Why I’m the Worst English Major Ever

Confession time: I don’t have a favorite book. Whenever someone asks me I get this dazed/terrified look on my face like Sokka’s (Can I just say I love Avatar: the Last Airbender?) and stall while I try to arbitrarily pick a favorite book in 30 seconds. My best solutions so far have been asking sheepishly “Can you give me a category?” or talking about the last book I read. But I’ve finally decided enough is enough. I’m going to make a list of my favorite books so that the next time someone asks me I have 10 books I really like to pick from instead of all the books I’ve ever read ever. Which will mean I spend a lot less time looking like a deer in the headlights.

  1. My first favorite book: This is a tie between Mickey Mouse’s Picnic from when I was 3 and The Whipping Boy from 3rd grade. When I was a little kid I begged my mom to make deviled eggs, chocolate cake, and roast beef sandwiches so that I could have a picnic just like Mickey Mouse; sounds cute right? Except I would refuse to eat anything but the chocolate cake. (Deviled eggs to a 3 year old = DISGUSTING.) This happened more than once because every time I would promise that I’d actually eat the deviled eggs this time. My poor Mom.
  2. My favorite Non-Fiction book: Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard. This book is amazing, and the way she describes nature is just amazing. (I just noticed that apparently I like the word amazing a lot. Hahaha)
  3. My favorite mystery novel: I love Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce series, but my favorite would definitely have to be The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. It makes me wish I was an 11-year-old chemistry whiz living in 1950’s England going around solving crimes. I love the way she discovers the clues; she lies and sweet-talks her way into a seemingly innocent conversation with grown ups who let things slip because they don’t bother about keeping secrets in front of a cute 11-year-old. Gotta love spy/detective novels where they use people’s assumptions and quirks to get information.
  4. The book I used to hate: Wuthering Heights, hands-down. I couldn’t stand it when I read it my junior year , but then it ended up being a big part of my senior thesis (the high school version of SIP if you go to Covenant) so I read it 5 more times. Around time 3.5 I decided it wasn’t so bad. Jack says you naturally get nostalgic for stuff you’ve done that sucked… after it’s over. “Remember that thing that was awful and I hated it? Those were good times.”
  5. The book I love to hate: Breaking Dawn. I used to be a Twilight fan until I read Breaking Dawn; it holds the record of being the only book to ever make me nauseated (the birth scene is disgusting). Then I went back and re-read the other three and decided they were stupid and that Edward is a creep. I used it for my senior thesis, and got to bash Edward Cullen for a grade. So much fun! (I’ll save the rest of my Twilight schpeel for when the new movie comes out. Mwahaha)*
  6. My guilty pleasure: This one tends to change depending on what I’ve been reading; recently it’s been The Hunger Games and the Percy Jackson series (I’m only about 5 years late on that one). They’re not War and Peace or anything, but they’re entertaining, and I’m trying to read as many just-for-fun books as I can before I have to go back to school and read real books.
  7. My “I’m totally name-dropping to impress you” book: I’m an English major, we have to have at least one of these to impress our professors and fellow English majors. It’s right at the top of our course requirements. Mine’s Anna Karenina because that sucker took me forever to read and Levin’s monologues are insane. (I think Tolstoy was the original hipster, and if you don’t believe me, read some of Levin’s speeches. Gah!) Plus I sound all smart because I’ve read Russian literature. I had to get something out of it after all of those hours of pain.
  8. My favorite Jane Austen novel: (another English major requirement). Pride and Prejudice and Emma, because Elizabeth Bennet’s snarkiness is awesome (I’m totally jealous because she always thinks of the perfect comeback when she can actually use it instead of 2 hours later) and Mr. Knightley is the man.
  9. The book(s) I’ve read the most: The Chronicles of Narnia. I’ve read these so many times it’s kind of ridiculous, but I keep coming back because it’s my favorite fantasy series EVER. Just don’t ask me to pick a favorite; they’ve all been my favorite at one point or another and there’s no hope of me picking one now.
  10. Favorite “Inspirational” book: Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss. My Mom got it as a high-school-graduation gift and then she gave it to me. It has strangely applicable advice for college and who doesn’t love Dr. Seuss?

* No offense if you’re a Twilight fan; I used to be one, so I can’t really judge anyway. I’m sure you’re perfectly smart and nice and everything, but we’ll have to agree to disagree on this one.

** This list ended up being a lot more random than I thought it would be, and I doubt some of the books would earn me any brownie points from the English Major Club. I might have to make another list sometime, because I feel like there are more books that belong here, I just can’t think of them right now… which is kind of frustrating, but I guess I need to go to bed.

UPDATE: I’ve decided to dub the Pretentious Artist kid from yesterday’s Drama Camp post the Wannabe Hipster instead. I felt weird calling a middle schooler pretentious, and today we were trying to explain what a hipster was to my youngest brother and I had an aha! moment.