Tuesday 26 July 2011

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Books Tackling 'Tough' Issues

1. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (racism)- I know I include this on every list. But really, I'm not sure that there's a better book dealing with racism out there- the narration of a child makes it very clear that racism is a really simple, foolish concept that is completely ridiculous. It also deals with the extremely difficult issue of growing up, but that's another thing entirely...

2. The Color Purple by Alice Walker (rape and incest)- I can't even tell you how uplifting this book (eventually) is- putting out the message that you can overcome almost anything and still be in one piece, and, incredibly, happy at the end.

3. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (sexism)- I know it's all dystopian and stuff, but that shit COULD HAPPEN! And that's really scary. As well as the whole oppression of women thing, it also deals with the tyranny of organised religion, and hopefully anyone who reads it would want to prevent such a horrific future.

4. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (mental illness, teenage angst)- My favourite book involving a slightly mentally ill teenager, and a whole lot more teenage issues. If you still feel too weird, or not good enough after reading this, then you probably need to go back and read it more carefully this time.

5. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (poverty)- Written as a protest novel in the 1930s, I think this still packs a pretty big punch today. Depicting conditions that no one should have to live in, it really makes one angry and all world changey and stuff. Just not, you know, very articulate.

6. Hamlet by William Shakespeare (death of a parent)- This work is also 'I was struggling to think of things at this point', and now that I think about it, Hamlet is a bit of a how-to guide in terms of how not to deal with grief (vengefully and potentially insanely) but I guess in that case one can learn things from the play for the correct way to grieve. Also, you know, about life and stuff...

7. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (suicide)- I think what Anna Karenina teaches us about suicide is to not steal a teenager's boyfriend and then suspect him of having sex with other women and then freak out and throw oneself under a train. It's just a suggestion, but I don't think that's a great thing to do. Call me crazy if you like...

8. Angels in America by Tony Kushner (AIDS)- I know this is every list along with To Kill A Mockingbird. But really it's pretty relevant here! Not only does it deal with AIDS (it's about gay men in the 80s, what were you expecting?) it also deals with politics, religion, mental illness, sex, and what love really means. I'm not sure if any questions are actually answered, but really you'll be a better person for reading it.

9. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (mad wives in the attic)- Yeah, this is a bit of a tongue in cheek one (I was struggling again) but I really do think that Jane does the right thing/the only thing she could have done under the circumstances that she was put in. This is hopefully one tough issue that few of us have to face, but if any of us ever do, we'll know to leave our nearly-husband with dignity and then probably go back to him once he is widowed when his wife burns his house down (God that book's good...)

10. Maus by Art Spiegelman (the Holocaust)- I haven't read that many stories of the Holocaust because my mind can barely comprehend such horrific things actually being done to humans by other humans. I can, however, barely imagine a more realistic, sensitive without being overly sentimental, and dealing with the guilt that children of Holocaust survivors feel, which is something that I hadn't really considered before. Definitely my favourite graphic novel of all time.

So that's my top ten, how about you? I definitely struggled a bit with this one, so I'll be impressed if everyone makes it to ten today! I'm looking forward to some intense book recommendations too. Happy Tuesday everyone!


  1. I was reading through your list with little comments to myself like great choice and how true and then I got to 9 and just started laughing. Mad wives in the attic is a serious problem people face and it's wonderful that Charlotte Bronte didn't shy away from addressing such a difficult problem head on.

  2. Great list! Love The Handmaid's Tale, and I agree- that shit could happen!

  3. You listed some great books! The Color Purple is one that I probably would have forgotten about--great choice!

  4. Ha, I love that Jane Eyre made it on your list. We should all be outspoken about not putting mad wives in the attic...

    I considered putting Handmaid's Tale on my list, though it didn't quite get there.

  5. You have an excellent list here. To Kill a Mockingbird has probably been the most widely read and widely loved book dealing with difficult issues ever.

  6. I love your analysis of Anna Karenina! Good list!

  7. Oooo The Handmaid's Tale, good thinkin!

    I need to read this Angels in America book, I haven't heard of it before!

  8. To Kill a Mockingbird, wonderful book. I decided to list most recent published books for this list.
    mine is: http://sidnebkclubreviewz.blogspot.com

  9. Your #4 has me intrigued.

    My Top Ten