Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Exercise Your Mind and Climb a Mountain of Literature

Feeling energetic this summer? Why not put your mind to work and climb a mountain of literature? There are many books that require stamina of some sort from the reader. Below are some towering novels from the previous four centuries.


17th Century – Don Quixote
This immensely influential (and funny) book follows a man who reads too many stories of chivalry and knights and becomes delusional. He renames himself Don Quixote, and sets out for adventures. Cervantes provided Don Quixote with his servant turned squire, Sancho, and his “steed” Rocinante. The fight against the windmills is one of the more well known adventures of the book.

18th Century – The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
In Laurence Sterne’s book we hear very little of the life of Tristram himself. The narrator is so often distracted (with very humorous consequence) that he does not even reach the moment of his birth until one third of the way through

19th Century – The Brothers Karamozov 
Dostoyevsky’s final novel is a book of depth that goes beyond the very engaging plot and asks that the reader consider the nature of concepts like faith and free will. In the novel’s most famous chapter, Ivan narrates a poem that puts God on trial at the time of the Spanish Inquisition.

20th Century - Ulysses
James Joyce wrote one of the most celebrated books that most people don’t actually finish. Elements of the novel parallel Homer’s Odyssey and individual chapters employ varied literary styles, from stream of consciousness, to the script of a play (with stage directions). Once banned for obscenity, Ulysses was known as a “dangerous” book. The novel follows a day in the life of Leopold Bloom (June 16, 1904 - now known as Bloomsday) as he wanders through Dublin.

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