Working at my public library in Madison, Connecticut, I’ve made many many friends who relish books as much as I do. One longtime reader of another blog I maintain, Lisa R. and I were discussing books last week. She asked me if I always had a love for reading. Honestly when I went to high school, you couldn’t pay me to read. And I told this to Lisa. I understand some of you may take umbrage with what I’m about to say, but I can say without hesitation the reason I didn’t want to read in middle school and high school is the books we were given to read.
Let’s be honest, many students in the primary school system aren’t mature enough to understand the symbolism in the books they are required to read:
The Scarlet Letter
Grapes of Wrath
These are just three books that are on many reading lists. I read all three of these in high school, and I found them completely dull, and without any style. I’m sure many students would agree. I didn’t understand what these books were attempting to put forth.
Now some thirty years after high school I’ve gone back and re-read The Scarlet Letter and Lost Horizon multiple times and I adore them. I see the books in a much different light now. I understand the symbolism.
Grapes of Wrath? Still haven’t been able to get passed 50 pages in that book. However I’ve read just about every other book by Steinbeck.
Cannery Row is my favorite
Hemingway is another classic reading list book.
The Old Man and the Sea was a HUGE favorite of mine when I read the book in the eighth grade. Hemingway became the exception. And I devoured every book he published. My favorite? That’s easy:
The Sun also Rises
Primary School Reading Lists?
While they have their place, I think we should reconsider the books being placed on those lists. After all the reason behind those lists is to encourage reading, correct? Some of the books on standard reading lists need to be refreshed.
That’s my two cents for what it’s worth.
Until next time…
Turn the page.