Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss

Sandi Shilhanek | Reading the Classics

June 7, 2009

With the schools in my area having graduated this weekend it got me reminiscing about my own high school years. There’s not a lot I remember about them, but I do remember in Freshman English having to read The Red Pony by John Steinbeck. I don’t want to dish any author, but have to honestly say I hated it. I didn’t care if I ever read another book by Steinbeck as long as I lived!

Flash forward to Junior English, and having to again read Steinbeck. This time we were given “a choice” of the book Of Mice and Men or The Grapes of Wrath. What was never stated but understood was that the better students were to do The Grapes of Wrath and the students who were struggling a bit could do Of Mice and Men. Even though I had that love of reading I so wanted to Of Mice and Men just because it was so much thinner than The Grapes of Wrath, but I knew which I must read, and so I did. I will admit to really liking The Grapes of Wrath and deciding that maybe Steinbeck wasn’t as boring as all that. Whether or not it made me read more of him back then I don’t recall, and I don’t really see myself rushing out to stock up on him now.

However, high school and college required reading to force me into books I might never have read otherwise, and truly enjoyed such as Native Son by Richard Wright and Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury.

My own sons are not readers in any sense of the word. I’m not even sure my oldest really ever completed a reading assignment, but I know that my youngest read Pride and Prejudice this year and judging by his grades had to have enjoyed it. (Should I dare mention that I’ve never read it?) Will they take their reading experiences and remember it years down the road as I did? Very doubtful! What about you? Do you remember reading something in high school or college that you might not have read, but now think; Wow! I’m glad I read that. Would you read it now or recommend to someone who has never read it that it’s still required reading to be a well rounded reader?

Until next week happy page turning!

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