Wednesday, April 18, 2012
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?