Earlier this summer, I looked up my freshman daughter’s summer reading list. I was not at all impressed. Here’s the list for freshman students in the gifted and above-level classes (which aren’t really above level since any student who has kept a C average can take them, but that’s another rant for another time):
- Maximum Ride
- The Red Pyramid
- Ender’s Game
They have to read one book, one fairly easy very mainstream book. Fortunately for my kids, they have a mean mom who insures they are reading a whole lot more than one book. Both of my kids read a book this summer alright — a book a week, more like.
When we went to freshman orientation, my ire began to dissolve a little. We were given a list of her required reading and were able to buy some books there (that started up a whole new rant, because back when I was in school, those books were checked out like textbooks, but. . . . ).
The list is pretty standard:
- George Orwell’s Animal Farm
- Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet
- More Shakespeare: Midsummer Night’s Dream (I think — the particular title/version was listed as not available, but I’m thinking they’ll replace it with another edition?)
- A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
- Edith Hamilton’s Mythology
I remember when we were doing the Classics Bookclub here. The idea was that youth is wasted on the lost. I read many of those books — or was supposed to (cough, cough). I generally did, but I have to admit to relying heavily on Cliff and his notes for Dickens. But even when I read the books, and discussed the historical and contextual significance of them, and wrote essays about them, the true beauty was still lost.
I’m thinking that I might read A Tale of Two Cities this year in solidarity. But since I don’t have to, and she does, I’m not promising anything.
But I’m curious — were there novels or authors you remember reading in high school who captured your heart? Or made you want to read more? Or write something? Or relate? Let me know.
Jennifer Donovan survived high school once with no visible physical or mental scars and is hoping the same will be true for seeing her daughter through. She blogs at Snapshot.