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Friday, July 11, 2008

Book Club Classics - Classics Meme

I was tagged by The Koolaid Mom for this meme, so here goes:

  1. What is the best classic you were “forced” to read in school (and why)?
  2. What was the worst classic you were forced to endure (and why)?
  3. Which classic should every student be required to read (and why)?
  4. Which classic should be put to rest immediately (and why)?
  5. **Bonus** Why do you think certain books become classics?

1. What is the best classic you were “forced” to read in school (and why)?

Well there are a couple, actually. Of course, I'd have to say Pride and Prejudice is at the top of the list, but I think I actually chose that from among a list to do a report on in 10th grade, so maybe that one shouldn't count. So, maybe I should say The Great Gatsby instead. I'm not really sure I can pinpoint exactly why this book spoke to me, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. My favorite book, though, that I was forced to read in high school would have to be Allen Drury's Advise and Consent. I read it for Ms. Montgomery's AP Government class, and I went into it thinking it was going to be a snooze-fest. 700+ pages discussing senatorial confirmations, come on! But, oh wow! I'm not sure if it's a classic in the strictest terms, but it should be.

2. What was the worst classic you were forced to endure (and why)?

Oh, there are so many. Dickens alone provided much of my reading angst in high school. And then there was Crime and Punishment, A Day No Pigs Would Die, Catcher in the Rye, and who can forget Lord of the Flies. Perhaps if I reread them now I'd be better equipped to appreciate them....but I'm not going to try and find out. Of all of them, I think A Day No Pigs Would Die takes my 'worst' honors. I just really saw no point in this one, other than to make me feel horrible.

3. Which classic should every student be required to read (and why)?

That's a hard question. I'm not sure there is one book I think everyone should read. Mostly, I think that we should all be able to read what we like. I don't like the idea of banning certain books from libraries because one or two moms finds them subversive. If you don't want your child reading Harry Potter, tell him not to. When he's an adult, he can decide for himself to read it or not. But, don't pull books off my children's library shelves because the ideas of a wizard book you've likely not even read offends your sensibilities.

4. Which classic should be put to rest immediately (and why)?

See #3. Honestly, I don't think there are any books I'd say shouldn't be available. Required reading? Well, that's hard to say. I know there are certain books that allow us glimpses into specific time periods as well as genres, and the fact that I might not particularly like the books doesn't really negate that. So, I'll just say that as a homeschooler, I would let my kids decide what they want to read - within limits, but there will probably come a time when I will want them to read certain books. They may not like them, but it can't all be candy sprinkles and sunshine.

5. **Bonus** Why do you think certain books become classics?

Well, I know the right answer probably has something to do with relevance and timelessness, but honestly, I can't even begin to see how The Illiad is relevant to me today. I do think that classics teach us things - about the times in which the book was written, about the way people thought, about life in general. I don't always get what it is I'm supposed to learn with certain 'classics', but I do think that most books that are considered classics have merit - even the ones I don't care for. While Moby Dick isn't exactly my cup of tea, I can see why it has stood the test of time. I do think it would be interesting to look back a few hundred years from now and see what books, of the so many that are published today, have become classics, and which ones have faded into obscurity.

So, what do you think? I'm tagging: The Boston Bibliophile and J. Kaye.

5 comments:

thekoolaidmom said...

A couple others have answered Pride and Prejedudice for #1, and one said P&P should be required because it'd be the only way to get teenage boys to read Austen and realize it's not girly-fluff.

As a fan of The Iliad, I have to speak up for it. What you get from it is 1) It speaks of the extent of trouble and heartache we can cause by a single impulsive choice. 2) It's a major fish in the collective conscious pool, and reading it helps you to be connected.

I enjoyed reading your post :-)

Traci said...

I don't have anything against The Iliad, so much as I just didn't feel a connection to it. I definitely feel it has a place in a library of classics if for no other reason than the history it represents.

Kristen said...

Thanks for playing! (my site is Book Club Classics) I love Jane Austen, too -- and The Great Gatsby, too :) By the way, I noticed you mentioned home schooling -- you may want to check out my new website. I had homeschooling folks in mind when I created it! http://www.litguides.com

J. Kaye Oldner said...

LOLOL! Okay, I'll play. :-D I'm posting on Wednesday.

Kathleen said...

I've never even heard of "A Day no Pigs Would Die" but lol I'll stay away from it!