A fresh MM
How did you react to assigned reading when you were in school/university/college/etc? How do you think on these books now? What book were you ‘forced’ to read when you where in school that you’ve since reread and loved?
I have to be honest – I was, am, a complete geek when it comes to reading lists. I’ll eagerly wait for the coming year’s booklist at the end of each school year to see see what I would be reading. I think I was more excited about those booklists than Christmas. Needless to say, I was very good at reading every text in high school.
It was the same throughout uni. This time, however, I had the luxury to peruse the subject’s prescribed texts before I enrolled so their list played a large part in deciding which subject I chose. Again, I had no trouble finishing the texts but I did have immense trouble with Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, much like Just One More Page. I also had trouble with Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis last year. His bizarre religious ranting just went on and on and I grew impatient.
I have kept all my texts/books and I have fond memories of them. Curiously, I’m currently re-reading Bernard Schlink’s The Reader which I studied in year 11. These book lists opened up new worlds to me that it would have taken me much longer to discover by myself. From Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men in year 8, Winterson’s Oranges are not the only fruit in year 10, Bronte’s Jane Eyre in year 11, Austen’s Pride and Prejudice in year 12 along with Camus’ The Outsider and classics such as Homer, Euripedes, Sophocles and Virgil. Standouts during uni are Anne Fadiman’s The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, Collins’ The Woman in White, Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber and Woolf’s A Room of one’s own. But I think the text that strucked me the most was reading Mahatma Gandhi’s Autobiography and having his great-grandaughter lecture on him. That was most surreal and amazing. 🙂
I’m very glad that the schools I went to helped nurtured my enthusiasm for reading and continued to encourage us to explore.