OK, I confess: before writing this article I totally thought "southpaw" was a city somewhere in the general vicinity of Idaho, and not an affectionate nickname for left-handed folks. (Or, I guess, now it’s a movie starring Jake Gyllenhaal, too.) But either way, no matter how you refer to the lovely lefties in your life, Thursday is International Left Handers Day! Yes, that’s a thing. And although I’m definitely a naturally right-hand-inclined gal, I did spend a fair amount of elementary school hours striving towards ambidexterity. Because, seriously, how useful would that be? Particularly in the nail-polishing, eyelash-extension-applying, doing pretty much any two things at once departments?
Since August 13, 1992 — the first ever International Left Handers Day — lefties everywhere have been celebrating their unique lefty-ness with events like left- versus right-hander sports matches, and left-hand-only bar games. (Darts, anyone?)
In honor of the international holiday — which has its own hashtag and everything, #lefthandersday — I’ve compiled a list of books by a few of literature’s most famous left-handed writers; some of whom were even writing books back in the pre-computer days of yore, and so, you know, probably actually did write their books with their left hands — and without all the help of those cool products, designed especially for left-handers.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
As the sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, this classic novel tells the story of the scrappy, skinned-kneed, adventurous Huckleberry Finn — best friend to Tom Sawyer, a teenage boy growing up in a pre-Civil War Mississippi Valley. Huck Finn's father is the infamous town drunk, and as a result young Huckleberry has a hard time fitting into his Southern antebellum surroundings. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, in addition to being an entertaining story of boyhood adventures, is considered a critical satire of racism.
One Writer's Beginnings by Eudora Welty
One Writer's Beginnings is a memoir told through lectures, thematically categorized by three topics that concern all writers: seeing, listening, and finding a voice. Author Eudora Welty shares her early origins as a writer — whom she was reading, things she observed, what she was interested in, and her earliest compositions. This is required reading for any Creative Writing major.
Another Country by James Baldwin
James Baldwin takes readers back to 1950s-era Greenwich Village in New York City where racial and sexual tensions abound. The story centers around a failed jazz drummer, the sexually ambiguous Rufus Scott, and his abusive, tumultuous, interracial relationship with a southern belle named Leona.
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
This classic novella tells the story of traveling salesman Gregor Samsa who wakes up one morning to discover that he has metamorphosed into a large, cockroach-type creature. The story follows the doomed Gregor as he tries to adapt to his new life as an insect, and grapples with his family's disgust at his new physical form.
And Ladies of the Club by Helen Hoover Santmyer
And the Ladies of the Club tells the story of a women's book club in small-town Ohio during the late 1800s and earlier 20th century. Over the years, the club evolves into much more than a reading group, as the members help each other through love and loss, family struggles and national political turmoil.
The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells
This science fiction novel tells the story of a scientist, Griffin, who has learned, through a trick of optics and light, to make the human body invisible. He succeeds in making himself invisible, but catastrophically fails to discover how to reverse the effects. As one would expect in such a situation, madness and chaos ensue.
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Revisit your youth and follow Alice down the rabbit hole once again in Lewis Carroll's classic Alice's Adventures in Wonderland . The plot and characters definitely take on a new, perhaps even more interesting meaning, when understood through an adult's perspective. Plus, this book is just such a fun, fantasy-filled read.
Living Left Handed by Diane Paul
I couldn't rightly leave out a left-handed author writing about the experience of being left-handed in a list about left handed writers, agreed? Living Left-Handed explores the historical and cultural backgrounds of left-handedness, and analyzes the theory of being "right-brained" versus "left-brained," and whether or not there are any long-term implications to one's quality of life, based solely on which hand one uses to write with.