|Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.|
Alright, y'all, the time has come for another Top Ten Tuesday where I can show off a bunch of fancy books I've read! Oh yeah, baby! Prepare to bask in my genius. Or something. Oh, also, you can see the variety of things I read. Anyway, I chose to define 'older' as older than me, so books had to be published in 1987 (my birth year) or before to be included, mostly because the first book I thought of to include happened to be published in 1987.
War for the Oaks - Emma Bull
First Published: 1987
Why? Emma Bull's novel War for the Oaks is one I came across on some list of obscure but amazing fantasy novels, and actually got around to reading, a rarity for me. War for the Oaks was first published the year I was born, but it didn't feel especially dated. I mean, sure, people aren't going to be toting cell phones and so forth, but you know how some things can be old and still feel awesome and some can't? This one can. It's about faeries, which are totally not my favorite paranormal creatures at all. However, it's also about music and, from what I remember, there's some nice romance in it. I really need to reread this, because I loved it and so I can talk it up better. If you like urban fantasy, you really ought to read this, since it's a pioneer of the genre.
Watchmen - Alan Moore
First Published: 1986
Why? Do I really need to argue for why everyone should read Watchmen? I feel like the fact that this is pretty much the only graphic novel to make it on to lists of 'best books ever' should draw attention. Graphic novels generally get siphoned off into their own category, one viewed as lesser by critics. This one, though, could not be ignored, and, on an unrelated note, I hope graphic novels gain more respect in the future. It's still mostly Watchmen and Maus that have garnered immense respect from people that wouldn't ordinarily read a book with pictures.
The Phantom Tollbooth - Norton Juster
First Published: 1961
Why? Okay, this one and Watchmen are probably the biggest stretch. I mean, what are the odds anyone would actually forget either of them. Well, probably low, but I would be so incredibly sad if that happened. I included this one, because I think it would be pretty easy for an author so famous for just the one book to fall through the cracks. Besides, we might not forget it exists, but people might forget to read it and that would be a damn shame.
BAAA - David Macaulay
First Published: 1985
Why? If these books were in order of 'most endangered,' BAAA would come first. I suspect this one might drop out of awareness pretty soon. This seems to have occurred to the Norton Anthology people, which is why, I like to think, it was put in the Norton's Anthology of Children's Literature, despite not being, so far as I know, particularly influential or popular. It would have made more sense to put Macaulay's book The Way Things Work in there, for which I think he's most famous. BAAA isn't perfect because it's marketed to the wrong age group, but otherwise it is one of the best dystopias I've ever read, dark and insightful. You probably won't find this one at your public library. :(
The Talented Mr. Ripley - Patricia Highsmith
First Published: 1955
Why? Again, this one may not seem in too much danger of disappearing from our collective conscious. I mean, come on, there's a freaking movie, right? And it has Matt Damon. We would never forget Matt Damon (or Jude Law). Actually, I think movies can, perhaps, in the long run do more harm than good for some books. When they first come out, the movie tie-in edition attracts new readers, sure, but, after that, people might forget the book exists. Plus, the movie isn't nearly as good as the book, so, those that don't like it, will likely not feel motivated to read the book. Fun fact: did you know that this is actually the first in a series? And that the series has 5 books?
The Witch of Blackbird Pond - Elizabeth George Speare
First Published: 1958
Why? I read this one for school, so it's probably not too endangered, but I had to put it on this list, because it meant so much to me as a child. Oh, heck, who am I kidding? It means a lot to me now. I hate the pilgrims. Like that time period is my least favorite to study, and Colonial Williamsburg was like hell on earth for me. But, somehow, I LOVE this book. I've reread it I don't know how many times. Also, I had NO idea until just now that this book was written in 1958! When I checked it, I though it would be early 90s! Talk about standing the test of time, right?
The Daughter of Time - Josephine Tey
First Published: 1951
Why? I read this book for a college history course, a brilliant one where we read fiction instead of history. Oh, what a marvelous respite that was. Anyway, while mysteries will never be my favorite genre, I was very impressed with Josephine Tey and have been collecting her books as I find them. My collection is still a paltry three books, including this one, the only one I have read thus far. I hope that Tey's not forgotten. It seems like Agatha Christie outshines all of the other classic mystery authors when there's enough love in our bibliophiliac hearts for all of them.
The First Circle - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
First Published: 1968
Why? Before someone points this out, no I didn't mistype the title. It was originally published as The First Circle, but they changed it for this new edition with the pretty cover. I HATE when publishers do this, but this cover is so much better than the others. Anyway, Solzhenitsyn is wonderful. I've read several of his books, and he's just so amazing and cynical and sarcastic and angry. I love it. He will likely be remembered for One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, but I fear his longer works, not forced on students, might be forgotten. His books are, for the most part, very intimidating length-wise, but they're well worth reading. If you have an interest in the gulag system, Solzhenitsyn's your man.
Darkness at Noon - Arthur Koestler
First Published: 1940
Why? Oh, did I mention the gulag system? Here's another book that takes on some of that, as well as the whole Soviet Union communism fail. Obviously, everyone isn't as morbidly fascinated by this subject matter as I am, but if you ARE, then you need to read this. Also, Darkness at Noon is pretty short, as in under 300 pages.
The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
First Published: 1860
Why? I tried to steer away from books published so early that their sheer existence in recently published editions shows their ability to not be forgotten. Still, I had to include this, because it was, by and large, awesome. Wilkie Collins is not a classic author I've heard much about, even though he's worlds better than some others that I've read. Also, and this has no bearing at all on the conversation at hand, but this Barnes & Noble Classics cover ranks among my favorite covers ever. Isn't it gorgeous?
Link me up! Share your TTT if you have one, or just tell me what books you fear could be forgotten.