TTT: Top Ten Books That Would Be On My Syllabus

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the wonderful, list making gurus, The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they publish a new Top Ten list and invite their fellow book bloggers, bloggers and bookworms to join in.

I’ve done one Top Ten Tuesdays and like to think I didn’t completely botch it so here’s my second attempt!
I tried to put on my mentor/teaching hat. When teaching my students (and I do genuinely have students) I aim to be honest, fun and enthusiastic. So with this post I’ve made a mixture of things that would be just for fun, thought provoking, educational and all 3 put together. Here’s hoping a disaster did not come of it!!

1 – Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Yup I’m going old school!!! This amazing woman and her literary achievements need no introduction. The style of writing is one that is sadly being lost, especially now with increasing texting and shorthand with stuff such as OTT, TBH and (my personal favourite – not) OMG!!! Aside from the fact that the story itself is wonderful, full of characters that reflect a truthful representation of the time, and there are several themes aside from the most obvious romantic one; the choice of words and language is simply beautiful and something I would like more to appreciate. The woman uses no swear words and yet her tongue is sharper than any string of profanities, her wits are fast and cunning, ruled by a cool and pensive mind that thinks before acting something that too many of us have long forgotten by speaking before ensuring the brain and mouth are properly connected! I think a lot could be learned and it is a masterpiece that should not be forgotten.

2 – Harry Potter by J.K.Rowling

I believe this series equally needs no introductions. Who hasn’t heard of Harry Potter, and who wouldn’t happily write an essay on it dissecting any number of characters, themes or just let the imagination run wild!!!
I remember a school friend of mine, with whom I was not in class with sadly, who actually had Harry Potter on her syllabus and I was sooooo jealous!!!!
I would also like to point out that I could rather easily use each Harry Potter book to fill this Top Ten Tuesday post but I won’t. Just saying though :p

3 – Splintered series by A.G.Howard

Ok well it’s no secret that I love this series very much, all you need do is read my previous Top Ten (Tuesdays) Fairytale Retellings. And not just from an amazing plot line point of view. I think this series has a lot of potential from both a literary point of view as well as storyline. I cannot praise A.G.Howard’s genius, style of writing, narration technique enough and the effort that went into planning the words as well as the characters and their thoughts. This series would make a fantastic adventure for any class to dissect any which way they like from any point of view!

4 – The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Yes my English teacher would be very proud of this choice of mine. This is a book that when I first bought it for my own syllabus at school I thought I was going to get bored stiff. And to be fair initially I did. This is a book that I never would have picked up of my own accord off of any shelf, in any bookstore. But my very own amazing English literature teacher made me appreciate it and the narrative depths and themes it reached in the creepy dystopian world not fair away from our own, created by Margaret Atwood. The Handmaid’s Tale holds a special place on my syllabus and bookshelf, not only for the endless theme possibilities and narrative stances any reader can take, but because of what it represents to me. Being able to turn a book that I would have never picked for myself, into one that I thoroughly enjoyed analyzing and appreciating on a literary level, is a rare gift for most literature teachers, and I would hope that someday I can achieve this.

P.S. I now hold this book in high esteem and care for it a great deal. I highly recommend it for those who want more than just another dystopian novel with a good story, it’s for those of view who wish to read into every colour, every expression, every gesture all the possibilities of what Margaret Atwood was actually meaning and hinting at.

5 – Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

I’m taking another leaf out of my teacher’s classes (in case you hadn’t noticed, I loved reading and dissecting themes, narration styles and passage analysis from the word go lol). I picked this book for the simple reason that I thought the difference between it and it’s screen counterpart would be a good example of the variations between the two, and how little changes can drastically alter the bigger picture and significance to the story. Zombies who can fall in love raises a variety of themes ranging from religious, to social etc but throw in a few varying twists and well you have a whole new set of delivered meanings! I felt Isaac Marion was trying to give us more than just another zombie story. I think perhaps an underlying gentle reminder to enjoy life, and that love is what fills us and separates us from the insensitive cold empty corpses. But that’s just my opinion. Watch and read, and you may come up with a whole new theory of your own. Discuss…

pride and prejudiceharry potter 1splinteredthe handmaids talewarm bodies

6 – Do No Harm: stories of life, death and brain surgery by Henry Marsh

Ok I’ll be honest I haven’t read this book yet but it’s almost at the top of my TBR pile and fast climbing. I figured that aside from adventure, drama, period drama and paranormal I should have some in depth emotional reading going on. And I thought this would do the trick. Written by a brain surgeon and with each chapter a particular case that hit him strongly, made him stop and think, I thought this would be perfect. I’m a total sucker for Grey’s Anatomy so I was totally sold! I thought this would be the perfect read for some emotional searching and philosophical inner turmoil.

7 – Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Eeeeeeer I have a confession to make about this one. I kept thinking about what I would want to be on my syllabus and this book kept popping back into my head no matter how many times I pushed it aside. I studied it myself right at the beginning of secondary school and I’m not entirely sure why but it struck a chord with me. Something about the particular dysfunctionality and polar opposite characters who somehow though manage to survive together and make it work got me hooked. I’ve done several passage analysis on this novel and there’s always something to be found hidden among the language styles, scenes, actions and choice of words. It’s hard to explain but I felt this book deserved a spot on my list. For those of you who have read it hopefully this will make more sense to you :p

8 – Stardust by Neil Gaiman

I thought we were overdue for a not-so-serious choice lol!
I discovered stardust initially as a film and absolutely loved it!!! And when I then found out it was based on a book…. well the love just deepened.
Stardust is an amazing and thrilling story that has something in it for everyone. Some magic, some scary parts, adventure, pirates, fighting and romance. And if that none of that appeals to you, well then the chance to imagine and see Robert DeNiro in a pink tutu should be reason enough!!!
I loved this story in both forms and picked it because I thought every student reader could find something in it to fall in love with and relate to.

9 – The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde

Well I figured we were due a little more darkness and horror. I’m trying to be sensible and keep romance, adventure and horror equally balanced here :p
The Picture of Dorian Grey is a very interesting tale and each reader will find his own interpretation of the curse, it’s purpose or lack of and indeed the mystery behind it all. This is a novel that has left authors and readers alike puzzled for a longtime and to be honest there is no right or wrong answer. One of the few lessons I truly learnt in literature is that no opinion or interpretation is incorrect or wrong so long as you can back it up.
So bring it on. What’s your interpretation of Dorian Grey and his creepy (I think we can all agree it is creepy) picture? Thoughts anyone? You there at the back speak up!

10 – Finding Sky by Joss Stirling

I thought I should finish on a high note and on something that I personally identify with, something that represents me. I have fallen for a lot of books and their tales (all of the above included in varying different ways) but this is one of my all time favourites that I simply cannot get away from. This story is basically me in a book essentially. It’s simple, sarcastic, short and sweet and with some magic.
I picked it as my final choice because I think it’s important that whilst you’re learning that you don’t forget who you are and what opinions are your own, ensuring that others do not rub off on you simply because you’ve heard it enough times. I would encourage all readers, students and learners to stick to their guns, thoughts and opinions.
Learning is serious, but it’s also about having fun and staying true to yourself.

do no harmof mice and menstardustpicture of dorian greyfinding sky

And on that note I wanted to add a little bonus. Being the amazingly cool teacher that everyone wants *cough cough modestly cough cough* I would let every pupil pick a book of their own choosing that they feel resonates the most with them, that they relate to or that they just simply enjoy time and time again. They can make this choice provided they can justify their reasoning and attempt to put into words what it is that keeps drawing them back for another read.
And with that….. Classed dismissed!!! :p

Posted by Prudence

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3 Responses

  1. Deb Nance at Readerbuzz says:

    Good for you! Of course, you are right….Students should have choice! (I feel embarrassed that I didn’t think of that…and me, a school librarian!)

    Here’s mine!

  2. Greg says:

    Great list! I like your thoughts on Pride and PRejudice, I’ve never read JA but may one of these days, I’ve enjoyed several of the movie based on her work. Happy Tuesday!

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