Friday, 30 March 2012

Talking Point: Books You Read For School

Alison Can Read and Rebecca Books both recently posted about the books they were forced to read for school, and I thought I'd join in on the fun! I've started with Year 7 because, frankly, that's about as far back as I can remember (also, do you even have assigned reading in primary school? I remember "quiet reading" time where we could read our own books but that's about it). This is definitely not a complete list, but I guess these are the texts that made a dent.

Year 7

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare: This was the year after Baz Luhrmann's movie came out and I was still totally obsessed with it - and Leonardo Dicaprio - so I was thrilled to be studying it. I even brought in my own copy of the play (which I had because it was attached to the screenplay, which I had because I was THAT obsessed with the movie - and with Leo). I was subsequently yelled at by the English teacher for not reading the same copy everyone else in the class was reading. And that's about all I remember from those lessons.

A Fortunate Life by Albert Facey: I remember being mildly fascinated but mostly bored. I should probably reread it as an adult.

Year 8

Lockie Leonard, Scumbuster by Tim Winton: Now this was a book I could get behind. I loved the Lockie books back in the day - especially all the young romance, pashing and even the odd bit of petting. So scandalous!


Year 9 

Macbeth by William Shakespeare: I actually enjoyed this play. I didn't enjoy the craptastic audio version we had to listen to for weeks - the experience has put me off trying audio books to this day.


The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier: I wouldn't say I enjoyed this book, but I certainly valued it. It opened my eyes to the Holocaust for the first time and provided a chilling but insightful account of life for a group of Jewish kids during World War II.


Year 10

Brother in the Land by Robert Swindells: This book gave me nightmares for a long, long time. I found it so disturbing - I still shudder to think about the plot. It didn't help that we were reading it around the same time that the September 11 terrorist attacks happened, and I was petrified terrorists were going to attack us with nucleur bombs. Fun times. 

Year 11

As You Like It by William Shakespeare: The only one of Shakespeare's comedies I've ever read. Judged purely on this, I prefer his tragedy.

Year 12

King Lear by William Shakespeare: This was probably my favourite Shakespeare in high school. It's such a twisted, awesome tale. It was also the one I studied in the most depth, seeing as it was a whole unit for the HSC.

Emma by Jane Austen: Studying Emma was my gateway into reading Austen. I absolutely adored it - and the fact that we also got to study Clueless because it was based on the book. Definitely my favourite English unit from school! I enjoyed it so much I immediately read Pride and Prejudice. I told my English teacher, thinking he'd be impressed, but he just scolded me for not reading widely enough. Note: this was the same teacher who yelled at me in Year 7 for bringing in my own edition of Romeo and Juliet. What a guy.

What were your favourite (or least favourite) "forced" reads from school?

13 comments:

  1. I remember assigned reading as far back as the fifth grade, in both languages, so I guess it does happen in some places.

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  2. I actually loved most of my assigned readings during high school. We also had assigned readings in my mother tongue and they were great too. I guess I still remember them since that's just at most 7 years ago for me. Heehee.

    1st year of high school (I was around 11 to 12): Silas Marner by George Elliot, Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane and Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

    2nd year: To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee, A Separate Peace by John Knowles, Without Seeing the Dawn by Stevan Javellana and Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

    3rd year: Siddharta by Hesse Herman, The Kitchen God's Wife by Amy Tan and Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

    4th year: Edith Hamilton's Mythology, The Once and Future King by T.H. White, Les Miserables by Victor Hugo and Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

    I don't know why we didn't have any William Shakespeare but I was still thankful that we read classics/sorta classics since I can read all my YA now. Kidding! I still read a classic at times but YA are just so my thing. Haha!

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    1. Wow so many classics! I'm impressed you remembered them all :)

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  3. We had to do a Shakespeare every year at my high school. My favourites were Midsummer Night's Dream and Hamlet - Hamlet was a HSC unit, so pretty in depth study. I remember I'd read a book written from Ophelia's perspective right before I read Hamlet, so I got really disappointed when she turned out to be such a limp non-character in the actual play. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein in year 11 was one of my least favourites. The themes were cool, the story not so much. In year 12 we got to study crime fiction, which was probably my favourite unit of all, but after finishing high school I drifted straight back to fantasy and contemporary fiction.

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    1. That's so cool you got to study crim fiction! I didn't do Frankenstein, I read it after school and I loved it, so perhaps it's fortunate I didn't have to study it.

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  4. I remember studying Romeo & Juliet, Macbeth and Emma/Clueless as well as Looking For Alibrandi and The Bridge to Terabithia. I really want to go back through all my school things and find all the books I studied!

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    1. I read Looking fro Alibrandi during high school, but not for class. That would have been awesome to study - though sometimes being forced to read it can suck the fun out of things!

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  5. I read so much through high school I'd be hard pressed to remember all of the titles but the three that stick out in my mind are To Kill a Mockingbird, Brave New World and King Lear. Those three novels affected me in so many profound ways and guided my reading for years.

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    1. I know a lot of people who studied Brave New World but my class didn't do it - I still haven't read it! I probably should soon.

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  6. We read a lot in school and mostly I liked the books.
    During my year 12 and 13 we read a lot about World War II and its impacts in German class, like "Naked Among Wolves" by Bruno Apitz, "The Reader" by Bernhard Schlink and "All Quiet on the Western Front" by Erich Maria Remarque which impressed me a lot.
    I hated "Effi Briest" by Theodor Fontane because it was boring and pointless and "Homo faber" by Max Frisch, it was confusing and too much to take in for someone in Year 10.
    I really enjoyed reading Franz Kafkas short stories aswell even though I didn't get most of the things he was writing about.
    We also had to read the first book of "Faust" by Goethe, which was really interesting and read some scenes of book two, but there was no real story in the second book.

    In English class I really enjoyed reading "Lord of the Flies" and "Brave New World". My class also read "Macbeth" by Shakespeare, but I have to admit that I didn't understand a word of it (same with the German translation)

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    1. Shakespeare isn't easy to understand at the best of times! I've read a bit of Kafka but the rest I haven't - sounds like some interesting reads! I'm interested in WWII so I'll have to check those out.

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  7. I did not read any Jane Austen in high school (or college, for that matter). I discovered her on my own. Well, someone mentioned I might like her, but I chose to read Austen all by myself. I'm so proud!

    In high school, I remember reading The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner and Dubliners by James Joyce. Never again. I do, however, still have a fondness for Hamlet.

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    1. I haven't read any Faulkner or Joyce. It's tough having to study texts that are hard to get through though!

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