Summer Reads pt. 1

Yesterday, while lying out by the pool (don’t worry, I applied a plethora of spf15 to my entire body and even some spf70 to my face and knee), I finished Cather in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger. This book only took a couple days for me to finish as I was hooked immediately. I know, I know, it is odd that I’ve never read this book and I am planning on becoming an English teacher, but that is why I am going back and reading books like this. My own schooling consisted mostly of composition classes for English and in college I was not an English major.   

Regardless, this book was riveting. I was captured by Holden Caulfield’s perspective on life, New York, and all things he considered “phony.” His quest to “be sexy” with a girl, yet his underlying conviction that in order to do so he must have genuine feelings for the girl was a great juxtaposition. He yearned to lose his virginity, but when given the opportunity to do so he did not go through with it.

 I can see why this book is an assigned read in many high schools. Apart from all of the swearing, it deals with concepts that teenagers struggle with today: alienation, sexuality, and growing up. At first, I was expecting more from the ending, but after reflecting about it, I feel as though had it ended the way I wanted it to, the book would not have meaning; it is a realistic ending.

 Before starting Catcher in the Rye, I read Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley. This genre of book is more my style and the kind I would prefer to teach in school. I pretty much like everything about dystopian novels from the author’s creativity to the author’s warnings, and Brave New World did not fall short. The book opens up in a “Hatchery” where humans are made. Humans are alphas, betas, deltas, gammas, or epsilons, and of course, it is a hierarchy. Each class of human is conditioned differently so as to maximize human capacity and function in the dystopian society. Amazing!

 I chose to read Brave New World because like Catcher in the Rye, I had not read it yet. It was one I always meant to read, but just never did. You see, I did not read a lot in college. I wish I had, but I didn’t. Regardless, another reason for why I read this book is because my master teacher from student teaching was talking about combining it with Fahrenheit 451 for a quarter-long unit. I loved, loved, loved Fahrenheit 451, so I wanted to read Brave New World and see the two novels connected. Those are two novels I would definitely choose to teach together.

 So, there you have it, my two most recent reads. I started reading Pride and Prejudice last night and after that I have Catch – 22 waiting on my bookshelf for me. Once those two books are read I am open for suggestions. I am thinking maybe something by Ayn Rand, but I don’t know yet. Please feel free to give me a suggestion.

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2 responses to “Summer Reads pt. 1

  1. I was an English major in college, so my mind is overflowing right now with suggestions! Some top picks: Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury (a tough read, but worth it!), Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God, and either The Bluest Eye or Beloved by Toni Morrison.

    • Thanks, Katie. I just looked up Invisible Man and it looks pretty good. Also, I just finished Jane Eyre several weeks ago and I loved it. The plot was beautiful. I’m hoping to get in a lot of reading the rest of the summer.

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