A while ago I did a post where I talked about the books I read in high school and which ones I did and didn’t like. It was popular enough that I said to myself “I should do this every week!” And then I promptly realize I didn’t have enough ideas to do that. So a year later I finally have more ideas to put in there, although in this case it’s pretty much just books that I can remember reading in the past ten years, whether for school or not.
This is the most recent entry on the list and the only one I read at the urging of others and not for fun/for school. And I have to say, I’m not a fan. It wasn’t poorly written and it tried to be sensitive towards the subject of racism. But to be honest, I thought it was shallow, even stereotypical, especially towards men. Aibileen’s husband ran off on her. Minny’s was a drunk who beat her (as was her father). The father of Constantine’s daughter ran off on them. Although several white men are portrayed less than favorably, there are at least some good examples.
THE CATCHER IN THE RYE
This is one of those books that people believe is either the epitome of teenage writing or whiny teenage bullcrap. Except me. I didn’t like it, but I didn’t hate it either. Really, I feel nothing towards it. A little boring maybe, but somewhat entertaining. I probably wouldn’t read it again since it just isn’t interesting enough.
As the originator of sci-fi, it should be required reading for us sci-fi/fantasy writers. I enjoyed it, although it’s another one of the books that can be so exposition heavy that it’s hard to get through. I was in eleventh grade when I read this, so while my attention span was greater than a flea’s, it still required sheer determination. I might read it again, although it would be hard to put down a more action-oriented book. Overall, I’d call the plot much better than all the film adaptations. Except maybe for Young Frankenstein.
ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE
I read this book the summer before my senior year of high school. It was thick and complex, usually a combination that makes for some boring reading. But it wasn’t. It was funny, outright bizarre. It meandered from the crux of the story, yet was amusing enough for me not to care. I’d read it again (I think I have a copy around here somewhere) but Gabriel Garcia Marquez isn’t for everyone.
I always enjoy Orwell and this book was a lot of fun. It really isn’t subtle about the political allegory, but that isn’t a bad thing. It was a quick read, had talking animals, and most importantly for a high schooler was easy to write a paper about. Unfortunately my copy is quite old and threatening to fall apart in my hands. Too bad because I’d love reading it again.
So what are your thoughts, on these books and others? Is there any book you’d like to see stricken from curricula? Any you glad they made you read?