kellyrfineman (kellyrfineman) wrote,

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Summer Reading Lists

For reasons that I'm not yet ready to divulge, I've been looking at the summer reading lists for a bunch of high schools I'm familiar with. Back when I went to high school, there was no such thing. Perhaps because candles were too expensive, so they didn't want us wasting wax.

Anyhoo, I've found some surprises on the lists.

1. Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt is on the recommended list for sophomores in one school district I checked. Surprising because the focus in sophomore year at that school is AMERICAN LITERATURE. Story about Ireland by an Irishman wouldn't be my pick. But hey, I'd hate to read most of the books on that school's list -- they're almost all boy books. Like about baseball and being killed or molested while rafting. And no, I'm not kidding.

2. Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence is now being read in high school. Shockingly enough, so is Eldest by Christopher Paolini.

3. Some schools are reading nothing but classics (i.e., stuff I could've read when I was in high school -- most of it by dead white guys).

4. Some schools have NO YA titles at all on their lists. Mostly this overlaps with #3, above.

5. Some schools have lots of popular books on their lists. Like Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and Ender's Game and Girl With A Pearl Earring and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. Many schools are recommending or requiring Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club for sophomores.

6. Some schools really pile it on -- one requires its future 9th graders to read A Tale of Two Cities (with an onerous writing assignment involved), plus a book from the NY Times bestseller list (for which they must write a book review, due in August), plus they have to read Woe is I by Patricia O'Connor, outline 7 chapters of it, create their own grammar guide, and be ready for a grammar test on the first day of school.

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Tags: summer reading

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