Thursday, May 05, 2011

High school English teachers rejoice! Something took root in at least one young mind...

...At least, the mind was young a few many years ago.

Regular readers may have noted the "currently reading" line in my profile doesn't change often.  Mostly that's because I read a lot more often than I update my profile.

I enjoyed reading novels long before it became required for various school courses.  Once that happened, I (and the other students) quickly learned that the books required for class were like "Life Cereal" - good for you, but not very tasty -

The works of Shakespeare were interesting to a once.  After the third or fouth of his plays, he was boring.

Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton?  Unrelentingly depressing.  Not the sort of fare that rambunctious young teens are going to enjoy.

Anthem by Ayn Rand?  Well, at least we realized that an author who created such a purely self-centered "hero" was probably seriously messed up.

To be sure, some of the reading was more enjoyable - I've always loved the works of Steinbeck and Twain, and the other students had their own favorites.

Mostly, though, even those of us who loved reading wanted to read something other than what was on the syllabi for our classes.  I wanted to read the works of Asimov, Bradbury, and Mencken (now there's an unusual combo for ya :)) ).

One of the "good for you" books that *did* penetrate many teenaged minds (and one in particular, an important fact for the purposes of this post :) ) was the new entry under "currently reading" -

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

Lush and informative and engrossing and evocative and powerful, it remains the best American novel ever written in the opinion of many, including me.

It's worth of a another read, and I heartily recommend it.

If that book is not to your taste, try one of these.


just jen said...

To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my favorite books. I think there's a little Atticus Finch in your view of justice. O, how I aspire...

just jen said...

p.s. A re-read of Grapes of Wrath would be somewhat timely considering the current economic crisis. While today's dustbowl generation isn't so much about crops as it is about a drought of economic opportunity and the failure to make bold investments, the emotional and psychological impact felt by American families is nearly identical. Sadly, "heartbreak and struggle" is a timeless theme.

Thane Eichenauer said...

Why should I care whether the author is messed up or not? "How was the book?" is the question you avoided.

Come come now. I know you can do better.