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August 12th, 2002

High School Novels

High school is a challenging time for most of us, but it also represents growth. For instance, learning about new means of expression; discovering attraction to other people; and, of course, the best way to stretch $2 into providing a full meal and beverage (a prerequisite for college).

Like most of you, I’d imagine, I took several years of English and Literature classes in high school. Some of them were tedious (memorizing various methods of comma usage), but I always remember looking forward to getting the semester’s book list with anticipation. Recently, I remembered a few of the novels we had to read… but only a few. I think years of reading novels I had no real interest in caught up with me.

My favorites? Easy. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou was one of my faves from Sophomore year. It was truly moving and engrossing – and took me someplace a book hadn’t, before. Also, The Merchant of Venice and Animal Farm were part of the required reading… but I didn’t enjoy the latter that much. There were some lines and phrases in My Antonia by Willa Cather that really stuck with me, and I can’t forget reading parts of A Streetcar Named Desire out loud in my Junior year English class. (Yes, I got to yell, “Stella!”)

Were there any books from high school that you remember reading and enjoying?

Posted in Miscellaneous

FROM: Chris [E-Mail]
DATE: Monday August 12, 2002 -- 9:23:39 am
My junior year I took 'Science Fiction" as my Literature option. Although I was already reading a bit of Sci Fi and Fantasy, that class pushed me over the edge into full fledged geekdom. I particularly remember A Canticle for Liebowitz, and Foundation. I also remember just hating Stranger in a Strange Land by Heinlein. I've tried to re-read it a couple of times and can't get through it. I like a lot of Heinlein's books, but I just can't get into Stranger.

FROM: Robert [E-Mail]
DATE: Monday August 12, 2002 -- 9:58:55 am
I loved Candide and Catch 22, both I which I read my senior year.

FROM: corey [E-Mail]
DATE: Monday August 12, 2002 -- 10:48:32 am
i still try to get thru East of Eden once every coupla years.

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Monday August 12, 2002 -- 10:51:06 am
Chris, I also took a Sci-Fi class in high school. I wasn't much of a sci-fi geek, but it was way better than regular English. :) We also had to read Stranger in a Strange Land... I really enjoyed the first half, but thought the second half was a total waste.

In my junior year, I made the mistake of taking honors English, which focused on British Literature. Wow did I hate that class. I can proudly say that I didn't read any of the books -- in fact, if I read the Cliff's Notes for most of the books that would be saying a lot. Instead, I got by by reading the back cover of Cliff's Notes before the tests... seriously. I only got a C in that class, but I was happy enough with that based on the effort I put into it.

FROM: Monica
DATE: Monday August 12, 2002 -- 12:06:04 pm
Beowolf was pretty cool. I can't remember which books I read for fun and which we had to, anymore. Oh yeah--there was one called Too Late the Phalarope. And we read bits of Walden. I bought that one later, but I haven't read it through yet.

FROM: Jeani
DATE: Monday August 12, 2002 -- 5:47:57 pm
I'm such an English geek, but I think I really enjoyed just about every book I had to read in high school. Heart of Darkness was probably the one that had the biggest impact on me, while any book by Irving Stone just seemed to go on forever and ever.

DATE: Tuesday August 13, 2002 -- 12:55:17 am
I enjoyed 'Catcher In The Rye' by Salinger and 'The Chrysalids' by Wyndham. I read The Chrysalids in the 10th grade, and it really opened my eyes. Not only did it allow me to truly understand how literary elements are used throughout a novel, but it made me remember how much I enjoyed reading as a kid.

FROM: Matt
DATE: Tuesday August 13, 2002 -- 1:47:07 am
I enjoyed reading 1984, The Great Gatsby, and The Jungle in high-school.

FROM: Aaron [E-Mail]
DATE: Friday August 16, 2002 -- 4:01:33 pm
There are very few books that were assigned reading which left a lasting impression on me. I remember enjoying "Beowolf", which was then followed by a modern retelling of the tale, but from Grendel's point of view.

I remember reading "Brave New World" and actually thinking that it accurately described our society today, not some futuristic cautionary tale.

The books I enjoyed most were usually ones of my own selection, "Foucault's Pendulum" was one, lots of science fiction and fantasy stuff. I thought the Piers Anthony "incarnations of immortality" was a cool idea and started off well, but became less and less interesting as the series went on.

In my 3rd year of Spanish class, we read a condensed version of Don Quixote (translated to modern Spanish). I enjoyed that one. There are some great double entendres that don't translate that well to English. I remember in my 4th year trying to read some chapters in the original dialect -- very difficult. It would be like giving someone who is taking English as a foreign language a copy of "The Canterbury Tales".

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Friday August 16, 2002 -- 5:32:34 pm
Aaron -- I'm actually reading that Piers Anthony series now...

FROM: Robert [E-Mail]
DATE: Saturday August 17, 2002 -- 1:50:41 pm
Oh crimony, The Great Gatsby is friggin' godawful. I read it the summer before 11th grade because I wanted a jump on reading it in English class the following year. What a waste!

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