Summer Catalogue

Friday, August 11, 2006

Reading Requirements

Posted by Kathy | E-Mail The Author

Ah, yes. I remember high school - back in the day (as my daughter refers to it). We had a required reading list associated with our English classes. No excuses, no exceptions --- we were required to read and review books from a list of "classics." Now, if we wanted to attend college, the list of required and/or suggested reading grew even longer. By the time my youngest daughter was making her way through high school, reading requirements were a thing of the past. While I complained about it myself when I was in school and college, somehow I believe my daughter would have been better served to have had the same kind of requirement and to have discussed them in class with fellow students; not on a voluntary basis but as part of the normal requirements.

When younger I set a task for myself to continue to read all of the books on the then "suggested" reading lists -- just to be able to say that I had read them (which of course meant that I could view myself as particularly well educated!). And then, as a secondary task I started to read anything else written by the author on the orginal list. Whew!!! These days, I simply read what I enjoy -- doesn't matter whether its on a list somewhere or not. I like books that tell good stories...and that entertain me or suit my mood. Which for me means everything from westerns, science fiction, fantasy, historical romances, action & adventure, contemporary romances, especially today's current crop of vampire(or like characters) novels, to cozy mysteries and thrillers. Yep, I'll read just about any genre -- with the exception of horror novels. Now those will give me sleepless nights and continuing nightmares.

That said, I thought it might be interesting to list some of the books that were required reading, once upon a time:

Robinson Crusoe - written by Daniel Defoe in 1719
Gulliver's Travels - written by Jonathan Swift in 1726
Tom Jones - written by Henry Fielding in 1749
Pride and Prejudice - written by Jane Austin in 1813
Wuthering Heights - written by Emily Bronte in 1847
Moby-Dick - written by Herman Melville in 1851
Les Miserables - written by Victor Hugo in 1862
War and Peace - written by Leo Tolstoy in 1865
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - written by Mark Twain in 1885
Ulysses - written by James Joyce in 1922
The Great Gatsby - written by F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1925
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - written by Betty Smith in 1943

These are only a few from the list - but I thought these might be more familar to people today. All of these books are a part of our modern culture -- names that we recognize no matter where or how they are used. You may not have read the book, but you are familiar with it nonetheless.


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