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I am longing to read-"Journey to the West", a classic Chinese epic novel. Ive read Romance of the Three kingdoms twice, ive read Outlaws of the Marsh once and now i think that with that said, ill read the fantasy epic-journey to the west.

 

I dont know what it is but these novels are probably my favorite books of all time. I started reading Romance of the Three kingdoms when i found out about it from a game called: Dynasty Warriors. Since then, its hard reading anything else as i cant compare them.

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Based on the fact that this topic has over 1.5 million views, everyone's answer should be "What have you been reading recently?"

The topic is dead! Long live the topic!   —Alorael, who will throw in The Ringmaster's Daughter, a relatively normal and therefore still quite unusual novel by Jostein Gaarder. Unlike Sophie's Wor

It was in one of the introductions for a book. Part of the problem was he had a few children and was trying to save for their future educations.   The figure I've seen is that a basic paper back

Yeah im likely going to enjoy it. I loved the humor in rotk and water margin. Even though alot of the stuff was messed up, they tell the tale in a way that leaves much to be imagined, especially when the story is about black whirlwind or sagacious lu.

 

I doubt that ill read-dream of red mansions (the romance chinese epic). I might be able to survive 300 pages of a romance story, but reading 1800 or more pages will cause locusts to surround me and devour my soul.

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Originally Posted By: Randomizer

The Wall Street Journal had a literary review on the latest author to be given the official task of writing sequels to Ian Fleming's James Bond series. The chief complaint against most of the authors was that their books were based upon the movies instead of the original book versions. Gadgets instead of ability.


Well, the original book versions were more or less "Bond kills people with tons of guns", so it's not exactly a far cry from the modern version of "Bond kills people with tons of gadgets".

Besides, the purpose of a Bond book is to entertain people, and watching evil people die gruesome deaths seems to be such a popular entertainment media that I don't think it will matter much at all whether they're killed with a wristwatch laser or a Walther PPK.
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RE: WoT

 

Glad I was of some help. I apologize for the verbal diarrhea, but I wanted to be clear about the series's two biggest flaws. At the same time, I wanted to be clear once and for all why I like the series. My meatspace friends act like they want to commit me whenever I admit to liking the series. All it is that that different people are willing to pick different flies out of their wine. The majority of those same friends are avid fans of the Sword of Truth series. They're all completely willing to accept that there are major faults with the series, yet they're willing to read it for the good parts. Again, just want to stress that just because we're willing to ignore some of the flies doesn't mean we don't know they're there, or that we condone them.

 

And I also completely understand not wanting to dive into a huge series, where nothing is a stand-alone book. I'm only rereading them because I've already invested time in them. I debated rereading the entire series just for the sake of the final two books, but I was a little lost when I read Books Eleven and Twelve. Oh well, I hope my reviews are at least entertaining as I grow more appreciative and more disgusted as the series progresses.

 

RE: P&P&Z:

 

I did a brief review of the book a while back (by the way, I found a half-year old debate about which version of Faust is better, with many of the same debaters; we just keep talking about the same topics here, don't we?). P&P&Z did get a few chuckles, had one or two somewhat clever parts, and eventually made a fine birthday present. The problem I had when reading it was the amount of time since I had read P&P. I'd be reading some tense section, trying to remember how it ended, and suddenly these stupid zombies burst into the scene to add more "drama". Hey! I want to find out how the chapter actually ended! All told, it's quite clear, especially by the end, that the 'editor' was putting minimal effort into integrating the additions.

 

RE: Crowdsourcing:

 

I don't know what you mean by 'crowdsourcing' a work of art; perhaps we're using different definitions. Certainly, it's possible for a team to create good art, and you don't have to be a professional artist to create good art (though it certainly helps).

 

Are mash-ups art? Not going to argue for or against that here, though I think we can all agree that mash-ups are rarely if ever good art. Personally, I'm able to ignore most of them, and the few I actually care about are usually entertainment; they're there for entertainment, not elucidation.

 

I think the underlying question is how freely should we modify the artistic works of others. Dantius complained about Shakespearian plays being set in unusual time periods. I think we're all pretty uncomfortable with P&P&Z and it's ilk. Do we hold adaptations of plays in the same light. One well-known musician has noted how rigid the classical community is to changing anything. I think the term 'definitive version' is misleading. There's certainly an original version (which is easier to catalog these days than, say, the original versions of some Delta Blues songs), but I think it's wrong to always label the original as the 'definitive' (read: best) version. Trent Reznor certainly thinks that Johnny Cash's version of

improves upon his own.

 

I think at the heart of the issue is Sturgeon's Law. Good art is hard to come by. We treasure our ten percent. And we don't like remixes and covers and mash-ups and reinterpretations taking away ninety percent of our ten percent. On the other hand, we have the one percent that takes good art and makes it spectacular. I'd argue that even Shakespeare's plays can be reimagined, and applied to the modern world in ways the Bard could never have imagined. It's possible to take a great work and make it truly sublime.

 

I am, of course, talking about Strange Brew.

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Originally Posted By: Dintiradan
I think at the heart of the issue is Sturgeon's Law.


This is a critical point. Ideally I'd like it to be distinguished from the issue of variations versus authenticity, but that might not be possible. Much of the 10% good stuff probably comes from gifted original creators who tend not to be interested in remixing the works of others, so the second step probably has a Sturgeon factor much lower than 10%. But art is a long term thing. People still read The Iliad. Even if very few mash-ups are good, eventually there will be a lot of good mash-ups.

I guess I should also say that drastic mutations in the style of PPZ are not really what I had in mind. I was thinking more of modest revisions intended to produce an improved version of the original, rather than a different work.
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If we are already on the subject of altering books, what do you think/feel about the company which decided to remove the word "nigger" from Twain's (Clemens) books and the act of the removal itself?

Personally, I don't think it's a good idea, especially with Twain which was so pro AfAm and used it/his books (as the case may be) to ridicule those who belittled AfAms and Africans in general.

(And should we open a separate thread for this?)

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The modifications to Huckleberry Finn were purely censorship. They weren't intended to improve, and they don't.

 

—Alorael, who disagrees somewhat about classical music. Nico conflates several separate problems, and one of the major ones is simply that there have been decades of high-quality recordings by amazing musicians. Because people tend to be classical pieces in similar, if not identical, styles, very good musicians are simply outclassed by the masters. If people truly played covers in their own style, and not just with tiny adjustments to tempo and expression, the purists would revolt and maybe more people would enjoy a genre of music no longer locked into stasis.

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Originally Posted By: All our alephs come to naught
-Alorael, who disagrees somewhat about classical music. Nico conflates several separate problems, and one of the major ones is simply that there have been decades of high-quality recordings by amazing musicians. Because people tend to be classical pieces in similar, if not identical, styles, very good musicians are simply outclassed by the masters. If people truly played covers in their own style, and not just with tiny adjustments to tempo and expression, the purists would revolt and maybe more people would enjoy a genre of music no longer locked into stasis.


As an ardent defender of classical music, I feel compelled to respond to your points. One of the main reasons that there are very few new classical recordings and new classical pieces for the same reason that, say, there are no more Rembrandts painted- by and large, the popular culture has moved on to a new large art style, and there are then fewer talented people to draw upon to play in that style. For instance, had she been born in, say, the 1930's, we might all have been hailing the virtuoso Dame Germanotta (sp?), famed operatic soprano, instead of Lady Gaga, because there would have been enough money in opera to entice talented people to sing there. Likewise, there's no longer any money in composing serious classical symphonies and operas, because it's no longer the mass media of the day like it was in the 1800's in Italy- Verdi was as rich in his time as a Hollywood producer or director would be today, and Liszt was the certainly the first touring rock star- in it for the $$$ and the ladies (he got lots of both, incidentally), but there's nobody in opera or piano with the possible exception of Lang Lang making anywhere near that much money today (indeed, it's now a medium mainly sustained by charitable donations from the wealthy).

So with a declining fandom (if I may use the word), and a lack of new talent or works, it's not really surprising that the medium is, as you say, static. But the real problem is not that the purists would revolt and stop listening, but that even if people did radically alter the style, it still wouldn't suddenly cause a massive move towards classical music by young people- a metal cover of Verdi's Requiem (I actually think these have been done before, I know it was done for Mozart's) isn't metal, it's Verdi's Requiem, and the people who listen to metal are not going to start listening to Verdi. It's the same reason that Jeff doesn't make a plot-heavy FPS- he'd risk alienating the people he knows will buy his RPG's in order to entice a slice of the larger market that wouldn't want it anyways.

tl;dr: Everything in classical music has been done before by better people than we have today, and changing the formula will just kill the medium off, which would be very, very bad.
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@Dantius: While I don't wish to dispute the historical analysis or the general thrust of your argument, I take issue with the particular contention that talented musicians no longer go into classical music but would prefer to seek wider fame in popular music. My experience has been that the more talented musicians are the most ardent supporters of, let's call it, our musical heritage. Classical music positively discriminates in favour of talent: it's simply not possible to perform a lot of classical music or opera without enormous skill and dedication. Whereas, from what I can tell, most of the mass appeal bands and artists these days seem to be selected for their looks and attitude, rather than any actual musical talent.

 

[aside]

@Alorael: All our alephs come to naught is now a contender for my favourite moniker.

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Dantius is somewhat correct in that current composers start out producing popular music to make money. You see some of them producing more classical music later in their careers when they no longer need the money and can afford to indulge themselves. For example Billy Joel.

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I think part of what has killed off the appeal of classical music is that stasis. Mass taste marches on, of course, and it's hard to make a living as a modern classical composer. Going off Nico's idea of musician as cover artist, though, there's really very little margin of tolerance for interpretation of many pieces. You can get away with more in Baroque music than more recent classical, as they were usually written with flourishes by the musician intended, but I think audiences are at least in part to blame.

 

—Alorael, who acknowledges that the other side is the hardship of all the musicians being cover musicians. If you write popular music, your version is the real version because you wrote the song. If you're playing music by people who have been dead for hundreds of years and that has been played by people for hundreds of years, the odds of your version being the one that most people think is the best is small.

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Originally Posted By: Micawber
Originally Posted By: People
"Mass appeal" is very far from "popular genre".


Explain?


I don't get it either. Popular music is simply the music that is the most popular in that time period. Modern popular music, by definition, has the widest mass appeal. Otherwise it would't be popular.

Whether it's good or not is up for debate, though.
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That's what I thought, unless the "genre" part of it is somehow supposed to indicate an unpopular form of popular music, and then I'm struggling to see how that's materially different from (contemporary) classical music, at least for the purposes of this discussion...

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There's also another side. Classical music doesn't have mass appeal. It is, in fact, currently a niche market. That said, it's a pretty big niche. Classical musicians don't have it easy, but it's also not so great being a garage band musician. Make it to the big orchestras or the big venues and you're set; the latter is just a few orders of magnitude more set.

 

—Alorael, who now wants to hear arena rock versions of classical standbys. Or metal! The William Tell Overture would be perfect, because nothing says metal like 16 artillery pieces firing at random into the crowd.

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Originally Posted By: The Judgement of Bears
—Alorael, who now wants to hear arena rock versions of classical standbys. Or metal! The William Tell Overture would be perfect, because nothing says metal like 16 artillery pieces firing at random into the crowd.


That's the 1812 Overture that you're thinking of. The William Tell overture requires no artillery pieces to play, but 1812 requires 16. You might have gotten them confused because the final movement of the WTO is called "Cavalry Charge", but there's noting special or unique involved.
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Music in a popular genre is not always popular music - There's a range of obscurity or mass appeal in any of them. It's not fair to say that musicians choose to work in non-classical genres because they're more popular - It might be that because they're more widely distributed, the musically inclined are more exposed to them and develop a greater connection or ability with them, but I wouldn't say that most or even many musicians consciously choose to work in a particular genre only because it is popular.

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Anyone here read Star Trek novels? Not the new ones, the old ones. The really freakin' old ones. Seriously, there are probably hundreds of them for just about all the series. You really can't find them these days, which is a shame since there are a few that I would call extremely good, like The Rift by Peter David (Actually just about anything written by Peter David, especially his Strike Zone TNG novel.

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Don't you mean the newer ones. See wiki

 

Peter David was late to the novelizations coming in long after the original series had reached the 57 and even Next Generation was far along.

 

There were some good ones:

Kobayashi Maru by Julia Ecklar where Scotty has to leave the Command program for Engineering after was he caught cheating. To be fair the computer simulator cheated first. smile

 

Doctor's Orders by Diane Duane where Kirk leaves McCoy in charge and when McCoy needs to use the head Spock tells him you should have gone before you started.

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I do mean the 1812 Overture. And the funny thing is that I wrote the post to that point, thought that I really meant the 1812 Overture and not the William Tell Overture, looked them both up on Wikipedia, got the exact number of artillery pieces needed, and didn't fix the post.

 

—Alorael, whose usual taste in music requires more esoteric weapons. Weapons like the crumhorn, which can inflict both blunt and musical trauma.

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I used to collect the Star Trek books, but over the years with all of my moves, I have had to lighten the load. If I still had all of the ones that I have bought, I would have probably 150 to 200 of them. I'm not so impressed with the newer ones. The one I have read most recently is "Probe", which is a sort of sequel to Star Trek 4, the movie.

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I'm starting Fyodor Dostoevsky's Demons (sometimes translated as The Possessed). Like all of his other books, it's about a dude/dudes who kills another dude for various reasons and the fallout of said dude-killing, everybody has a long Russian name like Semyon Yegorovich Karmazinov or Mavriky Nikolaevich Drozdov, and there are approximately eighty zillion characters.

 

It's quite good notwithstanding, though.

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Slarty, I cannot believe you.

 

STOP STEALING MY THUNDER!

 

EDIT: Anyway, back on topic. Don't worry, WoT fans (the both of you). I took a break with some Timothy Keller, but I'll be rereading The Dragon Reborn starting tomorrow. I may have more breaks from the series, every couple of books or so, to maintain sanity.

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Originally Posted By: Dintiradan
Don't worry, WoT fans (the both of you). I took a break with some Timothy Keller, but I'll be rereading The Dragon Reborn starting tomorrow. I may have more breaks from the series, every couple of books or so, to maintain sanity.

Good luck with maintaining sanity. Male readers of the Wheel of Time are corrupted by the taint, at least until book 9. tongue
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Robert Asprin and Mel White's Duncan and Mallory has been reprinted as a web comic. I read it back when you needed to kill trees to see it. Much like Asprin's Myth Adventure series you have a pair out to make money off the unsuspecting inhabitants of where ever they happen to be. There's nothing like a good con and sometimes they can actually pull it off with their hero slays the terrorizing dragon scam.

 

Best quotes of the first book in the trilogy:

Quote:
When J. P. Mallory talks people listen.
after a brief gout of flame from our ever scheming dragon.

 

During a "friendly" game of cards with con artists Bilgewater and Sade:

Quote:
Bilgewater: The dragon is cheating.

Sade: How can you tell?

Bilgewater: Because I'm cheating and the dragon is still winning.

 

I love that some day a prequel and fourth book may finally appear after over 20 years with material by Asprin.

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So with two and half weeks until my final year of high school begins, I have decided to pick and then read my summer reading selections. Of course, there are 14 pairs of books, and I've only heard of a few of them. So, what I'm asking is this: for those of you who have read any of these books, please let me know if they are interesting and can be power-read in a few days. They are paired specifically, so I can't pick any two.

 

Click to reveal..
1. Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre and Jean Rhys' The Wide Sargasso Sea

2. Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried and Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five

3. Toni Morrison's Beloved and Joy Kogawa's Obasan

4. Cormac McCarthy's All the Pretty Horses and Annie Proulx's That Old Ace in the Hole

5. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray (this pairing seems good to me - I've actually heard of both)

6. DBC Pierre's Vernon God Little and Yann Martel's The Life of Pi

7. Geraldine Brooks's Year of Wonders and Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale

8. Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights and Amy Tan's The Bonesetter's Daughter

9. Joesph Heller's Catch-22 and Tim O'Brien's Going After Cacciato

10. E. L. Doctorow's The March and Geraldine Brooks's March

11. Jane Austen's Emma and Jane Austen's Persuasion (I've heard that once you've read one Austen you've read them all.)

12. E. M. Foster's A Passage to India and Ian McEwan's Atonement

13. Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace and E. L. Doctorow's Ragtime

14. Alice Walker's The Color Purple and Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Ubervilles

 

Goodness that wasn't fun to type up. I hope it works without needing edits.

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My expert advice is to either go with pairing number 5 and read both, which you won't regret, or number 12 and read Atonement and watch the David Lean adaptation of Passage to India, which is quite possibly one of the greatest movies ever.

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Now I feel like uncultured swine. The only book on that list that I've read is Shelley's Frankenstein. Which I enjoyed, for what it's worth. I have a couple friends who didn't like it though (due to the writing style, as I recall).

 

Other books on the list I heard good things about and want to read one day are Slaughterhouse Five, The Picture of Dorian Gray, The Life of Pi, and Catch-22. I got excited for a second, but then I realized that one of the authors was E. L. Doctorow, not Cory Doctorow. I would've liked to attend a high school where Cory Doctorow was required reading.

 

I find it really odd that one pairing has two books by the same author. Haven't read either, but I have read Pride and Prejudice, which I really enjoyed. Still, I'd argue against reading two Austens.

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1. Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre and Jean Rhys' The Wide Sargasso Sea

 

Advise against. Jane Eyre is decent but it's incredibly long. Wide Sargasso Sea is incredibly thoughtful and deep, but it takes some mental work to read and to penetrate and is not a quick read. Also, there is no The in the title.

 

14. Alice Walker's The Color Purple and Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Ubervilles

 

Advise against. Tess is incredibly long and incredibly boring.

 

5. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray (this pairing seems good to me - I've actually heard of both)

 

I agree with you and Dantius -- this is a good option. Both books are very readable and are worth reading. Frankenstein is particularly eye-opening.

 

8. Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights and Amy Tan's The Bonesetter's Daughter

 

Advise against.

 

11. Jane Austen's Emma and Jane Austen's Persuasion (I've heard that once you've read one Austen you've read them all.)

 

RUN AWAY.

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Originally Posted By: Dintiradan
I would've liked to attend a high school where Cory Doctorow was required reading.


my most sincere wish is to not live long enough to see a future where this could happen
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Hmm, I should clarify. I don't really care for Doctorow himself one way or the other (though I do find his business model very intriguing). But I know that during high school, especially junior high, I would have loved to read something like him for a course. More precisely, I would have loved to read anything different from what we were usually taking up.

 

English classes (or Language Arts, as it's called in the lower grades) was incredibly formulaic and staid. Once you hit Grade 9, you would do one Shakespeare play a year: Julius Caesar, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, and Hamlet. No other Shakespeare plays exist, and no other playwrights exist. There would also be one novel per year. Island of the Blue Dolphins in Grade 6, The Chrysalids in Grade 10, Lord of the Flies in Grade 12, ... and the rest must not have left a big enough impact for me to remember them. Don't get me wrong, they're good books, but one a year doesn't seem to be enough. We didn't have summer reading lists (though I did have one teacher who had a sign-in sheet for books we read on our own time -- we were supposed to meet a quota by the end of the year).

 

The rest of our time was spent going through that grade's edition of Crossroads, which consisted of short stories and the occasional poem. We'd do a reading, write an assignment where we'd regurgitate knowledge, then rinse, lather, and repeat. Now, I know that curricula are a necessary evil, that no course can cover every possible thing in detail, that no teacher is perfect. But from taking my English classes, you'd think that short stories were the primary form of English literature and that all literary criticism is done with three points in five paragraphs. There just was very little variety in my English classes, and more damning, very little critical thinking.

 

So yeah, it would have been nice to read Doctorow, or someone else like him, as a small part of an English class. "The reading for next class is on the handout. It's a short story written by an author who self-publishes his works on the Internet, free to read. As an end for this unit, you'll all need to write me an essay dealing with writing on the Web. If you're unsure about a topic, I've put a list of suggestions on the other side of the handout. So you could debate the merits of Doctorow's model -- what's worse, potential obscurity, or lack of an editor and guaranteed income per read? Or you could use some of the readings we covered last week, and discuss how writing style changes depending on if you're addressing an audience online or in print. Remember to cite specific examples, both online works and print works. You'll need this done in two weeks, because on the following Monday we'll be starting our unit on journalism." That would've been an English class I'd be more interested in attending.

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Originally Posted By: Lilith
set 2 will probably be the most fun, but set 7 will probably do the most to make you a better human being

Is Year of Wonders that powerful, because I found The Handmaid's Tale to be uninspiring. Also, I second the nomination for the second pairing.

Dikiyoba.
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Master1's question got me thinking about what people actually read in high school English classes. I think I've managed to regurgitate an almost complete list of what I had to read in middle and high school, and I'm curious what this seems like to others here -- those who are older or younger or from different countries or states or just read different stuff. How does it compare to the stuff you had/have to read?

 

I marked the books I especially hated with a minus. Books that I liked to the point that they are still on my shelves (14 (!) moves later) have an asterisk.

 

7th grade: Arthurian legends compilation, Gawain and the Green Knight(*), The Old Man and the Sea(-), Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry, A Raisin in the Sun, A Midsummer Night's Dream

 

8th grade: To Kill a Mockingbird, A Separate Peace(-), Animal Farm, Inherit the Wind, Fahrenheit 451(*), Lord of the Flies(*)

 

9th grade: Oedipus Rex, The Odyssey, Romeo and Juliet, Cyrano de Bergerac, Things Fall Apart(*), Catcher in the Rye, a bunch of modern poetry

 

10th grade: Genesis/Exodus ("as literature"), The Canterbury Tales, The Merchant of Venice; The Castle of Otranto, Frankenstein, Great Expectations(-), Morality Play(*), Arcadia(*)

 

11th grade: The Crucible, The Scarlet Letter, a bunch of transcendentalist poetry, The Great Gatsby(-), A Streetcar Named Desire; Jane Eyre, Wide Sargasso Sea, The Turn of the Screw

 

12th grade: Tess of the D'Urbervilles(-), Heart of Darkness, Hamlet(*); Titus Andronicus(*), Julius Caesar(*), Antony and Cleopatra(*), Macbeth

 

I have left out the summer reading assignments, which were almost uniformly horrible: "Ishi, Last of His Tribe" and "Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit" come to mind there.

 

EDIT: Forgot Raisin and Catcher! Thanks Dantius.

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9th grade: The Giver(*), Huckleberry Finn, Romeo and Juliet

 

10th grade: Dandelion Wine, A Separate Peace(-), The Chosen(-), Animal Farm(*), A Midsummer Night's Dream

 

11th grade: Our Town, The Natural(-), The Great Gatsby, The Scarlet Letter(-), The Grapes of Wrath

 

12th grade: One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich(*), The Joy Luck Club(-), Macbeth(*), A Doll's House, The Metamorphosis(*), Pride and Prejudice(*)

 

Slarty, you have moved a ridiculous number of times since high school for someone who is only a few years older than I am. tongue

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There's a lot that I don't remember from high school literature. I know 8th grade include the Diary of Anne Frank and Lord of the Flies (oh how I loathed that book - we dragged that short little book out for an entire miserable semester!!!). I don't recall exactly when I read this other stuff, but I read Macbeth, The Red Badge of Courage, The Old Man and the Sea, and The Scarlet Letter. I'm sure there's plenty of other stuff I've forgotten.

 

Edit: what's the deal with(*) asterisks?

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Originally Posted By: Slartucker
Books that I liked to the point that they are still on my shelves (14 (!) moves later) have an asterisk.

You had to buy books for high school classes? (Or did you just like them so much you bought them afterwards?)

(Also, Dikiyoba has moved 10 times since high school, which is just a little sad.)
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