Monday, April 19, 2004

How to Kill a Mockingbird

You know that bit where Atticus tells Scout that it's a sin to kill a mockingbird because they're harmless and innocent and simply sing all day long?

I bet if a mockingbird decided to run through it's entire repetoire beneath his window at three in the morning, Atticus would grab his rifle, shove his glasses up on his forehead and start plugging away. Unfortunately I don't own any firearms so I consoled myself for the lack of sleep by imagining all the different ways you can kill a mockingbird with a book. I got quite creative. For example: Beat it to death with the OED. Read from Joseph Conrad's Chance until it dies of boredom. Start a forest fire with a book you love to hate. If you want to get really academic and elaborate, you could bury it under a pile of Sumerian cuneiform clay tablets, or whack it with a papyrus roll. I don't usually indulge my bloodthirsty side but god was it cathartic.

This has been making the rounds of the bookish blogs, trying to see who's More Literate Than Thou. I've read the ones in bold, the ones I want to read are in italics.

Beowulf (I love Seamus Heaney's translation! "That was one good king".)
Achebe, Chinua - Things Fall Apart
Agee, James - A Death in the Family
Austen, Jane - Pride and Prejudice (Surprise)
Baldwin, James - Go Tell It on the Mountain
Beckett, Samuel - Waiting for Godot
Bellow, Saul - The Adventures of Augie March
Brontë, Charlotte - Jane Eyre
Brontë, Emily - Wuthering Heights (I hated it the first time, but it's starting to grow on me.)
Camus, Albert - The Stranger
Cather, Willa - Death Comes for the Archbishop (Who knew the life of a 19th century priest in the Southwest could be so interesting?)
Chaucer, Geoffrey - The Canterbury Tales (I'd like to learn Old or Middle or whatever version of English it is just to read it in the original.)
Chekhov, Anton - The Cherry Orchard
Chopin, Kate - The Awakening
Conrad, Joseph - Heart of Darkness (The horror! The horror! Sorry. Couldn't resist. It really is horrible. God I hate Conrad.)
Cooper, James Fenimore - The Last of the Mohicans. (Piece. O. Shit. Movie was a million times better than the book, and how often do you get a chance to say that?)
Crane, Stephen - The Red Badge of Courage
Dante - Inferno
de Cervantes, Miguel - Don Quixote
Defoe, Daniel - Robinson Crusoe
Dickens, Charles - A Tale of Two Cities (Two words: Sydney Carton. Only decent thing about it.)
Dostoyevsky, Fyodor - Crime and Punishment
Douglass, Frederick - Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Dreiser, Theodore - An American Tragedy
Dumas, Alexandre - The Three Musketeers
Eliot, George - The Mill on the Floss (Hello? Middlemarch?)
Ellison, Ralph - Invisible Man
Emerson, Ralph Waldo - Selected Essays
Faulkner, William - As I Lay Dying
Faulkner, William - The Sound and the Fury
Fielding, Henry - Tom Jones
Fitzgerald, F. Scott - The Great Gatsby
Flaubert, Gustave - Madame Bovary
Ford, Ford Madox - The Good Soldier
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von - Faust
Golding, William - Lord of the Flies
Hardy, Thomas - Tess of the d'Urbervilles (I love Thomas Hardy in spite of himself. I read this book, and what's more, I liked it. I must be a literary masochist or something.)
Hawthorne, Nathaniel - The Scarlet Letter (There's several hours of my life I'll never get back)
Heller, Joseph - Catch-22 ("Tell them I'll be back when winter comes." For some reason that line always sticks in my head.)
Hemingway, Ernest - A Farewell to Arms
Homer - The Iliad
Homer - The Odyssey
Hugo, Victor - The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Hurston, Zora Neale - Their Eyes Were Watching God
Huxley, Aldous - Brave New World
Ibsen, Henrik - A Doll's House
James, Henry - The Portrait of a Lady (I adore POL)
James, Henry - The Turn of the Screw
Joyce, James - A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Er, Ulysses anyone?)
Kafka, Franz - The Metamorphosis
Kingston, Maxine Hong - The Woman Warrior
Lee, Harper - To Kill a Mockingbird (Oh god.)
Lewis, Sinclair - Babbitt
London, Jack - The Call of the Wild
Mann, Thomas - The Magic Mountain
Marquez, Gabriel García - One Hundred Years of Solitude
Melville, Herman - Bartleby the Scrivener (that was a wierd little story. But I love the word "scrivener")
Melville, Herman - Moby Dick
Miller, Arthur - The Crucible
Morrison, Toni - Beloved
O'Connor, Flannery - A Good Man is Hard to Find
O'Neill, Eugene - Long Day's Journey into Night
Orwell, George - Animal Farm
Pasternak, Boris - Doctor Zhivago
Plath, Sylvia - The Bell Jar
Poe, Edgar Allan - Selected Tales
Proust, Marcel - Swann's Way
Pynchon, Thomas - The Crying of Lot 49
Remarque, Erich Maria - All Quiet on the Western Front
Rostand, Edmond - Cyrano de Bergerac
Roth, Henry - Call It Sleep
Salinger, J.D. - The Catcher in the Rye
Shakespeare, William - Hamlet
Shakespeare, William - Macbeth
Shakespeare, William - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Shakespeare, William - Romeo and Juliet
Shaw, George Bernard - Pygmalion
Shelley, Mary - Frankenstein
Silko, Leslie Marmon - Ceremony (damn. I'm supposed to be reading this for the class I'm slacking off in)
Solzhenitsyn, Alexander - One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
Sophocles - Antigone
Sophocles - Oedipus Rex
Steinbeck, John - The Grapes of Wrath
Stevenson, Robert Louis - Treasure Island
Stowe, Harriet Beecher - Uncle Tom's Cabin
Swift, Jonathan - Gulliver's Travels
Thackeray, William - Vanity Fair
Thoreau, Henry David - Walden (selections)
Tolstoy, Leo - War and Peace
Turgenev, Ivan - Fathers and Sons
Twain, Mark - The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Voltaire - Candide
Vonnegut, Kurt Jr. - George Bergeron (Quoi? Not Slaughterhouse Five?)
Walker, Alice - The Color Purple
Wharton, Edith - The House of Mirth
Welty, Eudora - Collected Stories
Whitman, Walt - Leaves of Grass (well, I'm currently reading it)
Wilde, Oscar - The Picture of Dorian Gray
Williams, Tennessee - The Glass Menagerie
Woolf, Virginia - To the Lighthouse
Wright, Richard - Native Son

It's just as well I don't have any career plans, I'll have plenty of time to finish up this list! Enter that Erasmus quote here, which is all too true in my case. You know the one about spending all your money on books instead of clothes and food.


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