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:
- 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.
- 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.”
- 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.