The Most Memorable Thing
Today, I’ve decided to play a little game. I’m going to take the list of the books I’ve read from the 1001 list (the ones that currently have no review) and name off the first thing that I remember about each one. Sounds kind of fun, right? But I’m also hoping that it will reveal what is really memorable about each one, the one piece of the story that has really stuck with me.
And if you’ve read any of these, you can feel free to play along, too, in the comments section. Or write your own post with the books you’ve read and tell me about it. It would be interesting to see whether we all remember the same elements.
Of course, I’ll also be trying to keep this completely spoiler-free, so no worries!
Here We Go!
Things Fall Apart
Okonkwo. I remember that it took me a while to figure out how I should pronounce his name, and, after that, every single time I read it it just stuck out. On the more substantial side, I also remember the character himself: all of his traits, the way he made decisions, and the way he reacted to the events around him. I hadn’t read of any character quite like him before.
Pride and Prejudice
The scene where Elizabeth walks all the way to the Bingley’s house, even through the mud, just to visit her ill sister. I suppose it’s one of those scenes that really defines the character. Other scenes come to mind as well, like the hilarious proposal of Mr. Collins. Good stuff.
Jane’s departure. Not to spoil anything for those who haven’t read it, but I think that those who have know exactly what I’m talking about. Another big character moment, at least I thought so.
The Great Gatsby
The green light! And the color green in general, just for the huge importance it has in terms of symbolic value for that book. I can also never forget the scene where they all go to the city just to hang out and drink some mint juleps. They keep mentioning them over and over, and nobody ends up actually having one. Just a little detail that I personally thought was kind of funny.
Lord of the Flies
The skin-crawling war-dance thing that the boys did for hunting pigs. Complete with the chant. Ugh, I did not like that part, or that book, but it’s got a kind of savage power to it that I can’t quite explain.
The Scarlet Letter
Pearl the Faerie Child! Even though they never actually call her that in the book, it just fits way too well to pass over. Pearl is certainly a unique character, and not one to be forgotten.
Their Eyes Were Watching God
Why is it that I can only think of the ending? I mean, I remember the rest of the book, but the ending just sweeps everything else out of the water.
Brave New World
The bottled babies! The happy pills! The ritualized celebration of lust! Just all of these disturbing aspects of Huxley’s dystopian future. And more. Let’s not let the world turn into this, ok?
To Kill a Mockingbird
I really remember the way all the little gifts kept appearing inside the little hole in the tree. I’m not sure why I remember that over all the other things that happened, but maybe it’s because I was kind of young when I read it. I’m not sure that I really got the full impact. Or it could just be because the tree was pictured on the cover of the edition I read. You know.
Life of Pi
Tiger in a boat. Seriously, that’s the entire story. The end. Yeah, I’m joking, but, still, I found that book to be pretty boring. I guess if I had to pick a second it would be that really weird island where the ground at night was like acid and there were all those little mammals running around. I want to say meerkats, but I’m pretty sure that’s not right.
Correction, actually, a quick Google search reveals that I’m exactly right. Go me!
The Things They Carried
The water buffalo. Don’t ask. Just go read it and you’ll totally understand.
I’m going to have to go with the ending on this one, too. In my opinion, it’s just the crowning point in the story about a very messed up world.
Cry, the Beloved Country
Believe it or not, what’s sticking out for me at the moment is not a character or a piece of the plot but rather the passages that seemed to stop to have a chat. That’s really the best way I can think of to describe them without actually posting a full quote. Unfortunately, I don’t have a copy handy. So yes, it’s basically the language of them and the way they pause the story and yet somehow also manage to really tie it all together. A technique that I have never seen used elsewhere.
The Pit and the Pendulum
In a short story like this there aren’t as many options, so I’m going to settle for the obvious choice. The pendulum. Who reads that story and doesn’t remember it?
The Purloined Letter
The ultimate reveal. Meaning the location where the stolen letter has been hiding undetected from a thorough police search. But, of course, I can’t spoil that.
A Modest Proposal
I’ve always particularly liked the line that makes a jab at the English landlords: ” I grant this food will be somewhat dear, and therefore very proper for Landlords, who, as they have already devoured most of the Parents, seem to have the best Title to the Children.” I love a good satire.
And… the end!
I think this post has gotten to be quite long enough. But if this post is popular enough, I might make another one in the future for a few more of the 1001 books I’ve read. Let me know what you think.