Sunday, August 5, 2012

Back to the Literature

As per my usual pattern, because it's summertime, I'm finding myself drawn to lighter reads. But while browsing around Barnes and Noble yesterday, I came across the table of recommended literature for summer. I assumed the table was mostly targeted toward high school students, which made me realize that I read most of these great works when I was in high school myself, which was.... thirteen years ago. I remember most of them reasonably well, but I can't claim I'm able to carry on an involved conversation about any of them.

Of course, there are a few that I've re-read over the years, such as The Handmaid's Tale and the novels of Jane Austen. But it's been too long since I've experienced The Catcher in the Rye, Of Mice and Men or The Bell Jar. I've also never read Brave New World, which was required reading in my dad's English classes but not at my high school. To be fair to myself, I read most of what was lying around the house in addition to my English class assignments and went above and beyond the recommended reading lists at the time, but there are still a few books left on my book bucket list.

So I'm putting Brave New World on my list, and I also pulled out a great summery piece of literature, Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth. I can't wait to get into the Wharton again. I remember her being witty and snarky, and I love her New York socialite characters, so relatable to today's characters, even though they're living in the early 1900s.

(Fun fact: some of Wharton was cribbed for Gossip Girl scripts. One of the characters in The House of Mirth, Lily Bart, can be directly traced to Lily Bass, who was married to Bart Bass. Other references to Wharton abound in the first season, and the characters are often seen holding her books. There's a lot more to Gossip Girl than a teen soap opera.)

Anything else I should add to my re-reading list? What books did you read in high school that you think it's time to review?

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