...yes, that's right. The last meme of the year. And I think this might be the last blog post of the year too, since I'm taking next week off from work (sorta) and I really won't want to be near the computer if I can avoid it.
I'm stealing this meme from Suz, who stole it from Kirsten. I have an almost abnormal recollection of things that I read...
(1) The Works of Shakespeare. Well, I started in 3rd grade with Romeo and Juliet (yes, the full version, no Cliff's Notes), had a disaster narrowly averted in 4th grade after doing a report on such (and had already read Twelfth Night and As You Like It by then) and I think there may be a couple of sonnets that I haven't read.
(2) Declaration of Independence. American History. 7th grade.
(3) Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn. 3rd grade. On my own.
(4) Poems of Emily Dickinson. I've read a few as part of my AP British Literature class in high school. Senior year. I didn't really like her work that much.
(5) Poems of Robert Frost. All of them? No, but I've read quite a few - junior and senior years of high school.
(6) Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter. Freshman year, high school. On my own.
(7) F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby. Sophmore year, high school. On my own. Again in junior year in college.
(8) George Orwell, 1984. The summer I turned 12 (which was in 1983 incidentally). Read it on my own along with Animal Farm. Dad had them both on his bookcase, I was bored, and I picked it up and read it.
(9) Homer, The Odyssey and The Iliad. Freshman year, college. Required reading for a great works class (a.k.a. Seminar - we took 4 of them at Saint Mary's - it was required of all students)
(10) Charles Dickens, Great Expectations & Tale of Two Cities. High school. On my own. Didn't find my favorite Dickens book until I was in college and was required to read Hard Times for one of those seminar classes when I was a junior.
(11) Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales. Sophmore year, college. The entire work. Read Dante's Inferno that year too. Both for Seminar.
(12) J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye. Junior year, high school. Required reading in class and discussion around it. I recall writing a paper drawing parallels between Holden's desperation and depression as a person and the angst of the current teenage climate (at the time). It ended up in my college submission folders, and had my adviser (who was also the teacher for that class) a little worried that the prize honors student was so in touch with angst. Oh if he only knew (I told him what he wanted to hear so that I didn't have to sit through multiple counseling sessions trying to "fix me" when nothing was really wrong)
(13) The Bible. All of it. Multiple times. Did I mention that I went to Catholic schools for elementary and high school? I've read nothing from the Bible in the last 10 years though unless it was an excerpt during a Mass. We don't even have one in the house. Oh, and for those who think I should have a Bible, please don't run out and buy one for us. That's something I think we need to decide on for ourselves.
(14) Henry David Thoreau, Walden. I slept through it in junior year high school English. Same class I read Catcher in the Rye in.
(15) Sophocles, Oedipus. Freshman year, college. Seminar class.
(16) John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath. Junior year, high school English. I liked it, but I liked Of Mice and Men more (which wasn't required reading, I went and found more Steinbeck books that seemed more interesting)
(17) Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essays and poems. Um, probably read one or two of those. I don't remember. Which means either I've not read anything by him or I've blocked it out of my mind as one of those things to never ever read again.
(18) Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass. Sophmore year, high school English. Required reading. Hated it.
(19) Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice. Read it. Once. On my own. It was... torturous. I liked Sense and Sensibility only slightly more. Yes, ladies, I really can't quite stomach Jane Austen. Sorry.
(20) Herman Melville, Moby Dick. College, junior year seminar. Not a bad book. Everyone should read it not as fiction but as a man's futile search for meaning. And as one of my college roommates always said "reading it while lit works too". No, I didn't agree with her.
(21) Anything by William Faulkner. I don't recall reading anything by Faulkner. Ever.
(22) John Milton, Paradise Lost. Senior year, high school, AP British Literature. It wasn't bad.
(23) Virgil, The Aeneid. Sophmore year, college. Seminar. No, I didn't like it that much.
(24) Plato, The Republic. Freshman year, college. Seminar. You know, I think this was the piece that made me start hating Seminar classes and really hating philosophers in general. Which was a big misstep when I said that to my philosophy major boyfriend at the time, but no, it wasn't the reason we broke up. He understood that I couldn't take any more classic literature shoved down my throat and promptly stopped trying to get me to read Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" and handed me a John Grisham novel called "A Time To Kill" instead. Yes, that's when the book was just out.
(25) Karl Marx, The Communist Manifesto. Junior year, college, Seminar. Yes, we read the whole thing. And dissected it. And compared it to current political situations in the world. No, I don't ever want to read it again.
(26) Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince. Oh, I loved this. I had to read it one semester in college for seminar and another seminar for a business class. So I read it twice during my junior year. The principal that stuck with me the most was the guiding theme at the beginning - is it better to be feared or loved as a leader. I've used that principle in business dealings ever since when I've had people to manage. I worked with one guy who said he would rather be feared because then he'll get the people to do what he wanted. He didn't care if they were late because of childcare or a dead car - they had to be on time and ready to work, and screw their personal lives. He'd revoke approved time off requests when he realized he wouldn't make his number. I never got along with the guy in the first place, but this made me hate him more. I'll have to go into that in another blog topic someday...
(27) Alexis DeTocqueville, Democracy in America. I've read excerpts - junior year, college, Seminar. I don't have an opinion either way.
(28) Feodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment. Junior year, high school. On my own, on the recommendation of my history teacher at the time (we were both in the library at the same time).
(29) Aristotle, Politics. Freshman year, college. Seminar again. Yes, there are a lot of things I wouldn't have read on my own if it weren't for the required seminars.
(30) Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace. On my own. Senior year in high school.
Yes, I guess from this list you could make the assumption that I am a well-read individual, and you would be correct. I wouldn't say that I necessarily liked any or all of the pieces, but I should probably pick up The Canterbury Tales again and read through those. I have the itch to read Shakespeare again too. Ah well, at some point soon I will...
...after all, the DDs will be reading those works soon too.