Saturday, March 14, 2015

Day Twenty-Five: Happy Pi Day!!!

Today has been declared Pi Day because today is 3-14-15 and twice today at 9:26:53 will have the numerical equivialent of the first 10 numbers in the irrational number that represents Pi.  Since Life of Pi is one of my favorites novels, I've decided to list my ten favorite bildungsroman novels/novellas.
For those of you who have not taken one of my actual classes or do not actually care about literary terms. Here is a formal definition of a Bildungsroman novel according to,
  • Bildungsroman is a special kind of novel that focuses on the psychological and moral growth of its main character from his or her youth to adulthood.
  • A Bildungsroman is a story of the growing up of a sensitive person who looks for answers to his questions through different experiences. Generally, such a novel starts with a loss or a tragedy that disturbs the main character emotionally. He or she leaves on a journey to fill that vacuum.
  • During the journey, the protagonist gains maturity gradually and with difficulty. Usually, the plot depicts a conflict between the protagonist and the values of society. Finally, he or she accepts those values and they are accepted by the society, ending the dissatisfaction. Such a type of novel is also known as a coming-of-age novel.
This list is not based upon how many times I've read or taught the novel, although Siddhartha is the one I have read the most.  These are the one's who's stories touched me and taught me lessons that have never left me. 
  1. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse-This is probably my second favorite novel to teach every year. I sometimes read this novel twice a year. It follows the journey of wisdom of a young Brahmin named Siddhartha.  It is loosely based on the life of Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama). It is a wonderful novel for students about to embark upon their life after high school.
  2. It by Stephen King-This is one of my favorite book of all times. I have only read it three times because yeah, over 1000 pages.  It seems like an arduous task, but It is well worth the journey to follow these 7 friends as they battle a primordial evil lurking beneath the streets of their hometown.
  3. Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume-I must have read this book a dozen times in junior high, high school, college, and adulthood. I had to replace my copy, which as you know is a big deal with me. It follows Davey Wexler (a girl, fyi) as she and her family tries to recover from the murder of her father.
  4. Life of Pi by Yann Martel-I could not wait to teach this novel to my students. Pi Patel is truly one of my favorite characters. The novel follows both his religious journey, and his journey of survival in a lifeboat with an adult tiger.
  5. The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton-Teenage angst at its best. First read this novel in 6th grade, one of the few non-Stephen King novels I read. It inspired me to read every S.E. Hinton novel I could read, especially when I found out that S.E. was a girl. The novel follows Ponyboy Curtis and the rest of the Greaser gang as the fight the class struggle. 
  6. The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins-Katniss Everdeen. She has to be one of my favorite female protagonists (even though I like Jennifer Lawrence as an actress, I'm not really fond of her portrayal of Katniss, but that's for another post).  Its a dystopian novel that follows Katniss, her family, and friends as they struggle to survive in Panem, and their eventual fight against the Capitol.
  7. Their Eyes were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston-Janie Crawford struggles to break free from societal bounds to find the love and become the woman she wants to be. This novel published in 1937 was a novel ahead of its time, and it was an inspiration to another author on my list.  My students, especially the girls, love the novel because of Janie's courage to fight to become the person she is meant to be, and not what others want her to be. 
  8. The Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling-So far, I've only read the entire series twice, but I plan to read the entire thing again this summer.  You know, because I forget stuff.  Although the novel is about young Harry Potter and his fight to rid the wizarding world of Voldamort; I see it as having three protagonists: Harry, Hermione, and Ron, because all come of age together in this series. Fight me.
  9. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain-I hated this novel in high school, but as an adult, I have found this novel to have more and more depth each time I read, especially in the character of Huck Finn.  The novel follows Huck Finn and a runaway slave named Jim as they find multiple misadventures along the Mississippi river.  Even that seemingly unnecessary reappearance of Tom Sawyer has its place in Huck's development.
  10. The Color Purple by Alice Walker-I had seen the movie as a junior high student, but I didn't read the novel until college.  Miss Celie's journey from victim to independent woman is a journey that I wish everyone would read. She finds strength, hope, friendship, and love that helps her to overcome so many horrors that haunted her life.
Honorable Mention in no particular order.  These are all great novels in their own right. I love these book as well, just not as much as the ones listed above.
  1. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  2. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  3. Jubilee by Margaret Walker Alexander
  4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  5. The Body by Stephen King
Until next time, “Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands.”― Anne Frank

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