Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted and created by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week there is a bookish topic for which one can create a list of 10 (or more or less) items that fit said theme! This week’s amazing topic is:

August 30: Back To School Freebie — anything “back to school” related like 10 favorite books I read in school, books I think should be required reading, Required Reading For All Fantasy Fans, required reading for every college freshman, Books to Pair With Classics or Books To Complement A History Lesson, books that would be on my classroom shelf if I were a teacher

For this Back to School Freebie I chose to show you ten books I had to read at school here in Austria. It’s interesting for me to show you those (mostly classics) that are not talked about that much outside of Austria, Germany and Switzerland. Only just now did I realize that all books were written by men. I can remember there being woman on the list of recommended mandatory reads, but not too many.

8 Books I Had To Read At School

The Bone Man by Wolf Haas

At a wildly popular chicken shack in the Austrian countryside, where snooty Viennese gourmands go to indulge their secret passion for fried chicken, a gruesome discovery is made in the pile of chicken bones waiting to be fed into the basement grinder: human bones.

But when private eye Simon Brenner shows up to investigate, the manager of the restaurant, who hired him, has disappeared … while the owner of the place urges him to stay on and eat chicken.

Brenner likes chicken, so he stays, but as he waits for the manager, he discovers that the bucolic countryside is full of suspicious types: prostitutes, war profiteers, unsavory art dealers, Slavic soccer champs with dubious pasts — and at least one rather grisly murderer. And the more Brenner looks into things, the more it dawns on him that there’s a cleaver somewhere with his name on it. (Goodreads)

The Physicists by Friedrich Dürrenmatt

The setting: a madhouse. The principal characters: three male patients, all nuclear physicists. One, Herbert George Bentler, believes he is Newton; a second, Ernst Ernesti, thinks he is Einstein. Both are fairly recent arrivals at the asylum. The third, Johann Wilhelm Mobius, who has visions in which King Solomon appears to him, has been there for fifteen years. In charge: the efficient, aristocratic, hunchbacked woman-psychiatrist, Fraulein Dr. Mathilde von Zahud. To this, add the Aristotelian unities of place, time and action (“The action takes place among madmen and therefore requires a classical framework,” the author notes), and one has the basic ingredients of one of Swiss dramatist Friedrich Durrenmatt’s most ambitious plays. (Goodreads)

Youth Without God by Ödön von Horváth

An unnamed narrator in an unnamed country is a schoolteacher with “a safe job with a pension at the end of it.” But, when he reprimands a student for a racist comment, he is accused of “sabotage of the Fatherland,” and his students revolt. A murder follows, and the teacher must face his role in it, even if it costs him everything. (Goodreads)

Andorra by Max Frisch

The republic of Andorra is invaded by totalitarian forces. The populace capitulates to the anti-Semitism of the aggressor and betrays Andri, the foundling son of the local schoolmaster. But Andri it seems, is not a Jew at all. (Goodreads)

Chess Story by Stefan Zweig

Travelers by ship from New York to Buenos Aires find that on board with them is the world champion of chess, an arrogant and unfriendly man. They come together to try their skills against him and are soundly defeated. Then a mysterious passenger steps forward to advise them and their fortunes change. How he came to possess his extraordinary grasp of the game of chess and at what cost lie at the heart of Zweig’s story. (Goodreads)

All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

Paul Baumer enlisted with his classmates in the German army of World War I. Youthful, enthusiastic, they become soldiers. But despite what they have learned, they break into pieces under the first bombardment in the trenches. And as horrible war plods on year after year, Paul holds fast to a single vow: to fight against the principles of hate that meaninglessly pits young men of the same generation but different uniforms against each other–if only he can come out of the war alive. (Goodreads)

Faust: First Part by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Goethe’s Faust reworks the late-medieval myth of Dr Faust, a brilliant scholar so disillusioned he resolves to make a contract or wager with the devil, Mephistopheles. The devil will do all he asks on Earth and seek to grant him a moment in life so glorious that he will wish it to last for ever. But if Faust does bid the moment stay, he falls to Mephisto and must serve him after death. In this first part of Goethe’s great work the embittered thinker and Mephistopheles enter into their agreement, and soon Faust is living a life beyond his study and – in rejuvenated form – winning the love of the charming and beautiful Gretchen. But in this compelling tragedy of arrogance, unfulfilled desire and self-delusion, Faust, served by the devil, heads inexorably towards destruction. (Goodreads)

The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect. He was laying on his hard, as it were armor-plated, back and when he lifted his head a little he could see his domelike brown belly divided into stiff arched segments on top of which the bed quilt could hardly keep in position and was about to slide off completely. His numerous legs, which were pitifully thin compared to the rest of his bulk, waved helplessly before his eyes. (Goodreads)

2 Books I Chose From A List Of Recommended Reads For Our Class (Still Mandatory)

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Raskolnikov, an impoverished student living in the St. Petersburg of the tsars, is determined to overreach his humanity and assert his untrammeled individual will. When he commits an act of murder and theft, he sets into motion a story that, for its excruciating suspense, its atmospheric vividness, and its depth of characterization and vision is almost unequaled in the literatures of the world. (Goodreads)

Narcissus and Goldmund by Hermann Hesse

Hermann Hesse’s Narcissus and Goldmund is the story of a passionate yet uneasy friendship between two men of opposite character. Narcissus, an ascetic instructor at a cloister school, has devoted himself solely to scholarly and spiritual pursuits. One of his students is the sensual, restless Goldmund, who is immediately drawn to his teacher’s fierce intellect and sense of discipline. When Narcissus persuades the young student that he is not meant for a life of self-denial, Goldmund sets off in pursuit of aesthetic and physical pleasures, a path that leads him to a final, unexpected reunion with Narcissus. (Goodreads)

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