March Recommendations

For March, Mike recommends classics, philosophy, and poetry:

Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

Jane Eyre, the great Victorian diva. From her aunt’s parlor to the remains of Thornfield Hall, Jane always has her own way of doing things. Can you trust her? It’s up to you. Enjoy the more interesting side of a fairly boring era.

Did you know? Jane Eyre has inspired dozens of films, TV adaptations and books. There have been sixteen feature film adaptations, including the latest with Mia Wasikowska and Judi Dench. Jean Rhys’s 1966 novel Wide Sargasso Sea reveals the backstory of Bertha Rochester, the madwoman in the attic of Thornfield Hall. Jasper Fforde’s hit Thursday Next series started with The Eyre Affair, in which Jane Eyre is kidnapped from the novel. As Thursday Next, the series’ heroine, works to return her to the classic work, she inadvertently changes the ending! And, of course, there’s a paranormal parody: Jane Slayre. Watch the trailer for the new Jane Eyre here.

Lord of the Flies – William Golding

Most people who work here hate this book (ed. note: I do!), but I love it. What better way to explore man’s wild side than through kids in the wild. This is why we can’t all just get along.

Did you know? This classic tale of survival and basic human conflict has inspired two films, one in 1963 and one in 1990, starring Balthazar Getty. Lord of the Flies has also found itself alongside Slaughterhouse-five and Native Boy on the American Library Association’s list of most frequently challenged books of the 90s. Learn more about banned and frequently challenged books at the ALA website.

Janet prefers Lady Chatterley’s Lover – D.H. Lawrence

A classic novel of sexual liberation. The subtext, though, is Lawrence’s belief that humans are good when not repressed by society. Quite the opposite view of Lord of the Flies!

The Republic – Plato

Told through a series of dialogs by Socrates, Plato lays out his vision of society and the polity. This is the basis of how we view civilization. The classic “Allegory of the Cave” can change how you look at things.

Did you know? Plato wrote about the mythical city of Atlantis. Dr. Richard Freund, a scholar from the University of Hartford, claims to have found the fabled lost city–and it’s near where Plato said it was! Dr. Freund’s expedition was chronicled on the National Geographic channel in the film “Finding Atlantis.”

Collected Poems – Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson’s name precedes her poetry. It’s hard to say anything about her that hasn’t been said. All her poetry is here. Enjoy her great works.

Did you know? You can visit Emily Dickinson’s home, The Homestead, in Amherst, Mass. There, you can also visit The Evergreens, the home of Emily’s brother and family. The Homestead has been recreated with antique furniture from the time period, but the Evergreens has yet to be restored. The state of decay can be shocking, but it’s an authentic experience. And they recently added air conditioning for the summer! The Emily Dickinson Poetry Marathon is on Sept. 24 this year. There, all 1,789 poems are read aloud at Dickinson Homestead.

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