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01 August 2006

Literature: The Pen is Mightier than the Sword

Summer's here and the general feeling of light-heartedness pervades the air... so much so that many a child out there is painstakingly choosing from their (sometimes mandatory) summer reading list. Ah, well, youth and the leisure to read, right? To the contrary, what began in youth by choice can be perfected into habit...

"Reading maketh a full man,
Conference a ready man,
Writing an exact man."
(Francis Bacon)

Here's to the classic works of literature that never seem to fade away....

For starters...

  • Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
  • The Everlasting Man, G.K. Chesterton
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
  • Literary Converts, Joseph Pearce
  • Lord Peter: Collection of short stories, Dorothy L. Sayers
  • Jeeves in the Morning, P.G. Wodehouse
  • The Weight of Glory: Essays, C.S. Lewis
  • Till We Have Faces, C.S. Lewis
  • The Lord of the Rings trilogy, J.R.R. Tolkein
  • Daniel Deronda, George Eliot
  • Is Paris Burning?, Larry Collins & Dominique LaPierre
  • A Severe Mercy, Sheldon Vanauken
  • The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis
  • The Last Lion: Winston S. Churchill (3 volumes), William Manchester
  • A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
  • The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Murder in the Cathedral, T.S. Eliot
  • Once and a Future King, T.H. White
  • Emma and Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen (of course!!)
  • Strong Poison; Have His Carcass; Gaudy Night (3 books), Dorothy Sayers
  • Without Roots, Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) and Marcelo Pera
  • .........

  •  Photo © M. Datiles 2005-2010.   Radcliffe Camera which houses the Bodleian Library


Anonymous Guess who!!!! said...

Hey, Michelle!!! LOL, you will NEVER guess who this is....anyway, yours truly is offering the following 'must reads'...(you'll recognize me the second you see what I list, he he)...
THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL (!), Cry the Beloved Country; A Man Called Intrepid; The Spy Who Wore Red; Jane Eyre; The JEEVES OMNIBUS (!!!). Ok, that's all for now. Hope you're not expecting a book review or something.. cuz can't do it right now. :)

9:15 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Debbie said...

These are very good (Brideshead fans beware---same author, not really same style): The Sword of Honor trilogy by Evelyn Waugh.

9:32 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Mom-on-the-run said...

Perhaps you could give some idea of 'age range'? Just wanted to know what I could give my 10 yr olds what to read--some may be over their heads but other titles I'm not sure of (never heard of the STrong poison, etc)... Thanks for the info!!

9:05 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Michelle M said...

Hi NYC Michelle, mom-on-the-run, here's a suggestion for ten yearolds: anything by Katherine Paterson! here's a link on the mercatornet website to an article about this award-winning children's author:

Trust me on this-- my husband teaches Elementary school, and we have 10 kids, our kids enjoy her books immensely.

9:48 PM GMT-5  
Blogger MD said...

Thanks for the name, Michelle M.! Toodles, NYC Michelle

8:50 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Guess who!?* said...

Yo, MD! Wazzup, dearie? Haven't see you in the longest time...my fault maybe. Well, someone passed on your blog to me yesterday--and why was I not informed???? Just kidding. Mea culpa for being delinquent. Anyway, I'll email you later...thought it'd be 'nice' of me to post a comment or 2. Maybe 2.

Well, my one and only suggestion to this list is this. The Psmith stories by the Wodehouse (old 'plum' himself). I know you put the JEEVES thing, but gotta put in a word for Psmith....he's always forgotten.... why does Bertie over-shadow him so? Ok, enough o' that. See you...Thursday? that is, tomorrow?

9:42 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Michelle M said...

Mom-on-the-run: here's something a little lighter, also for ten year-olds: "The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents" by Terry Pratchett

6:54 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Cristina said...

Classics I read as a child and which I loved:

"Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott (as well as the sequels "Good Wives" and "Little Men"
"Island of the Blue Dolphins" by Scott O'Dell
"The Secret Garden" by Frances
Hogdson Burnett
"Robinson Crusoe" by Daniel Defoe
"The Good Earth" (abridged version) by PEarl Buck

Classics I read as a teenager -- and loved -- that are not yet in the above list:
"Don Quixote" by Cervantes (English translation)
"The REd Badge of Courage" by Stephen Crane
"Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Bronte
"The PEarl" by John Steinbeck
"The Old Man and the Sea" by Ernest Hemingway
"Les Miserables" by Victor Hugo
"Uncle Tom's Cabin" by Hariett Beecher STowe
"A Man for All Seasons" by Robert Bolt
"The Diary of Anne Frank" by, well, Anne Frank :)

Classics I've read -- and loved -- as an adult that aren't in the above list yet:
"War and PEace" by Leo Tolstoy
"Oliver Twist" by Charles Dickens
"HArd Times" by Charles Dickens
"The Power and the Glory" by Grahame Greene
"Remains of the Day" by Kazuo Ishigeru
a smattering of Shakespeare plays and the ancient Greek classic plays, as well as the great classics -- the Iliad, the Odyssey, the Aeneid, the Divine Comedy
a smattering of poetry and short stories
"The Chronicles of Narnia" by C.S.Lewis
"Captains Courageous" by Rudyard Kipling

7:54 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous cristina said...

Oh, and I forgot...I also read the following as an adult:

"Sir Gawain and the Green Knight" (translation by J.R.R.Tolkien)

7:55 AM GMT-5  
Blogger MD said...

Thanks for all the suggestions, Cristina! Gosh, it was funny reading through your list...jolly well sounds like mine. Great minds... (?) :)

11:13 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

dear blogger,
I like your list but have one comment to make. I'd like to point out that the Ratzinger book is not 'old' enough to be a classic, in the 'classic' sense of the word... just a comment. I haven't read the book but it seems to me a bit 'early' to post it here.

9:19 AM GMT-5  

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