Saturday, May 19, 2012

Babbling about books

Fact:  I taught myself to read when I was in kindergarten.

 This really pissed my teacher off (because I wanted to answer all the letter questions in class and not let other kids have a chance).  Luckily, my parents encouraged me to keep reading, so I didn't let one teacher destroy this passion.

I suppose I took an interest because my mom was always reading.  And even back then I wanted to be like her. At a time when I probably fought her on naps, most certainly fought her on baths and was still asking her if we could take my brother back to the store (that's where he came from, right?), I sensed that my mom was pretty awesome and I wanted to be like her.  I wanted to read too. 

I don't read as much as I used to, a fact that saddens me, but apparently not enough for me to take serious action.  I've been so focused on other hobbies -- writing (romance novels and blogs), concerts and baseball -- that reading has kind of fallen away.  My "to-read" list on GoodReads is ginormous.  I keep adding books without crossing any off as "read."  I really need to do something about that. 

Each year, I set a goal of reading 30 books.  It's very doable.  Less than three books a month.  And if you know how fast I read and the types of books I enjoy most, you'll know I could probably double that total if I really worked at it.  (And gave up writing and baseball ... no thanks.) Last year, I fell about five books short.  This year, I'm already five books behind pace.  I need to step it up.

I love talking to my friends about books.  I spent a good deal of time this morning talking to a friend about books she's reading and what we both want to read.  During that conversation, I remembered a recent conversation with a co-worker about books we read for junior high and high school.  I decided that sometime soon, I would like to go back and read some of those selections to see if they hit me differently now than they did then. 

I'm going to need a good list though.  And I'm struggling to remember the ones I was assigned. 

I for sure remember:

"Night" by Elie Wiesel
"Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck
"Ethan Frome" by Edith Wharton 

HRHS people ... what else did Mr. Gersema assign?  
What about Mrs. Long?  
And that other teacher I can't remember the name of ... oops.

I'll take suggestions from people with whom I didn't go to school as well.

What were some of the books you were assigned to read in school?
Have you read them since then?


  1. I always enjoy walking past the required reading table with friends at B&N to find out what they read. It's amazing how some schools seem to require so little, when I had read nearly the entire table by 18.

    Of all the readings from high school, these are the ones that I've reread since and stay on my bookcase:
    Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (and Through the Looking Glass) - Carroll
    All Quiet on the Western Front - Remarque
    Great Gatsby - Fitzgerald
    Heart of Darkness - Conrad
    Poisonwood Bible - Kingsolver
    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead - Stoppard
    To Kill a Mockingbird - Lee
    Wonderful Wizard of Oz - Baum

  2. Even though I thought it was quite a burden at the time, my high school English teachers (one at the actual high school, the 2nd at the local community college) made sure I had "extra" reading assignments and thankfully not for punishment. They each felt I could use a little extra push/challenge which I have always been grateful for. I think it's why I have such a love of reading now as an adult.

    I remember as a class we read To Kill a A Mocking Bird (which is still one of my favorite books) and The Scarlet Letter (which I remember hating) but mostly we were able to pick our own books to read.

    As for the extra reading list I remember reading One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest, Naked Lunch, Pride & Prejudice, a collection of works by Allen Ginsberg and William Carlos Williams and Jane Eyre. I know there were quite a few more, but that is all I can remember off the time of my head. I may need to dig out my book journals from the closet.


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