Monday, April 02, 2007

Seasons Reading, Winter 2006-2007

As an abstract part of my studying for the CSET - English Single-Subject Exam, I got to reading many of the books I "should" have read in high school. Including:

Stephen Crane "The Red Badge of Courage" [The Civil War has never held much interest for me, but I loved this book. I'm still haunted by the dead soldier in the beautiful forest.] "The Open Boat" [A great little suspense short] "The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky" [Pleasant surprise, realizing "High Noon" was based upon this tight story], & "The Blue Hotel" [Great technically; I just wasn't that into it]

Harper Lee "To Kill a Mockingbird" [Absolutely everything it was lauded to be. Pure engrossing story. Also one of those rare occurrence's where the film adaptation does it justice.]

William Golding "Lord of the Flies" [Splendidly dark, and visceral. I can't remember feeling such fear for the well being of a character as I felt for Piggy.]

Joseph Conrad "Heart of Darkness" [A tad too verbose, but enjoyable - though not as much as I expected to] & "The Secret Sharer" [Couldn't bring myself to care about the characters.]

Christopher Marlowe "Dr. Faustus" [Browsing through my library sale cover-ripped first volume of the Norton Anthology I came upon this, and read it on a whim. A very enjoyable diversion, but certainly no Shakespeare]

Also read, as a writer:

David Foster Wallace "Brief Interviews with Hideous Men" [Technically superb, but so cold. While I marveled with envy at his talent, it wasn't until his story "Octet" that I began to enjoy it as entertainment.]

And to sate my sweet-tooth for genre fiction:

John Grisham "The Chamber" [Okay - not my favorite from Mr. Grisham. Mostly dried up my interest in law thrillers for the time being.]

Patrick O'Brian "Master & Commander" [I've always been drawn to tales of the sea, and military pageantry (I believe all military action should remain safely within the confines of fiction). A year of my college pleasure reading was consumed with Tom Clancy; O'Brian, for me, therefore, is the mature adult manifestation of military action and espionage. Though I can't say I know my mizzen from my reefs, I look forward to the remaining nineteen books in the Aubrey-Maturin series.]

And, I read, just because it was there...

Rick Beyer "The Greatest Stories Never Told" [A entertaining collection of 100 snack-sized historical anecdotes and overlooked occurrence's; a great book bathroom book.]

And finally, I ingested portions of these literary equivalents of steamed vegetables: Exceptional Learners, Teaching Today's Health, Elements of Grammar, and various CSET guides. Good for me, certainly, but not my preferred flavors.

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