Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Wednesday Chatter #18: Of The Books I Read In School

Wednesday Chatter is a weekly feature at Ruby's Books where we'll be talking about anything and everything related to books and reading. Click here if you want to see what we talked about in the previous weeks

WARNING: Some bad words might be used in the following post. Don't say I didn't warn you!

Today's topic is inspired by a list of discussion post prompts made up by the fabulous Brianna over at Pages Unbound Reviews. One of the prompts involves books you had to read at school that you ended up liking, so I thought it would be fun to talk about that, especially now with ARC August just starting. 

Here's the thing. I was never a huge reader in my teenage years, mostly because I didn't have access to the genres I loved. I had no idea what paranormal romance was, no idea that YA was a thing, and forget about high fantasy. This is before all the hyped-up book-to-movie adaptations was a thing, when the biggest hypes involved only two series: Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. We're talking the early 2000s here people! Don't get me started on the 90s, because that's an even more painful part of my reading history. Basically what I'm saying here is that the only books I knew of were mostly those I had to read at school. Which I 99% hated. But that 1% is made up of real gems, that I have to talk about. So without further ado, here's a list of books I had to read in school and loved:

Robin Hood by Alexandre Dumas

Back in middle school I enrolled in a class about mythology, which to my great sadness and surprise turned out to actually be a world-literature class. But out of all the classics that I had to read for it, this one was my favorite. And because of this book I went on a little Robin Hood binge, because let's be honest, who doesn't love the famous outlaw?

What exactly I loved about it? I couldn't say, probably the fact that for the first time ever the words on the page turned into images in my head and I forgot I was reading and just enjoyed the ride. It was also the biggest book I had to read in the shortest amount of time up until that point.

This book is about a family from the 1930s in Romania and their simple life, the struggles they go through with the debt and the sons trying to get to the big city. The reason why I love this book so much is that the father, Ilie, has always reminded me of one of my grandfathers. From the way he talks to his look, to how he treats his sons and daughters, everything reminded me of him, and I would laugh at times while reading this book and tell myself "Yep, grandad would totally say or do that".

One of the very few plays that I read in school and loved. I loved Shakespeare even before reading this play, but for some reason Romeo and Juliet was one of the easiest Shakespearean plays for me to read. Maybe because I knew the story so well, I don't know. I just loved it. Not as much as Antony and Cleopatra, but I loved it.

What happens to a man's soul when he wants to get rich? What happens to his family, his wife, his kids? That's what this book is about and it is honestly, to this day, one of my favorite stories ever. It's short, it's tragic, and it shows how dehumanizing the need to get rich can be, how you can lose yourself in pursuing something without caring for what's right or wrong. 

I remember also that our literature teacher in high school decided we should watch the movie one day, and all the time I wanted to cry because one of the actors reminded me of my late uncle, he looked so similar. 

If you know anything about Romanian literature, you've probably heard of one of our most famous poets, Mihai Eminescu. While he is famous and his poems are beautiful, he's not my favorite. I was a rebel in school, and since Eminescu is one of the most studied poets in school, I immediately fell in love with the one who's art is completely different than his. In this case, George Bacovia. I'll let my favorite poem by him speak for the whys of my love for him, Lead:

The coffins of lead were lying sound asleep,
And the lead flowers and the funeral clothes -
I stood alone in the vault ... and there was wind ...
And the wreaths of lead creaked.

Upturned my lead beloved lay asleep
On the lead flower ... and I began to call -
I stood alone by the corpse ... and it was cold ...
And the wings of lead drooped.
*Translation available at About Romania. No copyright infringement intended

Last but not least, I have to mention this amazingly funny, brilliant, talented writer. Caragiale has written so many great pieces of literature that, amazingly, when you read them, you realize that they are so modern and that no matter what era you live in, be it now or 100 years in the future, it will still seem modern and fresh and completely in tune with how society looks like at the time when you read it. I can't pick a favorite, because it's just not fair, but if I absolutely have to, A Stormy Night (very loosely translated) is my favorite.

Let's discuss. What are some of your favorite books that you *had* to read in school?
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