Today in shocking confessions of Melanie…
I am a college English teacher, and I haven’t read all *101of the books every high school student should read, according to the College Board, the administrators of the SAT test taken by college bound high school students.
I have read a number of tomes on the list—I refuse to tally how many—and have read several or all of the books of some authors listed, like Ernest Hemingway. You’re not impressed, are you? I didn’t think so.
I have gaps in my education. Some gaps you could drive a Chevy Suburban through. I’ve read a lot of books, but not nearly, not even close, to the number that many of you have read. Yes, you! And I’m the English teacher. Chance are, you are not. Life is strange, strange, strange.
Guess what else? I don’t confine my reading to certified “literary” books, either. When I teach literature classes, we spend a fair amount of time questioning what is “literature,” and who gets to vote in that election, anyway?
I read popular novels. There, I’ve said it. A hush falls over the blogging universe. I read detective, suspense, spy novels, some fantasy, to include… VAMPIRES and BOUNTY HUNTERS. Sookie Stackhouse of the True Blood books has a friend in me. Stephanie Plum, Evanovich’s Jersey bounty-hunter, is next to my bed in the form of Seven Up.
I do read “literature,” too, whatever that means. When I’m picking out a book to read, I don’t often consider whether the book fits someone’s criteria of literature. Go ahead, call me a slacker, although I prefer the term “dissident.” For example, George Eliot’s (born Marian Evans) rebellious life fascinates me; her novel, Middlemarch, not so much. I’ve tried in great earnestness to read this book, hailed by some as the greatest novel of all time, three times over the years. Nope, I can’t do it. Not yet.
I don’t give up easily on books—it took me about six years and three tries before I read Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls. That third time, I loved it so much I followed it up with every novel my man Hem wrote.
There’s still breath in my body, a charged-up battery in my Kindle, and a library card in my wallet. Oh, and a Barnes and Noble coupon in there somewhere. I’m not dead yet, so I should be able to knock a few more books down before I head for the big Shakespeare festival in the sky. Whether the books will be on the College Board’s list, I can’t say, but a few of them probably will.
So George Eliot, be patient, and Stephanie Plum, I’ll see you tonight.
How about you? Is there a “classic” book you’ve tried to read several times you just couldn’t finish?