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Assigned Reading: What Stands Out?

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  • #16
    Re: Assigned Reading: What Stands Out?

    The AF (who took a lot of English classes, but was not an English major, AND whose father and auntie were English teachers) offers up these responses:

    LOVED: "Watership Down" by Richard Adams - would not have read it otherwise if it had not been assigned. (Side note: this is my favorite book. I read it because I was working in a library when it came out, and hundreds of people had it on the "reserved" list, so I read it to see what all the fuss was about. It's one of the few books I have read more than twice.)

    LOVED: "The EarthSea Trilogy" by Ursula LeGuin - was assigned in a children's literature course in college, now one of her favorites (and up to six books, I believe).

    HATED: "Metamorphosis" by Franz Kafka. She despised it.


    • #17
      Re: Assigned Reading: What Stands Out?

      Only books I remember enjoying in junior high were "Animal Farm", "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "Catcher in the Rye". Reading "Les Miserables" turned out to be fun because we read it and then got to go see the musical a week after finishing it. I remember struggling through "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings", but I think it was because I was too busy liking boys haha

      In high school, I enjoyed "Crime & Punishment" the most, followed by "Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead". Some other ones that stick out were "The Great Gatsby", "Johnny Got His Gun", "Heart of Darkness", "Their Eyes Were Watching God" and "Native Son". "Alicia: My Story" was the first book that brought me to tears, then that was followed by "Night" and that quarter didn't get any more cheery. Unfortunately, I read more classics than I choose to remember. A few years ago, I started rereading some of them and I enjoy them a lot more now than I did then. Like "Jane Eyre" the second time around seemed to be a lot less boring than I remember lol.

      In college, I enjoyed the majority of books I had to read, but nothing really stands out as a book that I totally loved. I read "Middlemarch" without using cliff notes tho - yay for me!


      • #18
        Re: Assigned Reading: What Stands Out?

        The short story "A Sound of Thunder" by Ray Bradbury is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of high school english class. Hmmm maybe that's why I have a hard time killing a bug.


        • #19
          Re: Assigned Reading: What Stands Out?

          Originally posted by Leo Lakio View Post
          Well, if we're going that route, hated: As I lay Dying. Trying to understand what was being said was worse then listening to a immigrant with a thick accent. I think I dumped the book after the first chapter and went with the cliff notes.


          • #20
            Re: Assigned Reading: What Stands Out?

            Frittering away time today at a Borders, I realized that Wuthering Heights (assigned in a high school lit class) had a significant impact on my ideas of what romance and love should be like. This had a most unfortunate impact for several years until I matured and understood that the novel presented a seriously warped relationship. I still love the book, but I view it through very different eyes now.


            • #21
              Re: Assigned Reading: What Stands Out?

              I went to an engineering school, and I took 'Modern Literature' my senior year to mix things up a bit. I was expecting modern classics, but instead the professor taught a fringe literature class. We read books mostly by minority writers, and although it wasn't what I expecting, it was really good.

              My personal favorites were Oranges are not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson (I have probably 10 or so of her books now) and Bastard out of Carolina. Others included Woman Warrior, How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents, Spontaneous Combustion and Stone Butch Blues.


              • #22
                Re: Assigned Reading: What Stands Out?

                It was "Wuthering Heights" for me. It stuck with me because I could not get through it. I carried it around.. but in the end, I improvised and stretched the "summary" of the book into a report and handed it in. What can I say? I did not like reading!

                I did not like to read at all back then and didn't like reading most of my life, until one day this haole co-worker challenged me. In her wonderfully condescending speech, she said hawaiians can't read. She followed up with, "that's why they have to use broken english to talk." Short of slapping her in the face, I took up the challenge of reading a novel she had just finished. It was 800 pages. Long story short, I read it in two days (I had to sleep sometime). She asked some questions, I answered.. then I threw the book at her. LOL That was that.

                She'll never know what that did for me. In one year, I read over 450 novels that were over 400 pages.. and tons of other shorter novels under 400 pages. "Wuthering Heights" was one of those books. Now if I could just find that teacher to submit a proper report.

                (EEK, I babbled, sorry!)
                A proud sponsor of


                • #23
                  Re: Assigned Reading: What Stands Out?

                  Interesting to see it doesn't seem to matter where you learned it - the "you have to read it" booklist looks much the same. The books I loved were Animal Farm and 1984, To Kill a Mockingbird, Of Mice and Men and The Catcher in the Rye. I loathed anything and everything by Thomas Hardy and the Mayor of Casterbridge sticks in my mind as being particularly hated. To be honest, to this day I am much more interested in relatively contemporary literature, the historical epics just leave me cold.

                  We had to study several Shakespeare plays - I loved Macbeth and Othello but Hamlet bored me rigid. My favourite in terms of playwrights was Arthur Miller, The Crucible and Death of a Salesman in particular. Although The Crucible was set in the 17th century? what made it interesting was our english teachers attempts to compare it to the McCarthy "witchunt" of the 1950's.

                  I was also a big fan of contemporary poets - Visiting Hour by Norman McCaig was my favourite and 30 years later I can still recite the first few lines. Mostly we had to study the poetry of the famous WWI poets - Owen, Brooke, Sassoon etc and although moving, most were intensely depressing so I was delighted when we moved on to WWII and High Flight by John Gillespie Magee - still one of my favourite poems ever. In spite of his untimely end, the poem is an uplifting one. Of course being educated in a Scottish high school in the town which was the home of Rabbie Burns meant he was a big part of the prescribed poetry list. To a Mouse was my favourite, but I think we had the most fun trying to work out what the hell he was saying, even though some of the old Scots language was still being spoken at home by grandparents

                  Not sure if any of this helps, but it's been nice to think back

                  Regards, Smudge
                  Last edited by Smudge; December 31, 2007, 02:42 AM. Reason: Typo
                  You don't need to know all the answers. No-one is smart enough to ask you all the questions


                  • #24
                    Re: Assigned Reading: What Stands Out?

                    English Major

                    I spent most of my time avoiding what I was told to read. That aside...

                    As a genre, Children's Literature because it has the best stories and they always carry a message or a lesson to be learned.

                    Lord of the Flies
                    - a fascinating study in human nature and survival instincts. It stuck with me, I think, because my mother was very sick at the time and my report made my English teacher wonder if my mother's illness had gotten to me.

                    Rappachini's Daughter
                    The Scarlet Letter
                    A Rose for Emily

                    Okay, all three of those and I can only say it's because I tend to throw myself into whatever I'm reading and between these kinds of works and the lyrics to the music I listened to growing up, I thought that life was supposed to be all about love and finding that man who would love you without question or reservation -- unconditionally. I learned, the hard way, that I was very wrong. Good thing I'm not suicidal!

                    Moby Dick
                    - Couldn't get through it, hated it, still hate it, refuse to say the name without taking a pot shot at it! Love the story, just hated the stupid way it was written. Just my opinion. I didn't like it. Sorry.

                    Jonathan Swift's satirical writings like Meditations on a Broomstick. He was such a wise ass! That's what made him good. Gulliver's Travels bothered me so I never really appreciated it for what it was. I appreciate it now, but not as a young teenager/adult.

                    There are many others but I too am drawing somewhat of a blank. To Kill a Mockingbird was not assigned but I have read it and I can see why it was, and often still is, assigned reading.

                    How does this help you? Not sure. Oh, one more thought... I have found as I have gotten older that I appreciate the literature that crosses over to Social Studies -- historic novels?
                    Homespun Honolulu


                    • #25
                      Re: Assigned Reading: What Stands Out?

                      My two favourite 'assigned' reading books in school were...

                      The Hobbit and Watership Down.

                      Loved the complete style of storytelling, where they made me imagine the scenes, characters, whole enchilada as it were.

                      Because of The Hobbit, I have read and reread it and the trilogy many times over the years.
                      I even reread Watership Down for the first time at the beginning of '07.

                      I'm not an avid reader by any means.
                      Life is either an adventure... or you're not doing it right!!!


                      • #26
                        Re: Assigned Reading: What Stands Out?

                        Hated reading, but these stand out and can add to the growing list. Candida, David Copperfield, The Epic of Gilgamesh, Homer's Odyssey.


                        • #27
                          Re: Assigned Reading: What Stands Out?

                          i'll add a HATED, DETESTED--NAY, IT WAS THE BANE OF ONE OF MY SUMMERS: travels of marco polo. what a complete slog-fest. it was required summer reading for 8th grade geography. don't think anyone i knew finished the book because just getting through five pages would induce sleep and headache. thankfully, mr. crandall, known for swinging a bamboo pole down hard on desktops right next to the heads of sleeping students, didn't test us on it. the only thing i remember about the book is the part where someone is described as being so pious he poked his own eyeball out because what he saw inspired sin. or was that in another book?

                          someone took pity on the incoming 8th graders and replaced it with habibi by naomi shihab nye. never heard of it, but now i'm curious--i'm always down for a good book.
                          Last edited by cynsaligia; January 1, 2008, 10:06 AM. Reason: punctuation
                          superbia (pride), avaritia (greed), luxuria (lust), invidia (envy), gula (gluttony), ira (wrath) & acedia (sloth)--the seven deadly sins.

                          "when you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: the people i deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous, and surly..."--meditations, marcus aurelius (make sure you read the rest of the passage, ya lazy wankers!)

                          nothing humiliates like the truth.--me, in conversation w/mixedplatebroker re 3rd party, 2009-11-11, 1213


                          • #28
                            Re: Assigned Reading: What Stands Out?

                            if ever there was a writer who thought the manner in which to write deep prose was by playing string games with her own tripe, Ayn Rand be her name. The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged both were her odes to Self.



                            • #29
                              Re: Assigned Reading: What Stands Out?

                              Originally posted by Mililani View Post

                              I did not like to read at all back then and didn't like reading most of my life, until one day this haole co-worker challenged me. In her wonderfully condescending speech, she said hawaiians can't read. She followed up with, "that's why they have to use broken english to talk." Short of slapping her in the face, I took up the challenge of reading a novel she had just finished.

                              OK - I know this is OT but this statement has been bugging me for 2 days now. She actually said that? And you didn't slap her in the face? Maybe not literally - but....... isn't that type of comment against the law? Maybe she should know how it spurred you to read - as she's being fired! Tell her you read up on discrimination laws. Sorry - but that really bugged me.


                              • #30
                                Re: Assigned Reading: What Stands Out?

                                'Huck Finn', 'Red Badge of Courage', 'Treasure Island', 'A Tree Grows in Brooklyn', short story collections including 'Flowers for Algernon' & 'Gift of the Magi', 'Fahrenheit 451', '1984', 'Great Expectations', 'Walden', 'Walden II', 'I, Robot',...

                                As for why, well, I doubt any explanation is necessary. Of course, I wouldn't say these were my favorite books, just the most memorable that were assigned reading. As a science major, I must admit a fondness for the books I couldn't bear to sell back to the 1/2 price book store; 'General Zoology', 'Organic Chemistry', 'The Calculus', and 'Thermodynamics'.
                                Last edited by salmoned; January 4, 2008, 11:18 AM.
                                May I always be found beneath your contempt.