Reading Goal #3: Read the Books I’ve Been Avoiding.

This is perhaps my toughest challenge.

Ever since high school, I hated being told what to read. I hated reading books because someone else decided they were valuable, or “classics”. Although I loved to read and was an otherwise great student, I am ashamed to admit that I made my way through high school essentially avoiding reading every book I was ever supposed to read, with the exception of Metaphorphosis (because it was short; I still thought it was stupid), and 1984 (but only months after it was assigned, because we were also putting on the stage production of it, and it suddenly felt relevant to me).

Some harsh confessions of an Honor Roll student include reading the Children’s Illustrated Classics version of Frankenstein instead of the actual  book, giving up half way through Great Expectations, and doing my entire Junior year panel project on Grapes of Wrath only ever reading the first page of each chapter. Terrible, I know. And the guilt still hasn’t left me. Which is why I still feel the need to right this wrong.

I feel I owe it to myself, and to my high school English teachers, (Mrs. Kobza, Mrs. Nee, and Mr. Moeller, if you’re reading this, I am so, so sorry!) to make up for the errors of my ways.

So, starting in 2012, I vow to attempt the following things:

  1. I will find a high school reading list, a list of “classics”, or my own personal list of books I feel I should have read, and attempt to read at least 4 a year.
  2. I will try not to be immediately against a book just because it was recommended to me, assigned in high school, or is considered a “classic.”
  3. I will read Grapes of Wrath cover to cover so I can finally feel I earned the A I received.

I hope that if I do these three things, I will be relieved of a deep and lingering guilt that has stayed with me for nearly a third of my life.

One thought on “Reading Goal #3: Read the Books I’ve Been Avoiding.

  1. God, I still can’t get through “Great Expectations”. I did really enjoy “Grapes of Wrath” though. The other books I remember reading in high school (in case you need them for your list) are: The Scarlet Feather, As I Lay Dying, The Great Gatsby, Spoonriver Anthology, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I probably read more than that, but that’s all I can remember. I really liked all of them, actually. As I Lay Dying is, to this day, the most difficult thing I’ve ever read. It’s out of control. SpoonRiver Anthology was REALLY cool–such an interesting concept (the people all in the same graveyard are writing poems to you about their life lessons and advice they want to impart–there are all kinds of connections and scandals in the poems because the people mostly know each other from having lived in the same town all their lives). Good luck!

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