125 Things Meme: Day 20

And I'm finishing this up (quickly, and at last) because I, frankly, just want it over with already. Because, as has become apparent, I have far stronger feelings about the first books in this list than these. Though all, of course, can be reached by the "125 things" tag at the bottom/side of this post.

96. Oedipus Rex by Sophocles:

Sophocles' Oedipus Rex has never been surpassed for the raw and terrible power with which its hero struggles to answer the eternal question, "Who am I?" The play, a story of a king who acting entirely in ignorance kills his father and marries his mother, unfolds with shattering power; we are helplessly carried along with Oedipus towards the final, horrific truth.

Why you should read it: Because it's a classic, the basic for all Fruedian phsycology, most of O'Neill's plays, and because my freshman philosophy teacher had this wonderful interpretation where Oedipus didn't actually killl his father/marry his mother. Also, a wonderful example of how everyone really needs to stick to the 1/2 + 7 rule.

“How dreadful the knowledge of the truth can be when there’s no help in truth.”

97. The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien:

J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings trilogy is a genuine masterpiece. The most widely read and influential fantasy epic of all time, it is also quite simply one of the most memorable and beloved tales ever told. Originally published in 1954, The Lord of the Rings set the framework upon which all epic/quest fantasy since has been built. Through the urgings of the enigmatic wizard Gandalf, young hobbit Frodo Baggins embarks on an urgent, incredibly treacherous journey to destroy the One Ring. This ring -- created and then lost by the Dark Lord, Sauron, centuries earlier -- is a weapon of evil, one that Sauron desperately wants returned to him. With the power of the ring once again his own, the Dark Lord will unleash his wrath upon all of Middle-earth. The only way to prevent this horrible fate from becoming reality is to return the Ring to Mordor, the only place it can be destroyed. Unfortunately for our heroes, Mordor is also Sauron's lair. The Lord of the Rings trilogy is essential reading not only for fans of fantasy but for lovers of classic literature as well...

Why you should read it: Worldbuilding at it's finest. Yes, there are many many issues with it - too few women, too much Sam and Frodo in Morodor, and a story that actually comes across better (and more interestingly) in film (making it one of the few things where I say the movie(s) are better than the book(s). Plus, you kinda can't live in the world today without reading it.

"All we have to do is decide what to do with the time that is given to us.” 

98. The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis:

The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis, is one of the very few sets of books that should be read three times: in childhood, early adulthood, and late in life. In brief, four children travel repeatedly to a world in which they are far more than mere children and everything is far more than it seems. Richly told, populated with fascinating characters, perfectly realized in detail of world and pacing of plot, the story is infused throughout with the timeless issues of good and evil, faith and hope.

Why you should read it: Because I read this during my Religion class senior year of HS (as in, I read this during class, and not as part of the class) and learned more about Chrisitanity than my teacher could actually teach. (I spent a great deal of time sitting on the floor, reading, in that class; my teacher was really spectaularly bad at teaching religion without preaching, and obivously hadn't ever thought much about any religion other than her own until she was required to teach them). Plus, they're actually good, despite being essentially retellings of biblical stories.

"Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things-trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that's a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We're just babies making up a game, if you're right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That's why I'm going to stand by the play world. I'm on Aslan's side even if there isn't any Aslan to lead it. I'm going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn't any Narnia."

99. The Odyessy by Homer:

The Odyssey is literature's grandest evocation of everyman's journey through life. In the myths and legends that are retold here, renowned translator Robert Fagles has captured the energy and poetry of Homer's original in a bold, contemporary idiom and given us an Odyssey to read aloud, to savor, and to treasure for its sheer lyrical mastery.

Why you should read it: Because it is 100x better than The Illiad and is actually quite interesting, even if you kinda have to hate Odysseus for what he puts his wife and son thru all those years.

“Of all creatures that breathe and move upon the earth, nothing is bred that is weaker than man.” 

100. The Aenid by Virgil:

The Aeneid is a Latin epic poem, written by Virgil from 29 to 19 BCE, that tells the legendary story of Aeneas, a Trojan who travelled to Italy, where he became the ancestor of the Romans. It is composed of roughly 10,000 lines in dactylic hexameter. The first six of the poem's twelve books tell the story of Aeneas's wanderings from Troy to Italy, and the poem's second half tells of the Trojans' ultimately victorious war upon the Latins, under whose name Aeneas and his Trojan followers are destined to be subsumed.

The hero Aeneas was already known to Greco-Roman legend and myth, having been a character in the Iliad; Virgil took the disconnected tales of Aeneas' wanderings, his vague association with the foundation of Rome and a personage of no fixed characteristics other than a scrupulous piety, and fashioned this into a compelling founding myth or nationalist epic that at once tied Rome to the legends of Troy, glorified traditional Roman virtues and legitimized the Julio-Claudian dynasty as descendants of the founders, heroes and gods of Rome and Troy.

Why you should read it: Because, minus the whole thing he pulled with Dido (I almost caused the web server for the Lit class I read this in to crash because of my strong feelings about how Aenis was essentially a jerk for what he'd done to Dido, and was strongly censured by my teacher for it), it's a decent book. Again, better than The Illiad despite being essentially the opposite side of the story.

“Oh you who are born of the blood of the gods, Trojan son of Anchises, easy is the descent to Hell; the door of dark Dis stands open day and night. But to retrace your steps and come out to the air above, that is work, that is labor!"

101. Euthypro by Plato:

Why you should read it: Because, despite the fact that I can't find a synopsis for it anywhere, it is an interesting discustion about what is pieity and imipiousness. As well, the source of the Euthypro Dilemia: "Is the pious loved by the gods because it is pious? Or is it pious because it is loved by the gods?" Plus, another book we read in my freshman philosophy class I absolutely adored.

And that's it. The other 24 books that you probably think should be on this list are actually part of the series I've listed (Ie, Lord of the Rings is actually 3 books, and one day I think my "five" books actually amounted to 12.... anyway, it does add up to 125, and I am happily done at last.

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