So, I’ve just discovered this wonderful group/project called Top 5 Wednesday on Goodreads. that organizes weekly Top 5 List topics; and as I am terrifyingly lazy with this kind of thing this is an absolute godsend to me.
I know I’m pretty late to the party but I can’t wait to have fun with the weekly topics provided by the group members. Also using topics thought up by other people forces you to think outside the box, which will be quite interesting.
And because I love the topic for the current week so much I’ll be kicking of this new category of my blog on a Friday instead of waiting until next week…. I’m such a rebel…
Top 5 Wednesday
Favourite Required Reading
Salman Rushdie – Midnight’s Children
I had to read while I was studying English Lit at University. It was part of the required reading for a seminar on India and post.colonialism. I’ve never learned so much in a seminar and I’ve never been so surprised by a topic and by a book that started out quite weird to me and got even weirder along the way.
Midnight’s Children is the story of a boy born on the day of India’s Independence and it encompasses his whole family (from his great-grandparents on) and how their lives have been affected by colonialism and the country’s independence.
But since this is Salman Rushdie there is much more to this novel than just history. This was also my first brush with Magical Realism or the first time I was given a word for that genre I already unknowingly loved.
Ovid – Metamorphoses
Also a University read. A seminar on Greek mythology and its impact on German Lit. Very Interesting and lots of fun. To me Greek mythology always reads like a kind of superhero story; all these Gods with their various powers and the adventure and origin stories told about them. The Metamorphoses are a bit hard to get into since they are written in verse but once you get the hang of it the stories about transformations and love are just so entertaining and actually really cool! Also you get to see where lots of modern writers got their ideas and themes from.
Aldous Huxley – Brave New World
This was during the German equivalent to Grammar or High School. The topic in English class was dystopian novels and we got short overviews of the most important ones. But we read Brave New World in its entirety. And I’m still grateful to my teacher because this is still my favourite classic dystopian novel. I just love how the evil of the society depicted sneaks up on you. At first glimpse the system seems to be working pretty perfectly and everyone is quite content with their lot in life and how everything is so neatly organized. But pretty soon you get this weird feeling and it’s all even worse than you thought. Also, Shakespeare references!
Gotthold Ephraim Lessing – Emilia Galotti
A German play; a bourgeois tragedy from the 1770s. Quite the soap opera, in my opinion. With Insta-love and lots of confusion and scheming. And tragic deaths! Also something I had to read for my A-Levels and even years later I’m still in love with the language and the caricature of German nobility at the time.
Friedrich Dürrenmatt – The Physicists
A German comedy in two acts, written in the 1960s. It takes place in some kind of psychiatry or sanatorium and is about three patients who are all physicists and all quite delusional.They think themselves to be Sir Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, and King Salomon respectively. The play deals in an entertaining way with the responsibilities and ethical questions new scientific discoveries can bring upon humanity.
Had to read this for High School, too and even though I possibly did not get every single reference then, it was absolutely funny and totally worth it.
This is my list. I’ve left out all the Jane Austen, Margaret Atwood, and poetry I read doing my Master’s degree since these things were favourites of mine even before they became required reading.