50 Books to Read Before You Die

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Tag: To Kill A Mockingbird

Off-Topic: Favorite Movie Adaptations (From the List)

Welcome back class.

Movies have always connected with me. My interest in writing comes from falling in love with the stories in movies—and one of the greatest things a movie can do is bring a novel to life. It’s never perfect and often falls short—it takes severe dedication, risk, and miracle work, and even then the stars need to align correctly. When it does work, though, the result is imagination made into reality.

From many books on the list of 50 Books to Read Before You Die, several filmmakers, writers, actors, composers, designers, and artists have taken a powerful story, done the heavy lifting, and made a faithful adaptation—the authors’ and readers’ dream-come-true. Some are good, some are great, and some are above and beyond my favorites.

So here they are, my favorite movie adaptations from the list of 50 Books to Read Before You Die—in order of release date (and click on the links to see what I thought of the original novels!).

Actor Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird (1962)

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

When a classic novel is put to screen, it’s unlikely that it competes with the original—much less becomes a classic itself. To Kill a Mockingbird does just that. The movie has stood the test of time, much like the novel, and is a powerful perspective on race, racism, Southern culture, morality, and childhood.

There are several things that make the movie special, but the cherry on top is always going to be actor Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch. I’ve never seen him in anything else, but this movie alone proves to me he was one of the greatest actors of his time, and his compassionate, reserved, and compelling portrayal of such a wise father and dedicated lawyer stands out as one of the movie’s strongest attributes. He is one of my favorite father figures in both literature and film, and there’s only a handful of characters I can say that about.

Actress Whoopi Goldberg, who portrayed Celie in The Color Purple (1985)

The Color Purple (1985)

This was one of the first movies from Steven Spielberg that proved he could do it all—not just sci-fi adventures or summer blockbusters, but serious dramas that come from places of pain and joy and soul. After movies like E.T. and the Indiana Jones franchise, he helped bring to life the story a black woman separated from her sister, who subsequently discovers her sexuality and challenges the lot life has given her. The movie was beautiful and made me cry as much as the book did.

I grew up seeing Whoopi Goldberg as the comedic counterpart of any movie she was in; but seeing her in The Color Purple as Celie changed my view of her. She portrayed a woman who knew only hardship and grief, who had had her life stripped away from her, and who was able to find love and mercy in the everyday terror of her life. It’s not an easy movie to watch (neither is the book easy to read); but it’s the kind of movie that tells a worthwhile story, and in an age of action-packed blockbusters, The Color Purple is a precious gem.

Kenneth Branagh, director of and lead star in Hamlet (1996)

Hamlet (1996)

There are lots of Hamlet‘s out there. There are at least five Hamlet movies I know of acclaimed enough to be worth mentioning. But Kenneth Branagh’s version is my favorite for many reasons. For one thing, it’s one of the only Hamlet adaptations that put the entire drama to screen—and it paid the price, clocking in at a four-hour running time and milking the original text for all it’s worth.

Hamlet (1996) didn’t limit itself to accuracy though—it also happens to take place in the 19th century, far beyond Shakespeare’s time, and the dynamic setting and garish colors make a point of proving that true Shakespearean genius has never been limited to the words on the page. Most of Kenneth Branagh’s adaptations of Shakespeare have been masterpieces, and this one is arguably the best modern Shakespeare movie there is.

Movie poster for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)

The Harry Potter Series (2001 – 2011)

I’m not picking a favorite Harry Potter movie (nor am I picking a least favorite, and believe me, I have a couple in mind). No, I take this childhood-altering series altogether, magic and warts and all—this movie franchise defined a huge portion of my life, and the ten-year journey I took with the characters in these films (along with the child actors that my generation and I grew up with) is half of the reason these are some of my favorite movies ever.

I have to admit something I don’t like to admit. I read all of the Harry Potter books before seeing the movies . . . all except the first one. For as much as I love reading, I can drag my feet around a new book unless I have a good reason to dive into it—something interesting to look for, or if it’s somehow pertinent to my life. This was the case for the first Harry Potter book, which I ignored until being swept up by the magic of the movie adaptation of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and that started a reading journey that has affected me to this day. Most of what I’ve read in my lifetime stemmed from a love of the Harry Potter series, and all of my love for the Harry Potter series stemmed from my love for that first movie—and I’m overwhelmingly grateful for it.

From left to right: Actors Dominic Monaghan, Elijah Wood, Billy Boyd, and Sean Astin portraying Meriadoc Brandybuck, Frodo Baggins, Peregrin Took, and Samwise Gamgee in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001).

The Lord of the Rings (2001 – 2003)

The Lord of the Rings movies are some of the best movies ever made. Not just the best book-to-film adaptations, not just the best fantasy movies . . . they’re some of the best, period. There are movies where the amazing dedication of filmmakers combines with an alignment of the stars that blesses the work from beginning to end—this is the case for all 9 hours of this fantasy trilogy.

These movies are some of my favorites for several reasons—the most important of which is that I watched them growing up, right alongside Harry Potter. The actors are perfect, notably Andy Serkis, Ian McKellen, Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Sean Astin . . . and the list could go on! The aesthetics and special effects make this trilogy stand out as one of the most beautiful stories ever put to film—these movies proudly delivered Tolkien’s masterful world on a silver screen. It’s worth noting that the music by Howard Shore is some of the best movie music ever composed. The movies do such a good job of telling the original story that they have earned a place in my heart beyond what the book was able to accomplish—there aren’t many movies that can boast the same.

Matthew Macfayden and Keira Knightley in Pride and Prejudice (2005)

Pride and Prejudice (2005)

This one surprised me. I didn’t expect a movie about a woman finding love in Victorian Era England to be so impressive, but it roped me in. The colors, the music, the elaborate nature of each scene . . . the emotional undercurrent of every interaction and the display of intelligence in every creative decision, all of it tied together so succinctly. I could fawn over this movie for days.

The 1990s mini-series is worth mentioning in the same breath, for its stronger sense of accuracy and its dedication to what makes the original novel so special. But there’s something about the 2005 movie that takes the spirit of the story and transforms it into film. Part of it has to do with Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfayden, the two amazing actors that brought Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy to life. There’s always something special happening when Knightley is on screen in any movie, often being her most Victorian self, and Macfayden seemingly came out of nowhere born to play the awkward, reserved, frustrating, deeply passionate Mr. Darcy. Pride and Prejudice was always simultaneously social commentary and a love story for the ages, and this movie manages to bring that much to life and more.

There are other movies out there adapted from the list that I haven’t seen, so this is a tentative line up—but like any good English major, I plan on reading the books first, so those other movies will have to wait.

I’m finishing up Moby-Dick and I’ll share my thoughts soon. More on that next time!

Prof. Jeffrey

A Passage to India

Hello again, class.

I would put E. M. Forster’s A Passage to India in the same boat as Graham Greene’s The Quiet American and V. S. Naipaul’s A Bend in the River—a novel on cultural clash, with one nation invading another and a set of characters caught in the racial, international chaos. But where Greene and Naipaul are too cynical and become trapped by racist misrepresentations, Forster’s treatment of racial and cultural tension is careful and even kind, without being naive to its origins or consequences. For that, I enjoyed A Passage to India and highly recommend it.

A flag map of the British Raj, the British rule over India between 1858-1947. A Passage to India takes place in the 1920’s, during the period of the British Raj.

I had never even heard of A Passage to India before seeing it on the list, so I imagine most don’t know the story. In the fictional town of Chandrapore, the English Mr. Fielding and Indian Dr. Aziz befriend Mrs. Moore, who has come to visit her son Ronny, Chandrapore’s city magistrate. Mrs. Moore has brought her young friend Adela, who is potentially her son’s fiancee. This newly formed group decides to visit the Marabar Caves, and what happens there forces the subtle racial tensions within them to explode, affecting the entirety of Chandrapore.

In A Bend in the River and The Quiet American, the protagonists are limited by their own racism, which is shown as an ingrained trait as natural as our own desires. But the treatment of race in A Passage to India reminds me of To Kill a Mockingbird—it shows racism as a disease. It infects many characters, but not all, and the ones who rise above such racism are punished by the society affected by the disease.

Specifically for A Passage to India, we move between the minds of each character and see their own struggles with race and racism. Characters like Mrs. Moore and Aziz have a poetic and compassionate view of the world, while Mrs. Moore’s own son thinks with bureaucracy and practicality, even with matters concerning marriage. Ronny views the Indian population as a group who needs governance, while Mrs. Moore believes her role in India is to show kindness to others. In each character, the topic of race—of psychology, humanity, and nationality, too—takes a subtly different form, and each character believes in their own version of racial truth.

E. M. Forster, author of A Passage to India. Portrait by Dora Carrington, oil on canvas, 1920.

The story itself can’t have much said about it—it’s well-balanced and careful, to the point that it’s forgettable. The strength in A Passage to India is E. M. Forster’s total understanding of society and of human nature.

I’m willing to bet that most white writers handle race and racism poorly. Forster shouldn’t be any different, but he is (though that opinion is from another white writer, so take that opinion with a grain of salt).  I think, in part, that his careful and compassionate management of race stems from understanding the nature of an outsider, which comes from being a minority himself—though the larger public didn’t know, Forster lived his life as a homosexual man. In England at the time, homosexuality was considered illegal activity, so Forster’s identity was a crime. He could easily imagine the loneliness and stress of being considered criminal by nature, much like the Indians in his novel tend to feel around the English.

Don’t get me wrong: race and sexual orientation compare very little, even in the larger scope of societal treatment. Forster’s hidden minority hardly matches the visibility of racial tension. But the feeling of being an outsider, even in a place one considers home, is something Forster likely knew very well—and it translates to the subtleties of A Passage to India. It feeds into the natural cynicism of the plot, highlighting the inability to rise above prejudice, but Forster handles that cynicism with more grace than most authors do. It made A Passage to India good.

Next up, I’m finishing the His Dark Materials Trilogy, which I’ve been reading for some time now. I won’t say much yet . . . except that I haven’t felt this good about a series since I read Harry Potter. But I’ll save the rest for later!

Until next time,

Prof. Jeffrey

Off-Topic: Favorite Characters From the List (so far)

Good morning class.

Now that I’m over halfway through the 50-books list, I’ve seen quite a set of characters that stand out. So I’ve chosen my favorites of the bunch. Characters that shock me, make me wonder, thrill me to the bone, terrify me, make me weep, show me how to be myself . . . they’re all here, in alphabetical order (by last name, because after all, this is a class).

  • Lyra Belacqua from His Dark Materials Trilogy

I’m almost cheating here—I’ve only finished books one and two of this trilogy, The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife (blog post pending). But those two books have been enough to show me how amazing this 12-year old girl is. She can lie through her teeth without second guessing herself, fooling every adult enemy that crosses her path, and she is fierce, determined, and brave in every dangerous situation she approaches. She isn’t perfect, though, and her sense of morality is far too black and white (at least at first) to help her make difficult choices. But even when she takes things too far, I can’t help but admire her no-holds-barred heroism against more competent enemies and her unending kindness toward her friends.

Actor Milo O’Shea as Leopold Bloom in the movie version of “Ulysses” (1967)

With the way I gush about Ulysses, I’m sure this entry doesn’t surprise any of you. As much as I would have liked to have chosen the rambling and coarse Molly Bloom or the moody and literary Stephen Dedalus, my favorite character from Ulysses is the thoughtful, scientific, compassionate Leopold Bloom. He loves animals, embraces his feminine side, and changes the world by acts of kindness. He is a hero—not an ancient hero of physical strength and battle-readiness, but a modern hero of artistic subtlety and active love. The world would be a lot better with men like this.

Christopher is the most unique character from any novel I’ve read—not because of his autism, but because of the way his autism is portrayed. We don’t look at him from the outside . . . we look at the rest of the world through his eyes. He shows us how life is like prime numbers, and how animals somehow speak a universal language, and how love is a very tricky thing to define. His life can be difficult to watch, especially when his disability puts his safety in jeopardy, but his story is an amazing one that wouldn’t be half as great without him.

Most people who look at The Great Gatsby would be more impressed by Jay Gatsby himself . . . but every time I read this novel I am more and more enamored by Daisy Buchanan. As the love Gatsby is always chasing, and as a close family member of the narrator, she is almost entirely painted in a positive light, and it makes it that much harder to see how terrible she is. She is far too wrapped up in her own rich lifestyle, cares nothing for her daughter, and eventually stoops to murder to punish her husband for his affair, while the murder ultimately gets pinned on Gatsby. But I end up sympathetic to her, for reasons I can’t explain—she is pushed around by the men in her life who care more about their own passions, and she is trapped by the money she married into. I rarely feel so much anger, pain, curiosity, and pity toward a single character.

First Lines and an Illustration

Holden is another character I don’t really like—that is, if I met him in person, I would be near him for long. But reading about him is one of the more incredible experiences I’ve had reading a novel, because he is a force to be reckoned with. One never knows what he’ll say next, or what he’ll think in his twisted mind, forcing himself to be an outsider surrounded by “phonies.” But it’s not simply interesting to read his story—his angst is far too relatable, and his compassion (which he does a good job of hiding from readers) is far too powerful. Holden is a scary mirror to look into, but he’s also a touching and comforting hero on the search for happiness like we all are.

Again, most people would probably say Atticus Finch, Scout’s father, is their favorite character from this novel; there’s nothing wrong with that, because Atticus is perfect. Even a little too perfect. Scout, on the other hand, is a beautiful mess. She loves reading and hates school, gets in fights to defend her father, and always finds interesting ways to get into trouble. I love watching her transform from a free-spirited, sometimes bratty little girl into someone older . . . not quite an adult, but still someone who gains one of the most mature qualities a person can have: empathy. Her childhood is honest and hilarious to witness, making her easily one of my favorite characters from any novel.

Samwise Gamgee, portrayed by actor Sean Astin in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

Among all the serious and somber heroes from this trilogy, Samwise is the goofy friend and sidekick, and it makes him stand out. But if he was only a fool, he would be no different from Merry and Pippin, who are just as goofy; but Samwise is more than that. Samwise is loyal to Frodo and, in his own comic way, wiser than everyone they meet on their journey. As much as what he does makes me laugh, he does just as much that warms my heart and makes me cheer. Every fantasy story I’ve read or watched since The Lord of the Rings has needed a hero like Frodo and a friend like Sam, or it couldn’t even compare, and I think that says a lot about Samwise himself.

Emma Watson as Hermione Granger

Speaking of other fantasy stories, I’ll always have a place in my heart for Harry Potter, and I think Harry himself is an amazing hero to lead the series—on par with Frodo. Harry has Ron in the same way Frodo has Samwise, but more importantly, Harry has Hermione. She is brilliant, supportive, and headstrong in their small group of friends. It wasn’t until I grew up and reread the series that I realized how much Hermione did for her friends, and how important she was to the series—not just for the plot, but for feminism and its reputation in fantasy. I can trace my current feminist beliefs back to my first encounters with Hermione, her toughness, her cleverness, and her emotional arc over seven amazing books.

And last but not least is a unique character from a peculiar story. Pi of Life of Pi is hard to describe—he is a heavily religious 16 year-old boy from India, who has an incredible love for stories. It’s possible that his love of stories is what drives him to create a fiction about being trapped on a lifeboat with a tiger, after his entire family dies on a sinking ship in the Pacific. There is no proof that the story is false, though the much more believable story is that he survived without taming a tiger alone on the open sea, so the adult Pi telling this story asks the audacious question: which is the better story? And it’s those that pick the story with the tiger that are the real believers, the real story-tellers, who live a more fulfilled life. For that, Pi’s story is one of my favorites, and Pi is one of my favorite characters because of it.

And that’s my list! I’m still reading Brave New World, so show up for class next time to hear my thoughts.

Until then, enjoy your week!

Prof. Jeffrey

To Kill a Mockingbird

Good morning, class.

I am officially halfway through the list! And To Kill a Mockingbird is an incredible book to cherish the milestone.

Written by Harper Lee and published in 1960, in the thick of the Civil Rights Movement, To Kill a Mockingbird is a racially-charged courtroom drama taking place in a small Alabama town. Scout Finch tells the story of her childhood in the mid-1930s, as her single father Atticus defends a black man charged with the rape of a young white woman. Through Scout, we see the intricacies of Maycomb, Alabama—its strange population, funny traditions, overbearing weather, and painful secrets.

I can’t count all of the reasons To Kill a Mockingbird made the list of books to read before you die. First of all, Harper Lee’s writing is amazing—it rises and falls like the musical twang of Southern culture. The narrative can fool you into thinking it’s random, but it is beautifully structured. Every word is in keeping with the story, the location, the characters . . . the novel feels divine.

Scout and her older brother Jem experience the town of Maycomb as children, which proves both funny and heartbreaking. Their innocence gives them the full spectrum of emotion when it comes to misunderstanding the world of Maycomb—tradition baffles them, racism makes them weep, and adults are the oddest creatures imaginable. Scout in particular has trouble with the entire idea of becoming a “lady,” preferring her overalls and the simpler company of boys to the overly complicated world of tea-time conversation—to hilarious results.

Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

But they would be ordinary children without Atticus. While Lee’s newest novel Go Set a Watchman might show a darker version of the character, this Atticus Finch is one of the greatest literary heroes ever written. His moral compass and passion for social justice in the South is combined with his understanding for children and his empathy for victims. Scout and Jem would follow Atticus to the ends of the Earth if he’d let them—he spends most of the novel teaching them respect, explaining injustice, comforting their very real fears, and guiding their moral development, despite opposition he faces at every turn.

The plot is mostly driven by the trial of Tom Robinson, the man accused of rape. Atticus takes the case to try and make change in their town, and realistically, he is met with both opposition and support, temporarily upsetting the fragile dynamics of Maycomb. At one point Atticus compares the case to the Civil War—but, as he explains, “‘This time we aren’t fighting the Yankees, we’re fighting our friends.'”

The trial is viewed from Scout’s perspective, but in little ways, Lee helps Scout see the events from the perspective of the black population in Maycomb—for example, as the kids sneak into the trial, they arrive in the segregated black seating area, where most of Atticus’ supporters sit. A similar scene occurs when Scout and Jem are invited to a black church, and for the first time they experience a new culture from across the train tracks. I think it’s safe to say that this novel is written mostly to a white audience, but for a clear reason—Lee writes to those with the power and privilege to make change, who choose to wait for justice to come instead of act. Slowly, through the novel, it feels like every character either fulfills or rejects Lee’s demand for justice.

Author Harper Lee with friend and author Truman Capote

That being said, Tom Robinson’s trial takes up only some of the action—it’s almost a secondary plot. The children spend most of their imagination and conversation on Boo Radley, the mysterious, legendary ghost-like figure that inhabits a house down the street. Scout and Jem also spend their summertime with Dill, a boy based on Harper Lee’s real-life friend, fellow author Truman Capote. During the rest of the year, school-time politics take up their day, including condemnable teachers and bullies with racial slurs all within a complicated and questionable Alabama school system. To Scout and Jem, Maycomb is their entire world.

It all bends towards Lee’s message, which is as simple (and yet, as complex) as the novel in full. Things like racism and hatred are hidden in the confines of the heart . . . possibly in the hearts of all people, everywhere. With enough steam to back them, things like racism and hatred have the power to bust out and destroy lives. To destroy a life—or in the words of the novel, to kill a mockingbird, which does nothing but make music—is a sin. 

And that’s book #25! Next up is Lord of the Flies by William Golding—like To Kill a Mockingbird, it’s one of those books that everyone else read in high school, but somehow I never did. Therefore, I’ve heard only bad things about it, and I’m ready for it to redeem its bad reputation from the scourge of high school students.

Until then, remember: it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.

Prof. Jeffrey

“‘Atticus, he was real nice. . . .’

‘Most people are, Scout, when you finally see them.'”

—from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

“‘The one place where a man ought to get a square deal is in a courtroom, be he any color of the rainbow, but people have a way of carrying their resentments right into a jury box. As you grow older, you’ll see white men cheat black men every day of your life, but let me tell you something and don’t you forget it—whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash.’

Atticus was speaking so quietly his last word crashed on our ears. I looked up, and his face was vehement. ‘There’s nothing more sickening to me that a low-grade white man who’ll take advantage of a Negro’s ignorance. Don’t fool yourselves—it’s all adding up and one of these days we’re going to pay the bill for it. I hope it’s not in you children’s time.'”

—from To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

“‘Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.'”

—from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

“Now that I was compelled to think about it, reading was something that just came to me, as learning to fasten the seat of my union suit without looking around, or achieving two bows from a snarl of shoelaces. I could not remember when the lines above Atticus’s moving finger separated into words, but I had stared at them all the evenings in my memory, listening to the news of the day, Bills to Be Enacted into Laws, the diaries of Lorenzo Dow—anything Atticus happened to be reading when I crawled into his lap every night. Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.”

—from To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Jane Eyre

Good morning, class.

On April 23, 2006, the U.K. and Ireland celebrated World Book Day—a charity event focused on encouraging children to read—by making a list of the top 10 happy endings of all time (link courtesy of The Free Online Library). The top 5 are all on the 50-books list:

5. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

4. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

3. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

2. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

The only one I haven’t read is Rebecca (blog post pending for both Rebecca and To Kill A Mockingbird), but I’m willing to bet something about that happy ending—there are absolutely no promises about a happy beginning or a happy middle. That’s the case with the other four novels, perhaps especially with Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre.

Joan Fontaine and Orson Welles as Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre (1943)

Jane Eyre’s childhood is full of abuse: she is the unloved adopted orphan of her home, attacked, terrorized, defamed, and ultimately cast aside by her family. She falls back on her resolve and determination, which may get her into trouble, but never makes her sacrifice who she is.

As she grows up and leaves school, she finds a job caring for the daughter of a rich man, Mr. Edward Rochester. Jane and Mr. Rochester discover their love for each other—but, of course, there are complications that threaten the future of the relationship. For what it’s worth, as we already know, there’s a happy ending.

Jane Eyre isn’t simply about a romance—its focus on class and gender issues help it stand out, much like Pride and Prejudice a few decades earlier. I might argue that Pride and Prejudice carries wit and wordplay, thanks to Jane Austen’s style, but it’s only an interesting comparison.

Author Charlotte Brontë

However, there is something Jane Eyre has which Pride and Prejudice lacks . . . something I did not at all expect—horror. The mansion where Jane cares for Mr. Rochester’s daughter is, for lack of a better word, haunted. Sudden fires threaten to burn the place down, and eerie laughter can be heard through the halls at random times. The secrets of Mr. Rochester’s past endanger the lives of his staff and his daughter, giving the novel a sense of urgency, foreboding, and distrust—even in the happiest of scenes.

From a feminist standpoint, I think the idea is that there’s a particular horror for women trapped in social conventions designed by men. Jane seems to live her life entirely as a rebel, if only for the sake of remaining good and true to herself. But this is Victorian England—there are consequences when you choose to unreservedly be yourself. The consequences for Jane have something of a supernatural flair, making the novel that much more interesting. (The same Gothic influences appear in Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë, Charlotte’s sister—blog post pending.)

But, Gothic influences aside, what makes this story great is Jane herself. She is an excellent heroine, knowing and understanding who she is and what she deserves. She faces the consequences of her actions, refuses to let her emotions cloud her judgement, and defends her body, spirit, and worth in the face of anyone who hurts her. Even when it costs her everything, she does what any person is supposed to do—she respects herself.

This may make her sound too fierce, or even too heartless to develop relationships with others, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Jane is also compassionate, grateful, and caring to everyone. Her childhood hardships could have hardened her, but instead, they made her more empathetic and kind; not many others could boast the same. Jane is the epitome of a good person in charge of their destiny, which is a rare find.

It’s been a while since I enjoyed something as much as Jane Eyre (besides Ulysses, that is). It is a really good story, and at the end of the day, that is the best thing a novel can offer.

My next book is The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I have read it before, so I already know what I’m getting into—a really good story.

More on that next time!

Prof. Jeffrey