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What books did you read in school?


Curious layman

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How is that relevant ?
What if he had been carrying a paper, like NYT ?
Or a doll ?
Or walking a dog ?
The only connection is in his ( deranged ) mind.

You guys are trying to find sensical, causal structures in the thinking of a madman

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  • 11 months later...

I picked up Animal Farm from the school library thinking it was some fun book for primary school students. I went through a few pages but didn't find it satisfying for a primary school me and just returned it. At middle school, I picked the same book and read it. This time, I was able to understand the surface-level idea of power and hypocrisy and loved it. I then happened to re-read the book in college and I was able to understand the allegory in it - What ideology did they represent? Who Old major, Snowball, and Napoleon were? What was the need for the allegory? The man and reason behind the work - I was stunned. The sheer audacity to compress decades of important world history, political characters, ideology in 100 odd pages with animals and a farm was flabbergasting. I still read Animal farm often and now I'm more interested in individual interpretations and reception of the classic novel. The Animal farm essay in this page has multiple interpretations that I've been reading and enjoying off late.

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The first real book I remember reading was "When Worlds Collide" and then "After Worlds Collide" probably jr high school, that was the first time I had access to a library. I am sure I read other books before that but I don't really remember much about them.  

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I was excused Eng. Lit,. PE. & RE. for most of my school career in favour of trumpet practice.

However, I do recall two literature texts from those times. I was young for my year, and arguably young for my age too, but I found Shane to be banal and The Tempest to be both hilarious and spiritually upliftiting (ie 'magical').

Independently, I'd read my mother's cherished Lord of the Rings at around 13, and that had a big impact. Then later, through college years I was introduced to the classic political works: Animal Farm, 1984, Brave New World etc. Interesting but not life changing.

Four works I read in my mid-twenties stand out as being character forming. Sartre's Roads to Freedom trilogy; Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita; Sholokhov's And Quiet flows the Don; and (particularly) Canetti's Auto da Fe. All four of which tore deeply into my soul but left me stronger for it. I wouldn't recommend any of these works for school curriculum. Children don't need horror, but adults need to be ready for it.

 

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I wish we had read authors like Dostoyevsky in school, but maybe we were too young.  Most of my reading during K-12 was outside of the school curriculum.  But school did expose me to writers like Orwell, Twain, Hawthorne, and Steinbeck, along with some Shakespeare.  And like every high school student in the US, I read Catcher in the Rye.  Outside the schoolhouse, I ranged widely through sci-fi, adventure, anthropology and many science books.  Later, in my twenties, classics - Dostoyevsky, Camus, Nabokov, Kant, Poe, HG Wells, et al.   

I remember @Moontanman mentioned book, When Worlds Collide, partly because Hutchinson, Kansas becomes the US capital city after a catastrophe and we lived near there.  Hutchinson as the capital of anything is a hilarious concept.  

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  • 4 months later...

Back in school, I wasn't really a fan of the books we had to read, but getting to uni gave me a whole new love for modern lit. It just connects with how fast-paced and crazy our world is now, unlike the old-school classics. You should totally check out "The Vanishing Half" by Brit Bennett (2020). It's a deep dive into who we are and the messy issue of race. And don't miss "Such a Fun Age" by Kiley Reid (2019), which takes a hard look at privilege and societal stuff. These new-age stories are pretty refreshing, not like the usual stuffy academic stuff we're used to.

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