Books You Have to Read for SchoolAugust 16, 2009 at 12:48 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments
So, this is more a reading-based blog entry than a writing one, but I wanted to bring this up. I love to read, and I read a wide variety of books – but pretty much every book that gets forced on me at school, I hate.
Lord of the Flies bored me to tears. Brighton Rock by Graham Greene did the same – the characters did nothing for me, the plotline didn’t excite me and having to read it more that once was torture. Lies of Silence by Brian Moore was okay – but that was it. I didn’t find it unputdownable, just more tolerable than the rest.
This year I have been given perhaps the first school book that I haven’t hated – Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. I read it in a night, found it addictive reading (although I was a little disappointed by the ending) and yet I’m not too sure about studying it intensely next year. I’m worried that I will hate it after I’ve read it for the third or fourth time and have read so much more into it than the writer could possibly have put into it.
On that point, as a writer as well as a reader, I don’t believe that it’s possible for writers to put in as much symbolism/underlying messages/dramatic irony as teachers seem to believe. Seriously, the amount of annotations I have in my set text – writing a book would take about ten years if you meticulously thought about all those little details!
So, is it the re-reading that makes so many school books dull, or do they just have a knack of picking books that don’t interest students? Or do you love all the books your school makes you read?
This is partly to see what people think, and part vent – my current school book (Spies by Michael Frayn) isn’t particularly drawing me in. So what are the best and worst books you’ve ever been forced to dissect for school?
Give me Harry Potter related essays any day. :D