Sunday, December 5, 2010

Favorite Classics

You know what really sucks? Senior year. AP classes, college apps, scholarships, FAFSA, regular classes, homweork, my school's Senior Project, sleep (if you're lucky), and spending time with friends (almost non-existent). As you can tell my blog has taken a back burner these last few months, simply because I haven't had the time to read any books. Scratch that, books that are not required to read.

However, I thought I'd talk about some of the books most of us are required to read in school.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Favorite Quote: "In two weeks it'll be the longest day in the year... Do you always watch for the longest day of the year and then miss it? I always watch for the longest day in the year and then miss it."

The Great Gatsby was published in 1925, and has come to be seen as a magnificnent representation of the Jazz Age. The novel relates the story of the life and lost love of Jay Gatsby--as told by Nick Carraway. It is far from my favorite classic, but I love the language of the novel. It isn't complex language, but it is beautiful. Fitzgerald had a way with stringing words together and creating emotion simply through his sentences. He was an a,azing writer and I think everyone should pick this novel up and read it at least once in their life.

Read it for: AP Language and Composition, Junior Year

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Favorite Quote: "It ain't that big. The whole United States ain't that big. It ain't that big. It ain't big enough. There ain't room enough for you an' me, for your kind an' my kind, for rich and poor together all in one country, for thieves and honest men. For hunger and fat."

The Grapes of Wrath is a novel writen by John Steinbeck. Published in 1939, the novel centers around the Joads, a family of sharecroppers, who journey to California to find a new life during the Dust Bowl. While the novel is one of the longer books I have ever read, it is one of my all-time favorites. The novel worked so well because as a reader you could relate to the Joads and the terrible hardhsips they faced on their way to California. Every loss was a loss I felt with them. It is an emotionally draining novel, but any story that can make you experience such emotions is one everyone should read.

Read it for: AP Language and Composition, Junior Year

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Favorite Quote: "I have sometimes sat alone here of an evening, listening, until I have made the echoes out to be the echoes of all the footsteps that are coming by and by into our lives."

One of Dicken's most widely read works, A Tale of Two Cities is a novel set in the backdrop of the French Revolution. I grew to love this one over time, but I also resented it in a way. I had to write 5 college-level essays analyzing the historical, biographical, gender, and close-reading influences on the novel. Once you disect a book to that degree, it loses its impact. This is one I wish I could have read on my own, and not as homework.

Read it for: AP Literature and Composition, Senior Year

What were some of your favorite required reading in high school or college? What about your least favorites?