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That Classics Meme

July 17, 2008

It’s been floating around for a bit now, and I’ve been tagged by Just a Reading Fool and Heather of Book Addiction. I actually had problems answering several of these, but this is the best I could do! :D

What is the best classic you were “forced” to read in school (and why)? A Tale of Two Cities: it’s definitely my favourite Dickens!

What was the worst classic you were forced to endure (and why)? Oh God, so many. lol I might enjoy these more now, but here are some I had to read in high school that I hated: Great Expectations, Of Mice and Men (I love Steinbeck in general, though), A Seperate Peace, Death Comes for the Archbishop, Animal Farm (I love every other Orwell thing I’ve read, but not this one) and The Red Badge of Courage.

Which classic should every student be required to read (and why)? Personally, I think every American student should read Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville. But it’s philosophy, not literature, so I don’t know if that counts! As far as literature goes, I honestly can’t think of one book everyone should read. Maybe some Shakespeare?

Which classic should be put to rest immediately (and why)? I’m assuming we’re talking about in school, rather than in the wider world. I’m plumping for Of Mice and Men: I know a lot of people who avoid Steinbeck based on that one, and he’s such a great author!

10 Comments leave one →
  1. July 17, 2008 9:25 am

    Yep, I hated Of Mice and Men, but I’ve really liked what I read of East of Eden. I’ll give him another go.

  2. July 17, 2008 10:33 am

    Hmmm…I absolutely loved Of Mice and Men. I totally hated The Red Pony!

  3. July 17, 2008 11:09 am

    You obviously weren’t forced to read The Grapes of Wrath. The only thing worse about living in the “Dustbowl” was having to read about living in the Dustbowl. And I have to agree with A Tale of Two Cities … although I didn’t appreciate it at the time! I also really liked Homer’s Odyssey.

  4. July 17, 2008 1:40 pm

    Ah…even if you don’t like A Separate Peace, you love Tale of Two Cities, so we are even! :)

  5. July 17, 2008 4:26 pm

    I wish they wouldn’t make kids read books. I wished teachers would find ways to get kids to discover books. My 8th teacher had a neat trick. She had a reading list of authors she considered acceptable. We had to read 3 books each 6 weeks period to keep our grade, but if we read 5 she would raise our grade one letter. If we read less than 3 books our grade was lowered by one letter.

    That was quite an incentive. And cool science fiction writers were on the list, like Robert A. Heinlein.

  6. unfinishedperson permalink
    July 18, 2008 6:45 am

    Unbelievably, I haven’t read A Tale of Two Cities. I have Great Expectations on my TBR list for a challenge in which I am participating. Should I switch and read this instead?

    I don’t understand the anti-Steinbeck sentiments expressed here. I remember all of his work fondly, especially The Grapes of Wrath — although if I lived there, I might feel differently. And sorry, but I liked A Separate Peace — please don’t hate me. ;)

  7. July 18, 2008 7:22 pm

    For some reason, I couldn’t relate to A Separate Peace. I didn’t read it in school though…I was over 40. Maybe that’s it.

    Agree with you about Tocqueville. I never even heard of him until after college. That’s kind of sad.

  8. July 19, 2008 5:37 am

    Ugh, I still have bad memories of having to read The Red Badge of Courage and Great Expectations in high school. I loathed the first and was bored nearly to death by the entire mid-portion of the second. I didn’t hate Of Mice and Men but that could be because my other summer reading that year was so much more dismal in comparison…

  9. July 21, 2008 11:46 am

    Andi, I loooove East of Eden! And you should totally read Travels With Charley. :D

    Debi, that’s interesting! I never read The Red Pony-my friends who did didn’t enjoy it.

    Kristen, lol! When I moved out to Colorado, I drove through Oklahoma’s panhandle, and I suddenly understand the term ‘dustbowl’ like never before. I liked the Odyssey too.

    Matt, as long as we’re even! I didn’t like A Seperate Peace, because I absolutely detested the narrator. I wanted to reach into the book and ring his whiny little neck. :p

    Jim, that’s interesting! I think that kids should be familiar with some of the classics by the time they graduate, just to give them a grounding in civilization.

    UnfinishedPerson, I really didn’t like Great Expectations, but my mom and my sister (who rarely reads at all) both did! And I won’t hate you for liking A Seperate Peace, lol. I haven’t read Grapes of Wrath: I”m waiting until December for the My Year of Reading Dangerously. But I’m moving out to Monterey soon, and I’m so excited!

    Bybee, I hated the narrator of A Seperate Peace. A lot. lol I did a big paper on Tocqueville in college, which was fun. He was just so intelligent!

    Megan, I’m glad you’re with me on The Red Badge of Courage and Great Expectations! I read Of Mice and Men before them-otherwise I probably would’ve liked it more too. I remember that I enjoyed the writing style, but the plot just upset me too much. Which is the mark of a great book, right?

  10. July 31, 2008 5:53 am

    Oh man, I hated A Separate Peace. About a year ago I picked it up again, thinking maybe I’d only hated it in school because I was a snarky little kid, but no, I couldn’t get through to the second chapter. I put it aside, said nevermind. There are too many good books in the world to read!

Thank you for commenting! For a long while, my health precluded me replying to everyone. Yet I missed the conversation, so I'm now making an effort to reply again. It might take a few days though, and there will be times when I simply can't. Regardless, I always read and value what you say.

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