I love reading, but I am terrible about getting off my bum and reading important, weighty books. You know, hard books. Books that are over a thousand years old. Or books that wrestle with tough questions. Or books that delve into the darkness of the human soul.
If left to my own devices, I’d just read Shakespeare comedies and C.S. Lewis (whose writings, although complex, are quite readable) all the time. That’s why I appreciate literature classes: they push me into books that I’d never read otherwise.
So without further ado, here are the books I’ll be pushed into this year.
1. The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis
I’ve already read this twice and, oh man, it is life-changing. After I put it down I felt like someone had wrenched my eyes open. If you like having your mind blown and all your assumptions questioned, this is the book for you.
2. The Iliad by Homer
I read and disliked the Odyssey in seventh grade, so I was initially skeptical about the Iliad. But I’ve decided to give it a chance, because a 13-year-old can’t be a good judge of ancient epic poetry. Also, the Iliad has survived for over two thousand years, if that says anything about its quality. I’m going in with an open mind, but also with some apprehension about whether I’ll be able to keep up with the reading.
3. The Aeneid by Virgil
I took Latin for six years, so I’ve had just about enough of the Aeneid. I’ve had to read countless plot summaries, memorize the opening lines in Latin, and translate page after page of Aeneas and Dido drama. But since I’m reading the Aeneid in English this time, I’m sure it won’t be that bad. Also, Virgil was Dante’s guide through hell, so he has to be pretty cool.
4. The Oresteia by Aeschuylus
All I know about the Oresteia is that it’s the most complete Greek tragedy that survives today. I have no idea what to expect content-wise (although I remember that Agamemnon was somehow involved in the Trojan War). So I’m excited to dive in and experience the Oresteia for the first time!
5. The Confessions by Saint Augustine
I need to read more theology, and my dad loves this book, so I can’t wait to read The Confessions. I’m a bit nervous that I won’t understand it, but I suppose that’s why I’m taking the class, so I’m not too concerned.
6. Purgatory by Dante
I read Inferno a few years ago and I loved it, so I’m definitely looking forward to this one! Also, after reading The Great Divorce, I’m interested in the theology that justifies belief in Purgatory. I know that the Divine Comedy is not supposed to be a treatise on doctrine, but I am hoping to get a better understanding of sin, sanctification, and justice by reading Purgatory.
7. Hamlet by William Shakespeare
I am a huge fan of the Bard. Yet, for some reason, I haven’t read Hamlet. Of course I know the plot and everything, and I’ve seen parts of it, but I have yet to actually sit down and read Hamlet. I need to read more tragedies–the only ones I’ve read are Romeo and Juliet, which hardly counts, and Macbeth. Hamlet seems like a good next step.
Have you read any of these books? What did you think about them? If you’re in a literature class this year, what books will you be reading? Let me know in comments!
Two items of note:
–I will be on hiatus for the month of September. Hopefully, I’ll have figured out an update schedule by then. Thanks for being patient, and I hope to still have a little time to read your posts!
-After much thought, I’ve decided that Remnants of Wit will be an award-free blog. I appreciate everyone who’s nominated me for an award, but I don’t have much time for writing, and I’d prefer to spend it on posts about books, poetry, art, and theology. I’m still interested in tags, though, if they’re connected to those topics!
Thanks, everyone, and see you in October.
Featured image Dmitrij Paskevic
All book covers from Amazon Books.