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.