I wouldn’t aim to read all of these – and you might want to do your research first in a few cases – but here are some good ideas of places you might start (or continue) your adventures…
The Reading Lists of Your Favorite Fictional Characters
Lots of good Shakespeare coming to your telly box at the moment.
David Tennant’s Hamlet and screening Shakespeare on TV
JH Prynne is ‘hard’. Don’t worry about trying to ‘understand’ this one: Prynne’s poetry is a bit like the sun – hot and powerful, and you can’t look directly at it for too long. (!)
Try looking for patterns of related words in this poem. See what different collections you come up with. And note the words that refer outside the poem – don’t worry at first trying to cohere them, just keep a track of them.
Christopher Nolan’s inspiration behind the summer blockbuster movie was one Victorian writer whose name you might recognise…
How a Charles Dickens Novel Inspired The Dark Knight Rises
Most of these are non-literary – Gulliver’s Travels is the only clearly canonical ‘literature’ text – but all are crucial to shaping Western thought. Since they’re free, you might as well glance over them, right?
Neil deGrasse Tyson Lists 8 (Free) Books Every Intelligent Person Should Read
Revolving around the old dictum: “reading is re-reading”.
Italo Calvino’s 14 Definitions of What Makes a Classic
JK Rowling’s handwritten draft of Harry Potter? Jane Eyre in manuscript? Tolkien’s original drawings for the Hobbit? All on display at this BL exhibition: