, they don't do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird" (98). In this Pulitzer Prize-winning coming of age story, Scout learns what it means to kill a mockingbird when her father Atticus Finch defends a black man accused of raping a white woman in a small Alabama town during the 1930s.

5. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (1925) British This novel about one day begins with Mrs. Dalloway buying flowers. Throughout the day the reader learns about Clarissa Dalloway's past and present life from her own thoughts to the thoughts of those around her as she prepares for her party that night. Meanwhile, Septimus Harding a "mad" war veteran talks to a tree and makes a decision that affects everyone around him, including Clarissa Dalloway, who he's never met.

6. Middlemarch by George Eliot (1871) British As the title suggests this book is not about one character but a town. Middlemarch has people from all social classes all who ambitions for careers, politics, and love. Dorothea Brooke is a privileged girl who longs to do something great and good so she marries the much older Mr. Casaubon hoping to be of some use to the world, however, she finds herself more confined then before.

7. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (1868) American The story of four very different sisters during the middle of the 19th century. Jo March is rough and wild and wants to be a writer. Meg March is the eldest and resentful of the family's poverty. Beth March is quiet and often overlooked until a kind neighbor gives her a piano to play. Amy March is the youngest and the most spoiled. Together the sisters play, fight, fall in love, and grow up.

8. The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton (1905) American Lily Bart is 29 years old, beautiful, of high social standing, but has no money. She must marry a wealthy man and soon. Can she sacrifice herself to the expectations of society and her own standards of comfort?

9. Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell (1848) British Henry Carlson, the son of a factory owner, flirted with Mary Barton a factory worker. Carlson is found shot. Who killed him? Jem Wilson who has loved Mary all his life? Or John Barton, Mary's father, who is a radical trades unionist fighting against the higher classes? Read the story that Charles Dickens found so compelling that he wrote to Elizabeth Gaskell and asked her to write for his magazine.

10. Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery (1908) Canadian Anne spelled with an ‘E' is, as Mark Twain observed, "the dearest and most lovable child in fiction since the immortal Alice." Brought to Prince Edward Island by mistake, Anne must convince Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert to adopt her. All would be well if Anne could stay out of scrapes, like dyeing her hair green, long enough for Marilla to make up her mind.

For more recommendations check my "Bewitched Librarian" blog:

1 comment:

Nunley Family said...

I like the website because you can keep track of the books you have read, the books you want to read, and the books friends would recommend. You write reviews of the books you read and form a little book community. If you want to do it, look me up.


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