Thursday, July 10, 2014

Those Awesome Books from High School!

More high school memories today! Because remember, there's that high school reunion thing coming up! Ah, I'm getting nervous. Why? There's no reason why this should be, but still, it happens.

Anyway.  Books! In high school I discovered classics. I loved them. I don't remember that thing that lots of people talk about where you were "forced" read classics and ended up hating them. I loved them. I mean, there were some I didn't get, but the journey in the trying to get them was fun. It probably helped that I had awesome teachers. Yeah, I'm sure that helped a lot.

I actually have a list here in front of me of classics I read during all three years. That's because my teachers collaborated and kept a folder for us throughout all three years, which they gave to us upon graduating, which I of course kept all these years. It includes all my essays that I wrote on all these books too. How cool is that.

I may of already mentioned in an earlier post, that when I was a sophomore, I loved The Scarlet Letter. We watched a movie and I thought the Arthur Dimmesdale dude was awesome. I couldn't get over him! And I read Tess and was so moved and shocked and appalled. And I read The Good Earth and cried. And I read Julius Caesar and quoted it the rest of the year..."Beware the ides of March!!!" I read the Hunchback and thought there wasn't a cooler story ever. And wanted to see Notre Dame so bad. (Yay, and now I have!)

When I was a junior, we read lots of plays, and lots of Shakespeare... Macbeth was my favorite and we quoted that all year..."Double, double toil and trouble, fire burn, and cauldron bubble!" We read Hemingway books and I must admit, I wasn't very fond of him. But that was also the year of Wuthering Heights and Grapes of Wrath. I think that probably at
the time of these readings, I didn't get either one, but both have grown greatly in fondness over the years and after many re-readings. Still, even then, I was fascinated with both Heathcliff and the Joad family.

Then senior year! It was all about Crime and Punishment that year! We dissected that book inside and out, up and down, over and yonder! Oh my word. But, I haven't re-read this book and do you think I can remember much today? Sadly, no. We also read The Heart of Darkness, which creeped me out. And The Sound and the Fury, which was hard, but made me fall in love with the stream of conscious writing device.  And the Shakespeare play of the year? Hamlet! "Alas! Poor Yorick!" Oh, we loved that quote! And then, I read more Thomas Hardy. Loved those tragic stories! Oh my word, I was into the tragedy and drama then!

But, you may ask, what did I read for fun in those days? What did I read in the summers? Yes, I wish I knew! Where was my book notebook? Why did I not write these things down? Sad sad day.

If I were to guess, I bet I was reading those lovely Merlin books (The Crystal Cave) by Mary Stewart. Or deep into a romantic suspense thriller by Phyllis A. Whitney, who I absolutely adored. I was probably reading some good old LDS fiction books too, like Charlie. You know the one. Mostly likely I probably read a lot of random books from the library shelf that I've long forgotten. Anyway, so sad that I did not write these books down! Who knew that 30 years later I would have found the list fascinating!

But one thing I do know, there was nothing like the YA stuff we have to read now. Wow, as I high school kid I'm sure I would have gone wild at such a selection as there is now!

And one other thing I know, I loved reading then as much as I do now.  The more things change, the more they stay the same, yes?


  1. I still have nightmares about The Scarlet Letter. I have so much hate for Nathaniel Hawthorne's writing. Buckets of it. I did love reading The Great Gatsby in school, though. I think it was the only one I really liked besides Romeo & Juliet.

    1. Becca: I wasn't overly fond of his writing, but I was pretty entrenched in that story! I never did get the appeal of The Great Gatsby though. Loved Romeo and Juliet.

  2. Oh gosh I still have all my essays too! English was definitely my favorite class in High School and I was good at it (in fact when our teacher was out she had me lead the class instead of the sub, especially when it came to Shakespeare - yes I was that kid). Some of my favorites came from those books, especially Frankenstein, Beowulf, Of Mice and Men, Lord of the Flies and The Island of Dr. Moreau.

    I also founds books I hated! In 6th Grade in an advanced reading class we read Jane Eyre and oh my goodness did I despise that book (and still do). I also really disliked Mark Twain's books and I couldn't keep my eyes open through all the run-on sentences in The Scarlet Letter.

    For fun reading I remember reading Sabriel by Garth Nix, The Alanna Series by Tamora Pearce and a lot of Lurlene McDaniels.

    1. Ang: I love to imagine you leading a high school class on Shakespeare! Awesome!

  3. I discovered classics in high school as well. I think it's sad now that teens focus more on YA fiction. There's so much of it targeted just to them, and the avid readers are missing out on all those classics out there which would really advance their literary skills. My favorites were Dickens. I read all of his books, and I loved Les Miserables as well, back in the day before it was a musical.

    1. Karen: I loved (love) Dickens too, but not sure when I started to reading him. It may have been a little later, though I did read Great Expectations in 8th grade and didn't understand a word. Ha! I feel the same way about Les Miserables too! :) "I knew you back before you were famous!" LOL.

  4. My 15-year-old has been assigned The Scarlet Letter as part of his summer reading assignment. Let's just say he's less than thrilled after attempting to read the first couple of chapters. :-) I haven't read it, but one of his comments to me was to the effect of each paragraph being a single sentence.

  5. I so wish I had a list of all of the books I read when I was younger! I know I read voraciously but when I've tried to add books to Goodreads I know I'm forgetting a lot of them. Maybe it's just as well for some of them!



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