TOP TEN TUESDAY: Books written before I was born

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Books written before I was born

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl.

Because this week’s topic is rather vague, I’ve decided to split this list into two.

I’m going to start this list by talking about five books that were written before I was born (April 24th 1996, to be specific!) that I have read and enjoyed. I’m then going to talk about five books that were written before I was born that I still haven’t read (but want to, sooner rather than later!).

So, without further ado… Let’s start talking about five old books that I’ve read and love!

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (published December 1st 1817)

I read a Jane Austen novel a month back in 2016-17, and Northanger Abbey was the only one that I gave five stars. The others were all very high four stars, but there’s something about Jane Austen’s take on the gothic novel that charmed me more than her most popular stories did.

The thing that struck me most during my read of Northanger Abbey was how strong Jane Austen’s voice comes across in the narrative. She’s so sassy and outspoken, not afraid to lace social commentary through her novels at a time when it was still very rare for women to be allowed to write, and it made me wish that she was still alive so that she could be my friend.

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (published January 10th 1892)
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

The Yellow Wallpaper is only a short story, but it’s a remarkably powerful one.

Following a woman who is experiencing postpartum depression, and the husband who refuses to listen to her wishes regarding treatment, this is a semi-autobiographical story that brings awareness to the plight of women in the 19th Century.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman was a brave woman to write a story like this, and it’s well worth a read if you haven’t picked it up before (particularly if you are interested in the origins of feminism!).

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson (published June 26th 1948)
The Lottery by Shirley Jackson

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: The Lottery is one of the best short stories of all time.

This is the only one of Shirley Jackson’s short stories that I’ve read so far, but I was lucky enough to find a copy of The Lottery and Other Stories on the Kindle Daily Deal for 99p last month, so I’ll be reading more of her short stories soon.

The Lottery focuses on a quaint village with a dark secret, and even though the foreshadowing is rather heavy throughout, the payoff is delectable.

The Collector by John Fowles (published 1963)
The Collector by John Fowles

The Collector was the first book I studied at sixth form, and it completely changed the way I thought about classics.

I’d always thought classic novels were dry, dusty tomes that had no relevance in modern life (and I definitely didn’t think that they’d include a guy chloroforming the girl he ‘loves’ and locking her in his basement!).

If you’re interested in stories about obsession, The Collector is definitely the classic for you.

The Dragon Reborn by Robert Jordan (published October 15th 1991)
The Dragon Reborn by Robert Jordan

I could have easily featured any of the first three books in the Wheel of Time series, because I’ve enjoyed every installment of this series so far. However, I have had to go with The Dragon Reborn because it features the least Rand!

If you haven’t started the Wheel of Time series, it follows a bunch of main characters, but the primary protagonist is a man called Rand al’Thor. For some reason, he really annoys me. However, he’s off on his jollies during The Dragon Reborn so the rest of the characters get more time in the spotlight, and it made reading this book so much more enjoyable than my experience with the first two.

And now, onto the books that are older than me which I still need to read!

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens (published 1838)

I haven’t read anything by Charles Dickens – not even Oliver Twist – which is embarrassing when you consider the fact that I played a fruit seller during Who Will Buy? at a school concert.

I’d like to read anything by Charles Dickens, but this was the one that Sean suggest putting on this list because come on, I literally played a character in the musical version of this story and I still haven’t read it! What is wrong with me.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (published December 1847)

If I’m honest, the main reason I haven’t read Wuthering Heights is because I despise the song by Kate Bush which was inspired by this book.

I hate the song so passionately – surely the book can’t be any better?

But I’d still like to read Wuthering Heights eventually, just to see what all the fuss over Heathcliff is about. Also, I didn’t enjoy Jane Eyre, so surely one of the Bronte sisters must be for me!

The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells (published February 2nd 1897)

I really enjoyed both The War of the Worlds and The Country of the Blind and Other Selected Stories by H.G. Wells, so I don’t know why I haven’t read more of his work.

It might be because I wasn’t a huge fan of The Time Machine, which put me off picking up any classic sci-fi for quite a while… But my memories of Wells’ writing is fond enough that he had to feature on this list.

I’d like to read either The Invisible Man or The Island of Doctor Moreau sooner rather than later, but I can’t see me prioritising these at any point in the upcoming months.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (published October 19th 1953)
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t that interested in Fahrenheit 451 until I read this absolutely wild review TRASHING it. Since then I’ve found myself intrigued by it and desperate to know if it’s as bad as that review says it is. That’s proof that bad reviews can still sell books!

That being said, I don’t own a copy of Fahrenheit 451, so it’s another book that I won’t be prioritising at any point in 2021. If I happen to see a copy in a charity shop (when they eventually reopen), or it pops up on the Kindle Daily Deal, I’ll grab it while I can.

The Shining by Stephen King (published January 28th 1977)

Again, Sean picked this book for me, because there are too many Stephen King novels that I want to read.

Pet Sematary, The Waste Lands, The Stand, ‘Salem’s Lot… They’re all older than me, and I’m yet to get to any of them! However, The Shining is another hugely iconic King novel – and an iconic film which I won’t let myself watch until I eventually read the book – so this is the one I should probably prioritise.

I’d eventually like to read all of Stephen King’s novels, but there are just too many. Maybe one day, though.

And that’s it for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday! Let me know down in the comments the best book you’ve read which is older than you, and a book you need to read which is older than you.

See you next week!