In addition to mental health The Bell Jar touches on issues in feminism. This of course, must lead me to a Margaret Atwood novel. Why not go with my first Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale. I’ve said it many times on this blog, but it bears repeating, I picked up this book my senior year of high school just because there had been a controversy in the paper about banning it from public schools. I was totally hooked on Atwood after that.
Since, The Handmaid’s Tale was my first Atwood novel and also a dystopia, I suppose it’s only fair to travel back to the very first dystopian novel I read. George Orwell’s 1984. I fell in love with both Orwell and dystopias, I suppose I probably first read this sometime in high school.
I can’t think of reading in high school without thinking about my AP English Lit. class my senior year and I can’t think about that class without thinking about Joseph Heller’s Catch-22. If I remember correctly it was assigned as summer reading and it was by far the most unique book I had ever read at that point in my life. I’ve reread it a few times since, once while I was in the military and once again after I had gotten out. It meant radically different things to me during each different period of my life.
I spent much of my military service in Germany and seeing Europe. It turns out that London is my favorite place on Earth. One day, I’ll retire there just like the (Queen) Elizabeths. Forced to choose one, I’ll go with Alison Weir’s biography of The Life of Elizabeth I.
As badass as the (Queen) Elizabeths are, do you know who my superhero is? That’s riiiight! George Washington. I haven’t made it through Chernow’s monster biography (Washington: A Life) yet, but my favorite George bio is Joseph J. Ellis’ masterpiece His Excellency: George Washington. Washington becomes more real and accessible than that kid who couldn’t even lie about chopping down a cherry tree.
I will fangirl all over myself all day over George if you let me, so wouldn’t it be appropriate to end this list with Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl?