Picture taken from @Pages of Forbidden Love
I guess you all know that I’ve recently started classes on my last semester on my second year at University.
It’s no news that I’m studying British and North-American Literature and, this time, I’ve decided to try my luck with a North-American subject – I prefer the British part of my degree but since I can’t choose only one “language”, I’ve opted for North-American.
This new semester I’ll be studying Romantic British Literature and Contemporary North-American Literature. So, I’ve decided to show you the books I have to read for both subjects and, if you happen to have an opinion about the books, you’re welcome to share it below on the comments.
Though this post title is TBR | March, it doesn’t mean this books will all be read in March. Though I will try to at least read two and start a third but it will all depend on my pace while reading them – and I want to read other things between them.
Let’s beginning with the subject in which I only have to read one book since the rest are a compilation of poems: Romantic British Literature.
Mary Shelley began writing Frankenstein when she was only eighteen. At once a Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of science, Frankenstein tells the story of committed science student Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts but; upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature’s hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator, Frankenstein.
Frankenstein, an instant bestseller and an important ancestor of both the horror and science fiction genres, not only tells a terrifying story, but also raises profound, disturbing questions about the very nature of life and the place of humankind within the cosmos: What does it mean to be human? What responsibilities do we have to each other? How far can we go in tampering with Nature? In our age, filled with news of organ donation genetic engineering, and bio-terrorism, these questions are more relevant than ever.
Not exactly what I was expecting to read for this subject but still a pleasant surprise. I already had this book on my shelf since I bought it last year alongside my Victorian British Literature books and a book about Edgar Allan Poe. Never thought I would read this for the Romantic subject – being honest and embarrassing myself completely, I thought I was going to study something less Gothic and more light. Still, it’s a book I’ve always wanted to read.
Now, let’s move on to the subject I was less enthusiastic about but now can’t wait to go on with it: Contemporary North-American Literature.
The Catcher in the Rye
Anyone who has read J.D. Salinger’s New Yorker stories ? particularly A Perfect Day for Bananafish, Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut, The Laughing Man, and For Esme ? With Love and Squalor, will not be surprised by the fact that his first novel is fully of children. The hero-narrator of THE CATCHER IN THE RYE is an ancient child of sixteen, a native New Yorker named Holden Caulfield. Through circumstances that tend to preclude adult, secondhand description, he leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City for three days. The boy himself is at once too simple and too complex for us to make any final comment about him or his story. Perhaps the safest thing we can say about Holden is that he was born in the world not just strongly attracted to beauty but, almost, hopelessly impaled on it. There are many voices in this novel: children’s voices, adult voices, underground voices-but Holden’s voice is the most eloquent of all. Transcending his own vernacular, yet remaining marvelously faithful to it, he issues a perfectly articulated cry of mixed pain and pleasure. However, like most lovers and clowns and poets of the higher orders, he keeps most of the pain to, and for, himself. The pleasure he gives away, or sets aside, with all his heart. It is there for the reader who can handle it to keep.
This book arrived today and I immediately started reading it since in two weeks we’ll be talking about it in class. I’m only in the beginning but what I’ve read on the underground sounded interesting. And I trust my colleagues and friends’ judgements when it comes to books and they all say this is amazing. I don’t know, I’ve never been a Contemporary sort of person neither an American classic one but I admit being rather curious about this.
On The Road
On the Road chronicles Jack Kerouac’s years traveling the North American continent with his friend Neal Cassady, “a sideburned hero of the snowy West.” As “Sal Paradise” and “Dean Moriarty,” the two roam the country in a quest for self-knowledge and experience. Kerouac’s love of America, his compassion for humanity, and his sense of language as jazz combine to make On the Road an inspirational work of lasting importance.
Kerouac’s classic novel of freedom and longing defined what it meant to be “Beat” and has inspired every generation since its initial publication more than forty years ago.
This cover wasn’t the one I wanted but I found a copy on a bookstore and decided to buy it straight away instead of waiting for it to arrive after buying it online.
Again, a book I was not expecting to read, ever, but now I’m curious. Not only does it have a movie to accompanied it – and if it’s faithful enough I might even watch it – but my teacher already said several things about this book that made me wonder why people love it.
It took Vonnegut more than 20 years to put his Dresden experiences into words. He explained, “there is nothing intelligent to say about a massacre. Everybody is supposed to be dead, to never say anything or want anything ever again.” Slaughterhouse Five is a powerful novel incorporating a number of genres. Only those who have fought in wars can say whether it represents the experience well. However, what the novel does do is invite the reader to look at the absurdity of war. Human versus human, hedonist politicians pressing buttons and ordering millions to their deaths all for ideologies many cannot even comprehend. Flicking between the US, 1940’s Germany and Tralfamadore, Vonnegut’s semi- autobiographical protagonist Billy Pilgrim finds himself very lost. One minute he is being viewed as a specimen in a Tralfamadorian Zoo, the next he is wandering a post-apocalyptic city looking for corpses. Slaughterhouse Five-Or The Children’s Crusade A Duty-Dance with Death is a remarkable blend of black humour, irony, the truth and the absurd. The author regards his work a “failure”, millions of readers do not. Released the same time bombs were falling on South East Asia, this title caused controversy and awakening. Essential reading for all. So it goes.
I’ve always heard the name Vonnegut and people saying amazing things about his work. But I’ve never been truly interesting in finding out who he was and what he wrote since he was labelled Contemporary. But when my teacher said his name and I had to face myself into buying this book, I became aware that I was being an idiot for not wanting to know more about this author. I mean, I’m studying Literature and I don’t want to read the greatest names in Literature history?! What the heck is wrong with me?!
So, I’ve just ordered this book and from the plot, it sounds pretty good – more interesting than what I initially thought it would sound.