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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, '15, 8:54 am 
Bragatyr wrote:I remember that phenomenon of being forced to read slightly tedious stuff in school (and accompanying terrible, oppressive feeling). I actually enjoyed most of my school reading, oddly enough, even the stuff that all the other kids were mortally bored by, like The Scarlet Letter and A Tale of Two Cities and stuff like that. I probably should reread some of them at some point, though, because I doubt that most teenagers can really fully comprehend serious literary works, at least on any kind of analytical level (which reminds me that I think the U.S. educational system should be overhauled pretty seriously, but that's for another time). I've gotten where I hate to reread stuff, though, unless it's really layered to begin with. That's why I love Gene Wolfe, I can reread his stuff for ages and still discover new meaning.


Same here. How many teenagers exactly can tell you what and why some kind of literary piece was famous for?


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, '15, 2:21 pm 
Bragatyr wrote:I remember that phenomenon of being forced to read slightly tedious stuff in school (and accompanying terrible, oppressive feeling). I actually enjoyed most of my school reading, oddly enough, even the stuff that all the other kids were mortally bored by, like The Scarlet Letter and A Tale of Two Cities and stuff like that. I probably should reread some of them at some point, though, because I doubt that most teenagers can really fully comprehend serious literary works, at least on any kind of analytical level (which reminds me that I think the U.S. educational system should be overhauled pretty seriously, but that's for another time). I've gotten where I hate to reread stuff, though, unless it's really layered to begin with. That's why I love Gene Wolfe, I can reread his stuff for ages and still discover new meaning.

I've actually been meaning to go back and read a number of classics for the first time. I never read Gulliver's Travels, for example, or The Red Badge of Courage.


It's funny, when I was in high school, I hated the vast majority of assigned reading. Obviously, no English/literature course can cover alllll the "classics", but it always felt like my friends in other classes were reading the books I wanted to read, while my class...did not. When I was in college, I eventually went to the bookstore and picked up copies of the books that I felt I should have read (To Kill a Mockingbird, Wuthering Heights, etc.), and left to my own devices, I actually wound up really liking most of them. Sometimes I wonder if I went back and revisited books like The Scarlet Letter or Moby Dick and reread them at my leisure I'd get more out of them, but right now, I just don't have the time.

I will add that when I went back to read the books I thought I missed out on, I was a little lukewarm Catcher in the Rye. I think that's one of those books where you have to be at a certain age the first time you read it to really love it, and by the time I got to it, I was probably too old.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, '15, 7:02 pm 
augmentedfourth wrote:It's funny, when I was in high school, I hated the vast majority of assigned reading. Obviously, no English/literature course can cover alllll the "classics", but it always felt like my friends in other classes were reading the books I wanted to read, while my class...did not. When I was in college, I eventually went to the bookstore and picked up copies of the books that I felt I should have read (To Kill a Mockingbird, Wuthering Heights, etc.), and left to my own devices, I actually wound up really liking most of them. Sometimes I wonder if I went back and revisited books like The Scarlet Letter or Moby Dick and reread them at my leisure I'd get more out of them, but right now, I just don't have the time.

I will add that when I went back to read the books I thought I missed out on, I was a little lukewarm Catcher in the Rye. I think that's one of those books where you have to be at a certain age the first time you read it to really love it, and by the time I got to it, I was probably too old.


That's a good point on both of these. I remember being interested in a lot of the books our classes didn't actually teach. It really is funny, but it's just hard to get excited about heavy reading that's forced on you, especially when you're fifteen or whatever. I couldn't even sit still at that time, much less give serious consideration to the social implications of Julius Caesar or Hamlet or whatever. But yeah, I haven't actually read Catcher in the Rye yet, so I'll be curious to see how I like it when I finally read it. It definitely seems to be an age thing. I remember really liking The Outsiders as a kid, probably because it was a teen thing.

But yeah, Hukos, I really do feel strongly about the fact that the way we teach English and literature in this country is broken. I hate math and I've always had a thing for English, but even for me some of the heavier stuff was difficult. It just seems to me that expecting kids of high school age to read and digest all of these extremely demanding literary works placed squarely in the milieu of a very foreign century and culture, like Shakespeare, for example, from a very different period of the English language when it was just emerging into the modern form, a form of the language given serious study by trained linguists with a heavy dose of completely foreign and incomprehensible vocabulary, is insane.

Most of the kids I went to school with could not comprehend a word of this stuff and absolutely hated English class, and ultimately learned pretty much nothing. I understand that there's a canon of English literature and ideally school districts want to teach the classics to students at a bare minimum, but when the students are completely left behind and retain nothing it seems to me that our educational system is failing. I've been encouraged by the fact that a lot of teachers, especially younger teachers, are now apparently using graphic novels like Watchmen alongside more contemporary literary works to introduce kids to more advanced literature. I think it might be worthwhile to choose one great past literary work for the semester, whether Shakespeare or whatever, devote more time to it, and focus on it in a more relaxed way, giving the students more time to take it in and really understand it, instead of rushing things along the way most schools seem to do.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 23, '15, 1:38 am 
I remember reading Wuthering Heights just for the fun of it around the time I was in high school. I do not remember almost anything from it, though...

I do get images of the old house in my mind, and some desolation, but that's it.

It may be time to read it again. :yes:


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 31, '15, 6:11 pm 
Just finished reading Bjarnar saga, one of the better sagas I've read, great story of lost love and vengeance and very well told. Now I'm reading Thorsteins saga. It also seems fun, though it's much more mythic and supernatural, but is also pretty well done so far (some of the sillier stuff in the sagas isn't). Any saga that opens up with a giant man banging down the door to the king's manor and killing two guardsmen with a single strike from a dual-bladed weapon is pretty awesome in my mind.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 2, '15, 1:16 am 
Finally finished "Voyage Of The Jerl Shannara:Isle Witch" and am now almost finished with the next book in the trio "Antrax". I have about a chapter or two left of it and then I will start with the final book in the triology "Morgawr". T his triology is a little slower than some previous books but the pace finally picked up and has gotten more interesting as it progressed along.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 5, '15, 10:12 pm 
I just finished "The Future of Life" by E.O. Wilson. A good read for an environmentalist. A bit inspiring, really, with some of the ideas he presents.

Now to peruse my bookshelf and/or Kindle to find my next read.

Edit: I found a Kurt Vonnegut book I haven't read yet. That must be rectified.


Last edited by Wolf Bird on Thu Feb 5, '15, 10:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, '15, 12:03 am 
Finished Doctor Sleep. Next one could be any from this list:

The Talisman.
'Salem's Lot.
The Green Mile.
Blaze.

I will take a couple of days to read a few comics, or else they will lie forgotten while I am eating another book. :mrgreen:


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 21, '15, 2:34 am 
I'm reading The Man Who Knew Too Much, by G.K. Chesterton. He's always fun.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 28, '15, 3:39 pm 
I finished The Panic Virus by Seth Mnookin last night. I've had it for a while, but finally read it considering its subject matter (vaccines) and recent news. Then I promptly read the first 3 chapters of Alice in Wonderland.


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