An interesting discussion on Twitter has blossomed into an interesting post over at Robin Wasserman’s blog about books you read for class in high school that you loved/hated.
Okay, unscientific and super-fast survey time, because now I’m curious:
Which high-school mandatory reading book did you love most? (More interestingly…) Which did you HATE?
If you’re old now (like me), have you changed your mind?
If you’re in high school now, well, no extra-special additional question, but I’ll be doubly curious to hear your answer. (And maybe if there’s something unanimously loved, I’ll risk taking another look.)
Personally, I loved most of the books I read in high school. I had AMAZING high school English teachers (Mrs. Sayers and Ms. McDuffie) who I credit quite a bit toward teaching me how to write and cultivating in me a love of literature. Because I had nothing against being “assigned” books and they taught literature in such a way that I could learn how to analyze it without losing how to appreciate it (with one glaring exception), I really feel that the books I hated in high school would be books I’d hate now, so I havent actually tried any re-reading.
- A Separate Peace
- The Chosen
- Pride & Prejudice
- The Crucible
- all the Shakespeare we read
- The Odyssey
- As I Lay Dying
- Kaffir Boy
- The Picture of Dorian Grey
- The Magus
- The Red Pony
- The Grapes of Wrath
- All the Pretty Horses
- Wuthering Heights
At the time, I hated Lord of the Flies. It was the first book we read in high school, and therefore, it was dissected and offered up on the altar of “now we’re going to teach the students how to analyze literature.” I will never forget how one day, we had to answer questions about what the color of the poop the boys were pooping symbolized. I really don’t know why this book was so utterly destroyed, because, as I said before, this teacher was fantastic. Perhaps it was just a classroom conversation that devolved by students who were really resistant to the idea of talking about symbolism or literary analysis. I can’t remember now. But I do remember it wasn’t fun anymore. Things got better after that. (Though I do remember, sophomore year, everyone in my class being so confused by what was going on in The Sun Also Rises only to be told by the students who had a different, less G-rated teacher what the main character’s big conflict was.)
Over at Robin’s blog, the votes are coming in fast and furious for A Separate Peace. Interesting.