Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Not Baby Related: Books

My husband, a VERY well read man, always gets on my case for a)the dribble I read and b) not having read "the classics." He gripes that I must not have received with a good education in Ohio's public schools-I beg to differ-we just read different books than they did in North Carolina.

I have read some- Johnny Tremain, To Kill a Mocking Bird, The Crucible, The Great Gatsby, Red Badge of Courage, 1984, Fahrenheit 451, etc. But there are many pages I have left unturned - Huck Finn, Lolita, Lord of the Flies, Brave New World, The Grapes of Wrath, etc.

Every summer when I happen into Barnes and Noble and see their "Summer Reading" tables filled with classics I vow that I'm going to start reading what I apparently should have read about 15 years ago. And I never open a single cover.

So where do I begin? If you were my high school English teacher what would you have on my summer reading list? What contemporary books need to be added to the list?

This summer I'm going to finally do my summer reading. And conveniently, because my husband LOVES books I know we have many of these classics sitting on the many bookshelves in our home.

Can't wait to read your recommendations.


Erin said...

There are quite a few classes that, in my opinion, are not that good. They are "classics" because they're famous, not because people TODAY like them. Don't read The Grapes of Wrath. Watch the movie. The book is a drag and the chapters alternate between Steinbeck's advocation of socialism and stories of the Joad's, the family in the novel. It is not worth the time to read it (and very depressing).

Do read Fahrenheit 451. It is short and incredibly relevant to our world today. I think you'll find it insightful. Lord of the Flies is a book I haven't read but tried to last summer. I couldn't stay interested it in, personally.

I would also suggest The Great Gatsby, Of Mice and Men, and these from Indiana's state reading list:
The Joy Luck Club
Bean Trees
A Separate Peace
My Antonia
Black Like Me
A Raisin in the Sun
MAYBE Jane Eyer, if you can tolerate 19th century literature. I don't like the formality of the language, but the story is OK.

I have a differing opinion on "the classics" than many people, including your husband. Some of them are like eating vegetables -- good for you but, quite frankly, you can get the same benefit from taking a vitamin. I think The Odyssey falls in that category. I read it once, but find teaching it each year to be a challenge.

Read what you LIKE! :)

k said...

I really liked "The Odyssey" plus then you could watch "Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou?" since it's a) George Clooney and b) based on "The Odyssey."

Hmmm...what else...

The Good Earth
Catcher in the Rye
Gone with the Wind
Crime and Punishment

Let us know which ones you tried, loved and hated!

Kadi said...

Hi, I just found your blog, thank you for interesting writing. My daughter (7 months) is also named Sophie. and about the topic: my husband is Mexican and has a maser degree from the best university there but had not heard of Hemingway :) go figure. Must seriously consider additional home-schooling for Sophie if she ever starts school there :)

Erin said...

I agree with the first comment; do not read GRAPES OF WRATH. I would rather have my eyeballs scorched rather than suffer through that idiocy again. I also wouldn't bother with CATCHER IN THE RYE, either, though, but that's only because the protagonist irritated me so much. In fact, he reminded me of the loser Tom Joad from G.o.W.....I LOVE GREAT EXPECTATIONS (although it is an acquired taste), NIGHT, ATLAS SHRUGGED, and THE ALCHEMIST. Last year I discovered MIRROR MIRROR and CONFESSIONS OF AN UGLY STEPSISTER (both fairy tale retellings), and they were fabulous. They're by the author of WICKED (didn't really care for any of those books, but I digress). And the book THE RED TENT is a phenomenal book that you'd love. Those are just some picks in my library that I recommend.

Michelle said...

I am not a classics girl at all.
Here are some suggestions:
The Giver series
The Hunger Games series
Anything by Jen Lancaster
Anything by Joshilyn Jackson
Water for Elephants
The Book Thief
Accidental Billionaires
Shake the Devil Off
Cinderella Ate My Daughter
The Handmaid's Tale

I've heard Unbroken and Tiger's Wife are really good and I'm on the library waiting list for both.

Marisa Peacock said...

You MUST read the Grapes of Wrath -- the movie DOES NOT do it justice. 1) it's by Steinbeck, one of the greatest writers ever and 2) it's the plight of the American family. It's all about community and justice and family -- I really think you'd enjoy it! But what ever you do READ IT! I'll even loan you my copy :)

Marisa Peacock said...

You MUST read the Grapes of Wrath. Do NOT watch the movie. The book is the greatest of all time. 1) it's by Steinbeck, a great inspiring writer. 2) it's the story of the American plight westward. it's about community, justice and family. I really think you'd enjoy it. Please do not watch the movie first.
I'll even loan you my copy!