Thursday, June 5, 2008

Summer reading!

I originally started this blog last summer, as a way of posting critiques of the various books that I have read. Last summer I read 28 books. As summer officially approaches, I'm starting to think about the books I may read this summer.

This year I'm thinking about revisiting the books that I had to read for my Honors English class during my sophomore year of high school. Out of all of the English courses I took during my schooling, this was the year filled with the books that I enjoyed the most, books that have stayed with me for more than fifteen years. We started off the year with a mythology unit, and we read various Greek and Roman myths. I still have the anthology that we used for this unit. We then progressed to The Odyssey, which remains one of my favorite stories, even though I haven't read it in years. After we finished The Odyssey, we moved on to Wuthering Heights, then The Catcher in the Rye, Flowers for Algernon, and, finally, A Separate Peace.

I really can't think of any occurring themes that link all of these books together, since this English class was a survey of different genres of literature, with a lot of grammar thrown in. I give mad props to my English teacher for helping me master English grammar and for teaching me to write a good research paper. Mrs. Juda, if you ever read this, THANK YOU!!

I took two of Mrs. Juda's classes my senior year. During the first semester I took English Literature, where we read Beowulf, The Canterbury Tales, and one of Shakespeare's plays. (Sadly, I can't remember which one we read, but I want to say it was Hamlet. Oh, I just remembered--we read Macbeth sophomore year as well). During the second semester I took American Literature, where we read a lot of Thoreau and Emerson. I became very interested in the transcendentalist movement as a result of this course. Sadly, I don't remember reading any novels in American lit; as a second-semester senior, my focus was on counting down the days before graduation and going to college.

Last year I bought The Canterbury Tales at my favorite used book store. If I have the opportunity, I plan to re-read it this summer. We only read a handful of the Canterbury Tales; since I attended a Catholic high school, there were some tales that weren't appropriate for us to read. (Ironic, considering that The Catcher in the Rye was--and in some places, is still--a banned book).

However, before I read any of those glorious novels, I need to get through The Devil in the White City. That's the latest book that my book club is reading, and at last check, no one has started it yet! Guess I'll have to start cracking soon...

In the meantime, here's some more books I want to read this summer:

Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen
Teacher Man, by Frank McCourt
The Brooklyn Follies, by Paul Auster
Lake Wobegon Days, by Garrison Keillor
The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant
Blackberry Wine, by Joanne Harris
In a Sunburned Country, by Bill Bryson
The Mother Tongue, by Bill Bryson
Neither Here Nor There, by Bill Bryson

And there are a few more, but that's for another post. I'm currently reading an anthology of essays about "the book that changed my life", and that's one I plan to re-read this summer. The next time I write, I shall post about this wonderful work that has affected my life so dearly.

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