Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week you compile a list of ten books which coincide with that week’s theme. You can find everything you need to know about joining in here!
This week’s theme is a back to school/learning freebie, so I decided to go with books that I’d want to discuss with students if I were an English teacher!
Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë: I got to read Jane Eyre and bits of Wuthering Heights while I was at school, but we never read any of Anne’s work and she’s my favourite Brontë. I love her honest depiction of being a governess in Agnes Grey, as well as the way she explores animal rights and how friendship between women can cross class boundaries because, whether highborn or low, women are still second class citizens in the Victorian era.
Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley: A novel that explores homosexuality, racism and who deserves an education all at once, I think this would be a great book to discuss with students close to Sarah and Linda’s age.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: This one is a classic for a reason and it’s also wonderfully written. I didn’t study this one in school – for American Literature we read Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, which I also enjoyed – but I understand why so many students do, it’s such a brilliant introduction to getting students to think about racism.
Carmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu: When we think of classic vampire novels we often think of Dracula, but 25 years before the Count washed up on the shores of Whitby this little novella was published. Not only is its status as an inspirational precursor to Dracula clear upon reading it, but it’s also a fantastically eerie homoerotic story, and considering how many classics students are expected to read I think it’s only fair to give them some shorter ones, too.
Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman: This is the first book that ever made me sob and it still holds a very special place in my heart. This is also the first book that made me really think about racism and I think it’s another one that could make for some brilliant discussions.
Lysistrata by Aristophanes: I have very little experience with Ancient Greek literature so if I was a teacher I’d need to brush up on this play myself, but I was introduced to it in one of my Drama lessons at school and I thought the idea of women planning to bring an end to the Peloponnesian War by depriving their husbands of sex was such a funny one. I think this would be a really fun introduction to Ancient Greece rather than something more serious like The Iliad.
The Good Immigrant ed. by Nikesh Shukla: This is such a current and important read, and while I consider myself someone who tries really hard to be aware of racism and xenophobia so I can speak out against it, these essays made me realise how much I wasn’t aware that some immigrants or children of immigrants go through.
We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: This is the perfect introduction to feminism, and is therefore the perfect book to read with students.
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins: From a purely selfish standpoint this is one of my favourite classics and I loved studying it at university, but it’s also considered to be the very first detective novel so I think it’d be a great book to teach at school.
Macbeth by William Shakespeare: Shakespeare is pretty much compulsory in schools in the UK and I remember a lot of people at school dreading having to study his work – I was one of the nerds who was looking forward to it because, luckily, my dad had a copy of The Complete Works of Shakespeare that I often flicked through when I was growing up – and if I was a teacher I’d love to take on the challenge of making Shakespeare fun and accessible. Macbeth is my favourite Shakespeare play and was the first one I had to study in secondary school, and I remember my teacher at the time gave us a brilliant discussion point when he asked us whether Macbeth or Lady Macbeth was the real villain. I’d love to have that discussion with some students of my own.
What did you talk about this week?