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Booklists and why they are unloved

If unloved is a word at all.

At any rate, I was going to talk about reading lists. Especially the ones that teachers give students to read over the summer.
I don't know about your school system, but mine makes students read books over summer break. Things like classic literature (usually Shakespearean texts) and other world literature.
And sure, reading lists are useful. Most people don't pick up great big heavy books labeled CLASSIC on their spines because the general opinion on literature seems to be that they are: a. endless and boring, b. full of symbolism and imagery and foreshadowing and other literary terms that always seem to pop up unexpectedly, and c. are not exciting. And I admit, some of them are. If you don't love, love to read thick books, don't knock yourself out by trying to read War and Peace. Take it from someone who has--it's not fun to slog through. I can't read Jules Verne, either, and other venerated but deathly-boring authors, But there are others out there--look for the ones that *oops!* also achieved big sales. While Jane Austen's language might take a bit getting used to, her books are excellent. Margaret Mitchell's Gone With The Wind has unbelievable prose. Catch-22 infuriated me to no end, but made me laugh. And of course the famous classics: Lord of the Rings, L.M. Montgomery, Daphne du Maurier, Aurthur Conan Doyle's famous Sherlock Holmes novels and short stories, F. Scott Fitzgerald's works, Shakespeare's works , and scores that I haven't read.

But then again, who likes being thrust a sheet of paper and told to read these titles? And then be expected to analyze them afterward? Reading, at least for me, has always been purely for fun--I don't consciously go  about looking for themes, and identifying "Character A is a character foil to Character B". Bestseller novels are bestselling for  a reason. And not only that, but popular culture has messages, too--it's not just an airheaded statement. Temeraire, The Dog Barked in the Nighttime, The Raw Shark Texts, Diana Gabaldon, Diane Duane, and on and on.

Reading lists are a necessary evil--but they're not everything, thank God.



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