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Do your like to read books or e-books? Who is your most favorite author?

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java602's picture

Greek Drama

I have noticed that Greek drama is not really a very popular form of literature among college students. I personally happen to enjoy, but I can understand why so many students feel this way. Sometimes the plot lines can be a bit clichéd or far-fetched. But the reason the plot lines are clichéd is because so many authors took ideas from these plays and incorporated them into their own pieces of writing. The plot lines may seem far-fetched to us, but during the time periods that the plays were written, it was more acceptable because the Greeks believed that the gods did in fact meddle in the lives of humans.

Two of my favorite Greek plays are Antigone by Sophocles, which is not quite your typical Greek drama, and Frogs by Aristophanes, which is a comedy. I think that if someone were to read the two plays above, with an open mind of course, that they might be able to appreciate Greek literature a little bit more. The best way to enjoy Greek literature is without any homework assignments attached, so I suggest familiarizing yourself with some texts on your own time. You may be surprised by how enjoyable Greek drama can really be.

java602's picture

Shakespeare

Every student will have to read Shakespeare at some point in college. Most students are familiar with the works of William Shakespeare by the time they graduate high school. I have read numerous plays and sonnets by Shakespeare, and while Hamlet is pretty popular, my personal favorite is Othello.

The one character that really makes Othello stand out is Iago. The first time that I read Othello, my mind was just blown by the way Iago was able to manipulate all of the other characters to achieve his personal goals. I found it more intriguing to read than some of his other plays that rely more heavily on action. The character development is reminiscent of Hamlet in some ways.

My least favorite play is A Comedy of Errors. The plot line was ridiculous to the point where your willing suspense of disbelief was strained by the end of the second act. It does not demonstrate Shakespeare’s mastery of the English language at all. If you can avoid reading this particular play, do so.

Whether you want it to be or not, Shakespeare will be a part of your college education. I suggest embracing it, because even if you do not like Shakespeare, it will make your life more stressful to resist his works.

java602's picture

Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

One of my favorite authors is Kurt Vonnegut Jr. I really love his sarcastic and satirical style of writing and I can always count on his novels or short stories to coax a smile or a laugh out of me no matter how many times I have read the piece before. The works of Kurt Vonnegut also tend to show up in classrooms a lot, so familiarizing yourself with his works beforehand can prove to be a huge advantage academically.

My favorite novel by Kurt Vonnegut is Breakfast of Champions. However, I do not recommend reading this if you have never read Vonnegut before because Vonnegut utilizes a lot of characters from previous novels and the book is more enjoyable if you have that knowledge.

The first book by Kurt Vonnegut that I ever read was Welcome to the Monkey House, a collection of short stores, during my freshman year of high school. I think that this is a good book to introduce people to Vonnegut because it gives the reader a real taste of his style without being overwhelming. I think that many people would find Kurt Vonnegut enjoyable, especially if they enjoy anything from the genre of science fiction.

java602's picture

The Hours

The Hours by Michael Cunningham is one of the most amazing novels that I have read in the past year. The novel was originally published in 1998 and it won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and after reading it, I can definitely see why. The novel has a mind-blowing surreal quality and I really enjoyed the symbolism because it was obvious enough without being too straightforward. The novel was turned into a movie in 2002, and although is was well done, it was not able to capture the same themes and level of emotion that the novel did.

If anyone has ever read the novel Mrs. Dalloway, by Virginia Woolf and enjoyed it, this book was written for them. The Hours is and obvious tribute to Mrs. Dalloway. One of the characters in the book is even Virginia Woolf herself, during the time period that she engaged in writing Mrs. Dalloway.

I would recommend this book to absolutely anyone looking for a good read. My only suggestion is to read it when you have a fairly large amount of available time because I am certain that once you pick up the novel and start reading it, that you are not going to want to stop until you finish the entire book.

jessi246's picture

Brandon Sanderson

Anybody heard of him? C’mon, you must have. Anybody? No? Well, we’ll just see about that!

            In truth, I wouldn’t be extremely surprised if somebody here has heard of him. When I started following Sanderson’s career, he was a small time author from a little town. Now he’s published several incredible novels, has three more on the way, and is finishing up the Wheel of Time series for Robert Jordan. Holy cow! That’s pretty amazing.

            I fell in love with this author right from the first read, Elantris. His writing is absolutely incredible. It’s not the high and haughty style that gives you a headache just trying to read it, but it’s not completely dumbed down like the Twilight books either. (I apologize in advance to fans.) It’s a challenging read, but not painfully so. His books are lengthy, but not a paragraph is wasted. Sanderson’s descriptive detail, characterization, and epic action scenes are all incredible and make for a fantastic read. I’m trying to be a writer and am teaching myself by reading, Sanderson’s novels are very instructive reads.

            My favorite series of his is Mistborn. The magic system is so brilliant; I still can’t get over it! His plot is unique, and his ideas are captivating. If you love fantasy, magic, and incredible writing, you will love Brandon Sanderson! 

JamieS86's picture

 I always recommend the

 I always recommend the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde. They are incredibly fun and clever mysteries, but they are also extremely witty and include countless characters from classic novels. They are the ideal books for an English lit major.

 I also love graphic novels, so of course Neil Gaiman's Sandman series and Y: The Last Man are at the top of the list. A lot of people dismiss graphic novels as "just comic books," but they are usually people who have never read one and don't know how good they can be.

There's also Jonathan Carroll, Connie Willis, Harlan Ellison, way too many authors to list here.

jessi246's picture

Jamie

Would you say, then, that mystery novels are your genre of choice? I can appreciate a good mystery, but sometimes they feel like they're all the same to me. Is Jasper Fforde worth reading? What are your opinions of this for me, primarily a fantasy reader. Why do you consider them good books for an English lit major? Are they classic? Are they well-written?

I've never heard of a graphic novel! I didn't even know there was such a thing. What are they like? Are they comic books or something different? 

Sorry for all these questions, but you got me curious :)

JamieS86's picture

 Hi Jessi,  I actually don't

 Hi Jessi,

 I actually don't like most mystery books. I'm more of a scifi/fantasy person. The Jasper Fforde books take place in a fantasy world in which people can go inside novels and interact with the characters. So, for example, in the first book the main character has to rescue Jane Eyre, who has been kidnapped from the book. I think they'd be great for an English lit person because there are appearances by a huge number of classic characters (Heathcliff, Captain Nemo, etc). They are a lot of fun and extremely well-written.

 Graphic novels are pretty much just longer comic books. They are usually a self-contained story, unlike comic books which are part of a series.

 Hope these are good recommendations for you!

java602's picture

@Jamie

Have you ever read anything by H.G. Wells?  If you really enjoy science fiction and fantasy, I think you would really like him.  After all, he’s even referred to as "The Father of Science Fiction.”  One of my favorite novels by him is The Time Machine.  If you have not already read it, I highly recommend doing so.  I have a collection of short stories by him that I enjoy reading as well, although, I will say that I tend to prefer his novels.  He really is the best of his genre though, I mean, his writing has even inspired Star Trek. 

jessi246's picture

Jamie

Awesome! Thanks for the recommendations, Jamie. I am a total scifi/fantasy nerd, but these books actually sound really creative and interesting. I will definitely check them out! I'm in need of a good read anyway. I just finished Angels and Demons (loved it!!), and now I'm looking for something else, so these books sound like just the thing! I think that they're the type of story I would really like. 

Graphic novels sound pretty interesting, too. Really different. It would be strange telling a story with just one scene pictures and very minimal dialogue. I think I'd like to take a look at a few of those, too, though the only comics I read are Calvin and Hobbes :)

java602's picture

I read Angels and Demons a

I read Angels and Demons a while ago.  I enjoyed it, but I felt that it was a little repetitive, but I think that that might just be because I read The Da Vinci Code shortly before.  I currently own a copy of The Lost Symbol, but I am waiting a while before reading it to try to avoid the aforementioned situation.  I have also had people recommend graphic novels to me, but my local library has a really poor selection of them, and I do not have the money to buy them.  I have always wanted to read The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

jessi246's picture

Java

That's interesting to hear; I was thinking about reading The Da Vinci Code next. Is it pretty much the same story, reworked? I hate it when authors do that. Which one did he write first? I'm not sure... I think I'll still give the Da Vinci Code a try, though. Would you recommend that, or would you say it's a waste of time? I think that's a good idea to wait a little while before going on to read the next ones; I'll probably end up doing that, too. Maybe read a different book in between. That way, the plot's not so fresh on your mind when you go to the next book.

JamieS86's picture

 @Java  I have read some HG

 @Java

 I have read some HG Wells, but it has been a really long time so I don't remember it that well. I definitely read The Time Machine at some point, although I don't remember ever reading a book of short stories by him. I went through a phase where I was reading a lot of Wells and Jules Verne. Maybe I should pick those up again.

 @Jessi, Hope you like the Jasper Fforde books! I forgot to mention that he also has another series in addition to the Thursday Next ones. Only the first book is in print so far. It is called Shades of Grey and it is very different from his other stuff but still good.

bandella's picture

I LOVE Vonnegut.

My introduction to the wonderful world of Vonnegut was for a project I did a few years ago about World War II soldiers' writings about the war. I of course had to include Slaughterhouse-Five in my long list of books to analyze. Half the time, I couldn't decide whether to crack up laughing or get chills from the writing itself; I've since discovered that that's more or less my reaction to most of Vonnegut's work. 

Also for that project, I read Catch-22 by Joseph Heller for the first time, and it immediately became one of my very favorite novels. Again, just like with Vonnegut, most of the time I was torn between fits of laughter and just staring in awe at the page. Such a wonderful, engaging, funny, and powerful book. It's absurdist literature at its finest, though, so don't go into it (or Slaughterhouse-Five, for that matter) expecting a predictable, cohesive narrative.

jbluefoot23's picture

One of my favorite books is

One of my favorite books is Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath I know a lot of people have had it crammed down their throats and don't like it for that reason, but I am a big fan of Steinbeck.  It is impressive to me that he can take such depressing topics and tell you these sad, hopeless stories, but the prose is so beautiful you want to keep reading.  At leas that's how it hits me.  I feel the same way about Cormack McCarthy's work.  It's dark and depressing, but unsettlingly beautiful at the same time.  I am also a fan of classic authors such as Mark Twain and Ambrose Bierce.

abnormalalien's picture

Re: Shakespeare

No, no I will not read Shakespeare during college. I took AP Lit in high school for a reason. It worked out well, AP lit covered my entire English general education. I really didn't mind Hamlet in high school, but I didn't understand it until the teacher told us what every line meant. Other high school assigned books that I enjoyed: The Kite Runner, Of Mice and Men, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Crucible, Antigone.

TiffanyHayes's picture

Briefly

I was briefly introduced to Shakespeare and his works in one of my humanities, understanding theater. Although it may in some obscure way be beneficial to my studies to learn about his contributions and plays, I found it uninteresting, and tedious to recall information and decipher the meaning of the things he wrote. I am sure someone with a passion for his work would argue this point with me, but I see no concrete way that this knowledge could ever relate to my chosen career path, and therefore find it a total waste of brainpower.

I totally respect tthat he is a famous writer and performer. And I commend those who spend a lifetime entrenched in all things Shakespeare, but I was very glad to answer the last question onn the final that pertained to him and his time period.

bandella's picture

@ Josiah

Yes! Classic nerds, unite! *nerdy fist bump* I always feel like there's something un-American about me because I don't care all that much for Twain's fiction, but I love his other writings and his personality in general. And I'm a huge fan of Ambrose Bierce, too. Have you ever read The Devil's Dictionary? SO much fun. A couple of my favorite entries, which naturally come back-to-back: 

ACADEME, n. An ancient school where morality and philosophy were taught.
ACADEMY, n. [from ACADEME] A modern school where football is taught.

Fun times, fun times.

I love satirists and generally sarcastic writers like Bierce. Among my other favorite classics: Jonathan Swift (he of "An Honest Proposal" fame, i.e., "Hey, English folks, let's fix the issue of Irish poverty by eating Irish babies! Here, have a recipe!"), Lord Byron (Don Juan), Samuel Johnson (author of the first comprehensive English dictionary, and a very entertaining fellow; probably more famous for the biography Boswell wrote about him, though), and that greatest dandy of them all, Oscar Wilde. And, of course, the two top dogs: Shakespeare and Chaucer. I'm more of a Chaucer kind of girl, honestly, but both of them were brilliant and had such a beautiful gift for words -- and for really lewd jokes. Nothing like a little buggery or cougar humor to keep things interesting.

MaiaRose's picture

Books 1

 

Acting in Film, by Michael Caine

As I am making my foray into film acting, I quite randomly came upon this book on Amazon and decided to read it. It turned out to be a fascinating book and a quick read. Although it was full of acting tips, covering diverse topics such as eyelines, stunts, and memorizing lines, it was made enjoyable by Caine’s sense of humor, and his insertion of many stories from his career in film. I truly enjoyed the book, and it is now on my want-to-buy list. Even my mom read it, which was pretty great. :)

MaiaRose's picture

  Naked Liberty, by Carolyn

 

Naked Liberty, by Carolyn Resnick

Carolyn Resnick is a horse trainer who is becoming increasingly famous in the horse world for her innovative training methods in liberty and bridleless training. I was supposed to be her summer apprentice a few years back, but although it did not work out, I still read what I can of her methods. This book is story-like, yet deep enough for me to cover the pages with notes. It provides an interesting background with how Carolyn came to some of the methods she has today, beginning at her early childhood and continuing with stories all the way into her twenties. While there is still plenty of training information (summarized at the end of each chapter), it contains plenty of philosophy and beautiful imagery. The writing is flowing and engaging.

MaiaRose's picture

    Redeeming Love, by

 

 

Redeeming Love, by Francine Rivers

I had heard so much about this book that I finally decided to read it. The story is a type of retelling of the Biblical book of Hosea in the 1800s settling of the West. The book follows the life of a girl, Angel, who is sold into prostitution at a young age, rescued by a godly man, and eventually comes to love him and find Christ. The writing is not difficult and reading the progression of Angel’s life is very interesting – not all books provide such a past, nor such a look at the internal dialogue of each character. While an interesting book, I did feel that it was rather drawn out and not one I would probably read again.

MaiaRose's picture

  The Hero and the Crown, by

 

The Hero and the Crown, by Robin McKinley

Robin McKinley is one of my favorite authors, and in this book, she is writing a prequel to one of my favorite books ever, The Blue Sword. The Hero and the Crown tells the story of a girl born of royal blood who nevertheless does not seem to have the “Gift” other royals do. She seeks purpose by beginning to kill dragons, and in the process, saves the kingdom. I particularly love this book because of the high emphasis it places on bridleless warhorses. :) This book has truly been inspirational for me in her uniquely “psychological” writing style.

MaiaRose's picture

  The Horse and His Boy, by

 

The Horse and His Boy, by C.S. Lewis

Horses again! I love the Chronicles of Narnia, and because of the horses, this may be my favorite book in the series. The story follows a slave in a country near Narnia who teams up with an escaping warhorse who can talk (being Narnian), who then meets up with an escaping princess and her horse. They have many adventures, save Narnia, and eventually make it to Narnia to live. Aslan is not as prevalent in this book as in some of the others, but I love that about it, for it reminds me of God’s subtle presence in our life, yet full orchestration of it.

MaiaRose's picture

  The Queen of Attolia, by

 

The Queen of Attolia, by Megan Turner

This is the sequel to the hilarious book, The Thief. You must read that book, because, well, you just must. It is so funny and also has a really strong twist at the end that will FORCE you to re-read the whole wonderful thing. It is set sometime in ancient Greece and follows the capture of the Thief, his mutilation, and the subsequent war between Attolia and Eddis. Eventually, the Thief, despite no longer as proficient at stealing, is able to steal the one thing that will end the war…

MaiaRose's picture

  Transformed Into Fire by

 

Transformed Into Fire by Judith Hougen

 

Read this book. Read it, read it, read it. If I could recommend any single book to you at all, of all I’ve read in my life, it would be this one. Written by Northwestern College’s own writing professor (and Honors Comp II teacher!), Judith Hougen, this book changed my life. It goes into depth about our identity in Christ and how we often, instead of being the Beloved, associate ourselves with the Performer or the Inadequate one, destroying our ability to live wildly and passionately transformed and on fire for the Lord. That alone was life changing, but then her discussion of practicing the presence of God, living in the moment, and living in community was absolutely incredible. Please read this book—it counters so many of the legalistic, works-based lies that evangelicals believe today, to the crippling detriment of their love relationship with Jesus.

MaiaRose's picture

  It is Not I Who Seeks the

 

It is Not I Who Seeks the Horse, the Horse Seeks Me by Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling

 

This was a tremendously interesting horse book—one of the most fascinating I have read. Hempfling is a staunchly New Age horse trainer with many beliefs that do not line up with Christianity, but at the same time, he has a amazingly clear insight into what I believe is a uniquely Christian way to relate to horses on a more spiritual level. Or, in other words, I have been developing a theory about how animals glorify God and how humans glorify God through working with animals, and Hempfling—despite not being a Christian—has an incredible grasp on that. That was much of what this book was about, which made it a spellbinding read. Even if you’re not into horses, the pictures were very pretty. J

MaiaRose's picture

  Christy by Catherine

 

Christy by Catherine Marshall

 

What a great, classic novel! Many of you have probably seen the old TV show (at least, I used to watch it at my grandma’s house), and this is the book that inspired it. It is a staunchly Christian story of a young woman who goes to a mission school in the Appalachian Mountains to teach—she has adventures, falls in love, struggles with her faith, and comes face to face with squalor and death. Albeit sometimes a little slow, the theology in the book was extremely Biblical, revolutionary, and beautiful—it absolutely resonated with me and caused me to do a lot of thinking and journaling. I look forward to reading Marshall’s other books.

MaiaRose's picture

  The Blue Castle by L.M.

 

The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

 

This is a really fun little book! The woman protagonist is used to living completely under the thumb of her family, utterly passive, until she finds out she has a fatal disease. She then decides to say, do, and live exactly as she pleases, finding many adventures along the way—with a big twist (a few twists, actually) at the end. It’s an easy read and did make me think quite a bit about how bold I am in my life, inspiring me to more boldness and adventure instead of sitting passively by.

MaiaRose's picture

  True and False: Heresy and

 

True and False: Heresy and Common Sense for the Actor by David Mamet

 

I loved this little book and it was a very easy read. If you don’t act, you probably won’t be interested, but if you have any interest in acting and know anything about “the Method,” you may really like this book. I have found Stanislavsky’s method to be extremely limiting and frustrating for me as an actor, and this book helped clarify how simple and fun acting can be again. I am going to buy the book and re-read it whenever I become stuck in my acting!

MaiaRose's picture

  Horses Don’t Lie by Chris

 

Horses Don’t Lie by Chris Irwin

 

Another horse book, imagine that! Chris Irwin is a Canadian horse trainer who is extremely in tune to horses’ body language. He also has an interesting more “spiritual” slant to horse training which I was interested in learning more about, so I started reading it. I did take some notes, but eventually began to skim, as he started talking about a lot of horsemanship techniques I knew already, instead of saying new things about a more soulful horse-human connection. Therefore, apart from a few interesting chapters, I did not find it that helpful to my horsemanship.