Thursday, December 12, 2013

What Are Your Favorite Works of World Literature?


Help! I spent most of my life reading dead, white, often-American males, and now I find myself teaching a class in world literature. Only you can prevent me from teaching The Odyssey again



I just finished teaching my first semester of world literature. We covered some familiar works--The Iliad, the Canterbury Tales, The Epic of Gilgamesh, as well as some less-taught pieces from central and southwest Asia. (Sei Shonagon's The Pillow Book, for instance.) But now the second semester is approaching,  we're moving on to other far-flung parts of the world, and I need to know where to go. I've got a little time to read this winter, and I'm in good standing with the Memphis Public Library, so help me out!

Below are some works I might consider for teaching either in-class or as outside reading assignments. The students are in grades 11-12 and are of varied proficiencies.

What have you read? What did you like? If there is something missing from my list, please help me add it. Thanks.

Africa:

Coming of Age with Elephants by Joyce Poole

Waiting for the Rain by Shelia Gordon






Southwest and South Central Asia:


Clear Light of Day by Anita Desai

Siddhartha by Herman Hesse

Malgudi Days by R. K. Narayan

Nectar in a Sieve by Kamala Markandaya 





East Asia and the Pacific:

Kon-Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl

A Healing Family by Kenzaburo Oe

Talking to High Monks in the Snow: An Asian-American Odyssey by Lydia Minatoya

Fire in the Sea: An Anthology of Poetry and Art (edited by Sue Cowing)





The Americas:



The Book of Medicines by Linda Hogan

Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya

The Heights of Macchu Picchu by Pablo Neruda

Selected Poems by Gabriela Mistral



4 comments:

  1. the only one I've read from this list is Siddhartha, and I really enjoyed it. I read it in college and I particularly enjoyed the lyrical storytelling aspect of it. Well, I thought it was, I'm not sure what others would think! ~Caitlin

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  2. Also, while I have never read them, I have heard good things about Waiting for the Rain by Shelia Gordon and Kon-Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl. Caitlin

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    1. Cool. I was surprised to find many copies of "Kon-Tiki" at the library, so it must be something lots of people read. Same goes for "Waiting for the Rain," though it looks a little juvenile for my students. Thanks for the input!

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  3. Bless Me Ultima is one of my all time favorite books.

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