Today's post came to me in a moment of inspiration after reading a post by one of my favorite bloggers: the lovely Amber of Themilelongbookshelf.com. Don't let her age fool you: this girl is crazy talented. Pop over to her site and check her out!
Anywho, her latest post was about her "Top 5 Book Instagrammers", specifically her top 5 who AREN'T the most popular at the moment (meaning they don't have a trillion followers). After looking through their accounts, I was BLOWN AWAY. I can't even fathom how much time it took to create these gorgeous, jaw-dropping photos. And I NEVER would have known about these amazing people if it hadn't been for Amber taking the time to promote them on her blog. Click here to see her post on Bookstagrammers. *happy dance*
She made an excellent point that a lot of the time, we tend to recommend authors, celebrities, movies, musicians, etc. that are already well established in the industry, while so many others are left behind to grapple for scraps.
Don't get me wrong. I will sing undying praises for my spirit animal, Sarah J. "Fireheart" Maas till the day is long. *fangirl swoon*
But we can't forget about the others.
Which brings me to today's post. Top 3 Thursday brings you titles that for, some reason or another, never went viral. Maybe they were written by a well-known author, but they didn't make it out of their popular literary siblings' shadows. Constantly being compared to other books written during their time that turned the world UPSIDE DOWN, while they remained right-side-up.
1. Till We Have Faces - C.S. Lewis
I LOVE THIS BOOK SO HARD!!!!
Seriously, I've reread it as much (maybe more...) then Pride and Prejudice. Which is saying something, people.
C.S. Lewis: EVERYONE knows this guy. You've probably read all the Chronicles of Narnia, Mere Christianity, Screwtape Letters, and (my personal favorite) The Great Divorce.
But have you ever read his take on Cupid and Psyche? Told from the perspective of Psyhce's older sister? GAH. I've been an advocate for this book for YEARS, and I have yet to meet someone (other then my mother) who has read it.
This was C.S. Lewis's last novel, which was fitting considering this story had been rolling around in his head for 35 years!! I find it fascinating that when he first developed the plot as a university student, he was an atheist. Lewis wrote the lead, Orual, as the protagonist, with the gods as antagonists. When he finally finished the final version, after converting to Christianity, he switched the roles.
2. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
This one has a bit more sentimental value to it then the others. Let me set the scene: * cue flashback music*
Ninth grade. 2001. Before CHI straighteners and skinny jeans. There's me, girl with giant fuzzy hair in the back of the class, nose stuck in a book because I've already finished my "busywork". We're supposed to be choosing a book for our term reading project. *scoff* As if I don't have a giant pile of candidates raring to go back home...
But my teacher is one step ahead of me. She pulls me to the side and, with an air of secrecy, draws THIS BOOK out of a secret stash of novels hidden in the cabinet drawer next to her desk (my 9th grade self makes a mental note of drawer location, and fact that she failed to lock it). She wants to choose my book for me. As a challenge.
Thematic Sneak Peak: Western colonialism, cultural arrogance, racism, missionaries in Africa, Southern Baptist Convention, life after death, cultural cross-over, bi-racial relationships, emotional abuse.
This book was life-altering for me. As a native Texan, I feel that race plays a HUGE role in our everyday lives; socially, economically, professionally... It plays a part in our interpersonal relationships and the way we communicate, for better and for worse. Poisonwood Bible is a multi-POV narrative, so the reader gets to see all of these factors play out on both sides, each portrayed as both victim and abuser. It is BRILLIANT.
3. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
Confession time: I only read this book after watching the BBC mini-series adaptation with The Hobbit's Richard Armitage and Downton Abbey's Brendan Boyle. *Bates!!!!* The book, as always, was better.
If you're a Jane Austen fan, add this title to your collection NOW. Gaskell started writing a few decades after Ms. Austen's death, and the similarities between the two authors is uncanny. Gaskell's prose has a very Austenite cadence, coupled with your stereotypical love interests who are blinded by torrents of miscommunication and personal agendas. It's these misunderstandings of every sort that leaves the reader pulling out hair screaming at pages "HOW CAN YOU NOT SEE THAT YOU LOVE EACHOTHER?!?!?!"
This is what I expected going into this book. What shocked me was this:
Thematic Sneak Peak: Modernity vs tradition, authority vs rebellion, redefining women's roles in working society, class divisions in the early Industrial Revolution with cotton mills, textile factories, unionizing laborers, societal prejudice, contrast of industrial north with working class wealth in trade and rural south still ran by conventional Victorian with wealth in aristocracy, charitable giving...
At least 70% of North and South's content danced around working class conditions during early Industrial Revolution in northern England, which led to societal conventions leaning away from the strict confines of Victorian protocol. Wealth began to be defined by trade and commerce, rather then land-gentry and aristocratic titles.
Don't get me wrong. I love Colin Fi-er, I mean Darcy! *sheepish grin* But some things are more important then Happily Ever Afters.
Like fair wages!! And honest working hours!! *joins the picket line*