Archive for August, 2011

August 2, 2011

Re-Evaluating High School Reading

Most schools in our area resume in about a month. There’s still plenty of time for some last-minute summer reading.

Local summer reading lists include a mix of old standbys–Jane Eyre, Huck Finn, 1984, various Dickens, Anne Frank, etc.; hot young-adult bestsellers like Scott Westerfield’s Leviathan or Cassandra Clare’s Clockwork Angel; and some unusual adult genre fiction choices, such as Lee Child. I, for one, was happy to see Terry Pratchett’s The Wee Free Men recommended at one local school.

It’s fantastic that more and more young-adult books are being put on high school reading lists. I despised many of the books I read in high school, probably because I didn’t really understand them.

Another seminal high-school read is William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. For some inexplicable reason, about 30% of visitors to the Book Cellar blog come here because they’re searching for the book cover image to Lord of the Flies.

Back by popular demand!

I read Lord of the Flies in high school and hated it. Correction: I read three chapters (the first, the last, and–spoiler alert!–the chapter where Piggy gets crushed by a rock), and hated it. (But I still aced my test!) Admittedly, I’m probably not the world’s greatest judge of the book’s quality. Still, I have no desire to re-read this book. Human nature is despicable and violent. I get it. Do I really need a whole book demonstrating this? My current opinion is, of course, highly influenced by my latent teenage disgust. Are there any books you read in high school and felt one way, but reading it later in life changed your opinion?

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