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 Books you read in high school 
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I'm sure that you probably had to study at least one novel in each of your high school english classes and I'm curious as to which ones you read. Did you like any of them or did you absolutely hate every page? Do you think you would have enjoyed them more if you didn't have to analyze them to death or did in-depth analysis of symbols and themes allow you to appreciate the books, and literature in general, even more? Would you have preferred to study other standard novels?

I didn't take AP english in high school so I only had to study one novel per year (not including independent study). These were Animal Farm, Lord of the Flies, The Catcher in the Rye and The Great Gatsby. I really enjoyed the last two. The Catcher in the Rye was just really entertaining and I thought the story, characters and symbols in The Great Gatsby were wonderful. I was actually in the book store yesterday and decided to pick them up and read them again. Lord of the Flies just seemed really dry to me, at least when I read it. Too much description and symbols. It was painful to pick it apart. Animal Farm was cool but I don't remember much of it anymore.

If I could have studied another novel in place of Lord of the Flies, I would have liked to read To Kill a Mockingbird. I don't know too much about it, but my sister really liked it. Maybe I'll read it soon.

So did you guys have to read any of these or perhaps Of Mice and Men, Death of a Salesman, Heart of Darkness (*cringe*), or others?

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Mon Jun 13, 2011 10:05 pm
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Hated Catcher in the Rye. Holden Caulfield is a whiny little :censored: .

The Great Gatsby and Lord of the Flies were okay. I barely remember Heart of Darkness, but I think it was boring.

I can't remember all the books I read, but one that I liked enough that I bought a copy and have read it a couple of times since is Alas, Babylon. Very compelling look at a small town in Florida that survives an all-out nuclear exchange between the US and Russia during the 50s. Its a fascinating look at something that was a very real fear for that generation of Americans, but has absolutely no bearing on my mindset (I was born 2 years before the Berlin Wall fell, but I don't remember the Cold War at all).

Speaking of a prominent fear of the Soviet Union, that's a theme I notice in a lot of older sci-fi. Ender's Game, for instance, has the Warsaw Pact countries in a major position in world politics, hundreds of years in the future.

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Tue Jun 14, 2011 5:48 pm
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I assumed that Holden had many potential mental disorders so I have a hard time calling him whiny even though I didn't like the book.

8th Grade: The Pearl, Much Ado About Nothing... other stuff??
9th Grade: Of Mice and Men, The Miracle Worker, Romeo and Juliet, The Chocolate War
10th Grade: Lord of the Flies, A Separate Peace, Julius Caesar... again, I'm blanking on anything else.
11th Grade: Great Gatsby, Catcher in the Rye, Death of a Salesman, Macbeth
12th Grade: Dracula, Creature, Firestarter.

I most enjoyed the final year because it was an elective called "Literature of Horror" so I got to read a bunch of horror novels and watch old episodes of The Twilight Zone. Much Ado About Nothing was my favorite of the four Shakespeare plays, and The Chocolate War was my favorite of the numerous "OMG INNOCENCE IS LOST" novels that I had to read during high school. Lord of the Flies, Catcher in the Rye, Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet in particular had me gagging.

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Tue Jun 14, 2011 7:04 pm
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9th grade: Lord of the Flies, Romeo and Juliet, To Kill a Mockingbird, Oedipus Rex, some short stories
10th grade: Count of Monte Cristo, Julius Caesar, Cyrano de Bergerac, The Book Thief, some more short stories
11th grade (AP): Great Gatsby, Catcher in the Rye, Into the Wild, Catch-22, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Death of a Salesman, other stuff I can't remember since im mostly going by what i still have on my bookshelf at home
12th grade (AP): Heart of Darkness, 1984, The Power and the Glory, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Oedipus Rex (the trilogy this time), The Importance of being Earnest, Candide, The Scarlet Letter, Midsummer Night Dream, Frankenstein

My favorite of the lot is probably 1984, with Count of Monte Cristo being a close second. I'll try not to give much away for those who haven't read it, but the way that the events in Winston's life play out is very intriguing to me and was one of the only books I read this past year that I didn't want to put down.

Least favorite is definitely Heart is a lonely hunter. It was junior year's summer reading, and it was truly awful. I would explain why, but I've managed to bleach my brain of most of it.

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Tue Jun 14, 2011 9:29 pm
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Oh geez gonna have to rack my brains pretty hard, but

8th: Tomorrow when the war began, A bridge to wiseman's cove
9th: Deadly unna.. (probably other stuff i can't remember)
10th: Catcher in the rye, to kill a mockingbird
11th: Julius Caesar, 1984, brave new world
12th: Hard Times, The Quiet American, A Man for all Seasons

I hated all my books (apart from the 2 I read in year 8), and I didn't even read to kill a mockingbird, hard times, brave new world nor the quiet american. I did very well in my finals (39/50 with only 9% getting over 40) but I always thought I would've done better if the books that were chosen didn't have that Huck Finn dialect in them, or at least were interesting to read.

And jumping on the train here but I hated Catcher.

I have not read any of my prescribed books since, and don't really intend to. Actually I didnt mind 1984 but i lent it to someone I don't see anymore.

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Wed Jun 15, 2011 6:38 am
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I can't remember all the plays and short stories that I read freshman year, but things like Oedipus Rex were among them. As were parts of the Iliad, the Quran, the Torah, the Bible, etc. This past year (I'll be a senior next year) we read The Scarlet Letter, The Great Gatsby, To Kill a Mockingbird, and the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Blah, I need a list to organize it:

6th Grade: Read the first two Ender series books on my own (Shadow and Game)
8th Grade: None, but I read Flowers for Algernon on my own. It was so tragic ;.;. Also read the rest of both the Speaker for the Dead series and the Shadow series.
9th Grade: Oedipus Rex, something about Cleopatra, The Once and Future King, other things listed in the paragraph above
10th Grade: A Modest Proposal (not a book, but interesting nonetheless), The Social Contract (Robespierre), Things Fall Apart, stuff I can't remember
11th Grade: Scarlet Letter, Great Gatsby, To Kill a Mockingbird, Of Mice and Men, Huck Finn
Summer Reading this year: 1984, 100 years of Solitude, A Briefer History of Time, Ender in Exile (ties the Speaker and Shadow series)

1984 I also read last summer; the ending seemed too depressing, in a way, and I really didn't get anything from it the first time. But rereading it this summer has really allowed me to dive deeper in to parts of it; the long monologue "by" Goldstein was so booring the first time, but it was actually the most interesting part of the book this go around. Of Mice and Men and Flowers for Algernon both are faves of mine, showing the beauty of simplicity and the human soul.

A Modest Proposal: there's an interesting piece of work. It's basically Jonathan Swift's "proposal" to farm babies as a food source, to prevent overpopulation. He didn't mean any of it, but it makes you think (as I'm sure it made people think when he first wrote it). The Social Contract by Robespierre presents some of the most fundamental aspects represented in the American Dec. of Independence as well as the Constitution. Boring, but reading it as a class helped.

To Kill a Mockingbird was the biggest enjoyment of my junior year. The symbolism of the mockingbird and the different ideas/topics it covered was so fascinating. It also really helped that it was easy, intriguing reading. I really love everything about this book; hopefully I'll get my own copy soon. The Scarlet Letter was also really interesting, but, unfortunately, I never finished it. The Great Gastby had a cool writing style, but everything was so over my head that when you added it to the fact that I didn't really like the story, I wound up not enjoying it. Poor Gatsby, though. Huck Finn didn't interest me as much as any of the others, sadly. Jim is my favorite character in it, though. Tom Sawyer was much better (and easier to understand).

100 years of Solitude is a translated work from Spanish by Gabriel Garcia-Marquez. It follows the history of a family, the Buendias, whose first generation founds a city, through five more generations, to the destruction of the whole family and the town with it. Interesting, makes you think, and deserves reading. A Briefer History of Time is by Stephen Hawking; it basically follows the evolution of science and some of the more fundamental theories that fuel the universe. If you liked and understood Physics like I did, then you should definitely read this book. Plus, PICTURES. I haven't actually finished it yet, but it's really interesting so far.

My most recent reading is Ender in Exile. Orson Scott Card's whole Ender universe is so amazing; it covers the roles and responsibilities of sentient beings, nations, families, scientists. It presents so many moral lessons through it all, and it's SCIENCE FICTION. <333. The way Card presents everything in the whole series draws you in; it's not all about fighting or befriending aliens, either. Human conflict and character plays into these books A LOT.

tl;dr, I liek books. :D And the ones you read in high school aren't always that bad, lol.

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Fri Jul 08, 2011 8:36 pm
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