Thursday, 3 March 2011

Unreadable, Unspeakable

A list of books Angels would rather be shot than read:

To Kill a Mockingbird
Wuthering Heights
Aesop's Fables
The Catcher in the Rye
If This Is a Man
Romeo and Juliet
Letters from Prison
The Plague

No wonder Very Hungry Caterpillar is preferable.


a small HG said...

You forgot White Fang

lilith said...

and Swallows and Amazons...

a small HG said...

Indeed, the very worst, White Fang translated into Italian: Zanna Bianca

Nick Drew said...

now steady on

1984 is Quite Important: one must ponder the implications & plausibility (or otherwise) of NewSpeak and DoubleThink

the bad guys all do, and so must Angels

Weekend Yachtsman said...

What? You don't like Primo Levi?

I confess myself astonished.

And 1984, if not an easy read, is an important book for the ideas it contains.

otoh, totally with you on the Hungry Caterpillar issue.

Botogol said...

:-( I've read six of those, of which I enjoyed four...

I mustn't be as clever as i thought.

hatfield girl said...

Sorry, it was an outburst. I could justify most of them, though I take back Romeo and Juliet (thank you all for being so forbearing about that).

It's the mindset that is fed by those books - not for what they are intrinsically but for what they have been used for. Grooming is the word, I suppose. And Lilith is so accurate - Swallows and Amazons belongs in another grooming mindset but its use is just as distasteful. As for White Fang, magnified by a dose of italianita', morals, and animals, I'm surprised small hg has any teeth left to grind.

They all have some literary merit (gosh, I wish I hadn't put in Romeo and Juliet in the moment of another kind of outrage) but it is that very merit that is used to justify their placing among the so very few required reading books for people who probably don't work through a book much and never will again after school, to get some sort of point home. Not the understanding that some books are hard but often worth it - the only proper stance to take when forcing reading on the vulnerable; but that these books are hard but they are so important that they must be worked through. But they AREN"T. They were never worth the effort of a non-reading school child. Nor of a reading one either. They deal in such a narrow set of ideals. Often they don't even do it very well - but like worn-out moral saws they are handed on, generation after generation. Imagine, as a not very interested in reading sort of person, being sold that list as exemplary literature. Avoid like the plague any reading of books ever after and all for the sake of making shallow idealogues feel good about themselves. GRRRRR

Botogol said...

having teenage children myself, a number of those books have naturally appeared in our house over last few years, and as the kids have put them down, I have picked up and re-read several.. It's interesting to do so.

Catcher in the Rye particularly seemed like a different book from the one I remembered as a teenager. A better one actually.

And 1984? That is still a good book (although I do admit to skipping over, just as I did thirty years ago, the whole of the tedious extract from goldstein's tome :-) ).

I still hate Romeo and Juliet.