Required Reading — The Raves: Beowulf

When we Ferrets sat down and discussed this series I knew instantly what I wanted to talk about for my post. And can you get much more classic than the oldest (surviving) epic poem in the English language?

required reading the raves, required reading, fictional ferrets, rabid rainbow ferret society, classic books, book recommendation, Beowulf, Serena Saint-Marceaux

I’ve read many classics over the years, and surprisingly few of them were under the dreaded label of ‘Required Reading’ though that may be in part due to my unorthodox school life. (That may also be why I often didn’t know I was reading a classic or something that might be ‘required reading’ material.) It may also be because I dove into them early.

Beowulf remains a stand-out among them in my memory for a number of reasons, though it wasn’t the first classic I read. Continue reading

required reading the raves, required reading, fictional ferrets, rabid rainbow ferret society, classic books, book recommendation, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Arthur Conan Doyle, Eris O'Reilly

Required Reading — The Raves: The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

sherlock holmesI didn’t actually read anything of Doyle’s until college. I technically majored in Creative Writing, but ended up taking a lot of coursework in British Victorian literature. (If I remember right, I took every single class that was offered on the subject during my stay at college.) So, clearly, I already like the form and rhythm of Victorian lit.

I was assigned to read a Sherlock Holmes short story in one of the classes. I can’t remember which class—I think maybe the Gods and Monsters one? Or maybe it was just the short story class? It kind of doesn’t matter because I also can’t remember which story it was that was actually assigned. I’m pretty sure it was the Five Orange Pips one. Anyway, I found myself really enjoying it. Like, more than I thought I would. I liked it so much that I went out and bought the complete collection of Sherlock Holmes (two massive volumes, actually), and read through the entire thing in about a month.

Mind you, this was during and between assignments when I was averaging reading an assigned 120k of words a week and writing reports on them. Basically a long novel every single week, split up between poetry and short stories and actual novels. So squeezing in another, half a million words or something of Sherlock Holmes is kind of a testament to how much I freaking liked it.

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Required Reading – The Raves: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

required reading the raves, required reading, fictional ferrets, rabid rainbow ferret society, classic books, book recommendation, To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee, Lissa Clouser

I started reading many of the classics well before they were required because, honestly, I just wanted to know the stories for myself. I first read Pride and Prejudice and Romeo and Juliet both when I was 10 years old. Granted I read them with a giant copy of the Oxford English Dictionary sitting next to me at the ready and for the Shakespeare half I read all of the footnotes in the big volume my dad owned, but the stories were important enough to me they were worth the effort. It so paid off when high school came around.

One of my absolute favorites was actually, surprisingly, never required, but I did end up using it for a school project. Continue reading