Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Rosie de Rosset's recommended American Classic Literature

mes livres

I went to a conservative Christian Bible college for undergrad. It was wonderful and terrible. One of the wonderful things was Dr. Rosalie de Rosset, arguably my favorite professor (except there's also Nancy Kane and Dr. Schmutzer and Dr. Sauer and.... dang it, I can't choose).

De Rosset is a legend, and a hero of mine. She is a brilliant teacher and a lover of literature, beauty, and meaning. Those things combined made her classes dynamic and actually life-changing for bibliophile. She's a great speaker too, with fantastic sarcasm and ability to tell a good story. Her students will never forget her dramatic description of Grace Livingston Hill novels. She's she also grew up on the mission field, something that she never over-emphasized but made me love her all the more.

And... she's a strong woman. Single all her life and yet classy, engaging, and successful. Her reasons for staying single, even when she was in love, are a thing of principal that I deeply respect. She effectively fought for women in leadership in a patriarchal evangelical world and managed to stick around Moody for generations against all odds!  I mean really, in a school that for a while didn't agree with women preaching, de Rosset got away with teaching homiletics for women.

And so, because she's amazing and I love literature, I wanted to do a little series highlighting Dr. de Rosset's recommended book list. In sections. One a week. I'm going to bold the books I've read.

American Classic Literature

Anderson, Sherwood.  Winesburg, Ohio (on small town America)
Angelou, Maya.  I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Bradbury, Ray.  Fahrenheit 451
Buck, Pearl.  The Good Earth
Cather, Willa. 
 My Antonia;  Death Comes to the Archbishop
Cooper, James Fenimore.  The Last of the Mohicans
Crane, Stephen.  The Red Badge of Courage
Dreiser, Theodore.  An American Tragedy; Sister Carrie
Emerson, Ralph Waldo.
Faulkner, William. As I Lay Dying; Absalom; Abslom; The Sound and the Fury
Fitzgerald, F. Scott.  The Great Gatsby
Gaines, Ernest.  A Lesson Before Dying
Hamilton, Jane.  A Map of the World (1990’s)
Hanson, Ron.  Mariette in Ecstasy (1990’s)
Hawthorne, Nathaniel.  The Scarlet Letter; The House of Seven Gables; Short Stories*
Hemingway, Ernest.  The Old Man and the Sea;  A Farewell to Arms; etc.
Herbert, Frank.  Dune
Hurston, Zora Neale.  Their Eyes Were Watching God
Keillor, Garrison.  Lake Woebegone Days 
Kennedy, John O’Toole.  The Neon Bible; Confederacy of Dunces
Kennedy, William.  Ironweed
Kennedy, Susan.  In Another Country
Kesey, Ron.  One Flew  Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Kingsolver, Barbara.  The Poisonwood Bible (1990’s)
Lee, Harper.  To Kill a Mockingbird
Lewis, Sinclair.  Main Street; Babbitt (on small town America)
London, Jack.  The Call of the Wild
Lowery, Lois.  The Giver; Number the Stars (young adult)
Macleish, Archibald.  J.B. (takeoff on Job)
Malamud, Bernard.  The Fixer
Melville, Herman.  Moby Dick*; Billy Budd*
Morrison, Toni.  The Bluest Eye; Song of Solomon
O’Henry.  Short Stories
Poe, Edgar Allen.  Short Stories; Poetry
Potok, Chaim.  The Chosen; The Promise; My Name is Asher Lev;  Davita’s Harp
Rand, Ayn.  Atlas Shrugged; Anthem; The Fountainhead
Reynolds, Sherri.  The Rapture of Canaan (1990’s)
Robinson, Mary Lynn. Housekeeping
Russell, Mary Doria.  The Sparrow;* Children of God (1990’s)
Salinger, J.D.  Franny & Zoey; Catcher in the Rye
Schaefer, Jack.  Shane*
Sinclair, Upton.  The Jungle; The Octopus
Stegner, Wallace.  Crossing to Safety
Steinbeck, John.  The Grapes of Wrath; East of Eden; Of Mice and Men;  The Red Pony
Susskind, Patric.  Pigeon
Tartt, Donna. The Secret History, My Little Friend
Twain, Mark.  Huckleberry Finn; Tom Sawyer  
Tyler, Anne.  Dinner at Homesick Restaurant; The Accidental Tourist
Vonnegut, Kurt.  Slaughterhouse 5; etc.
Walker, Alice.  The Color Purple
Wallant, Edward.  Children At the Gate; The Pawnbroker
Wharton, Edith.  Ethan Frome; The House of Mirth; The Age of Innocence
Wilder, Thornton.  Bridge of San Luis Rey; Our Town (drama)
*Indicates the work is written under Christian influence or has Christian overtones

I've got a long way to go, but thanks to this list have read a lot more of the books than I had when I first read the list in college. I'm sure if de Rosset were to update it today it would include Gilead along with Robinson's Housekeeping.I didn't like Wallant's book when I read it, but most of the rest have lived up to my expectations.

What have you read? Is anything missing? Anything you're surprised to see on there?


junglewife said...

Good books! I haven't read all of them (probably about half) but it sounds like a really good list. I'd love for you to read the Poisonwood Bible and hear your thoughts on it!!!

Kacie said...

I have read Poisonwood! Not sure how I missed that in this list. Fixing that now. It was a college favorite. I think she's a brilliant writer, and the rather bleak portrayal of a missionary was sad but occasionally can be true. I need to read it again from an adult perspective... What did you think of it?

Kacie said...

Yes, Gilead. I think Robinson is genius. But slow-paced.

Sarah said...

The first thing that jumps out at me is that you haven't read To Kill A Mockingbird. I don't have one favorite book, but when pressed that's the answer I give. I would love to name a child Atticus, except that I don't like the name as a name (if that makes sense). Maybe a middle name some day?

I've recently finished The Giver and The Accidental Tourist. Both are worth reading. Anne Tyler just released a new novel and I read the beginning excerpt on So good! I need to read more of her. I'm reading my first Hemingway for book club right now (For Whom the Bell Tolls). I read excerpts of The Old Man and the Sea in high school, but I don't really count that. I never could get into The Red Badge of Courage and I had to read it three times in HS (ugh). I LOVED Their Eyes Were Watching God; I should really read that one again.

Good list. I've enjoyed many of these and have even more on my official to read list.

Anna said...

Thanks Kacie. :) I look forward to the first issue.

Anna said...

Doh! I just posted the above comment for the wrong blog entry, sorry about that. Meant to comment on the British lit post. (You probably figured that out already.)