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Thread: What did they make you read at school?

  1. #1
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    What did they make you read at school?

    We're all familiar with 'assigned' reading, the stuff that you probably wouldn't pick up by choice but have to get through for a class or course. Sometimes you absolutely hate it; sometimes it's a real surprise. But unless you're one of those people with really varied tastes, the odds are you don't get more stuff thrown at you from all different genres and time periods once you leave this kind of environment.

    It's a long list for me across various stages of education, but some of the more out there stuff came at school level. We did Macbeth as our Shakespeare (obligatory in Britain as you can imagine), but alongside that got given some strange things like the post-apocalyptic novel Children of the Dust. Also remember reading Moonfleet, which I guess is a tale of smuggling in the same sort of vein as Treasure Island or Kidnapped.

    As I say, a long list beyond that which I can draw on for now - but what about you guys?

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    Southern Discomfort The Dude's Avatar
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    Z for Zachariah, of mice and men and much ado about nothing is what I remember most.

    Got be honest I liked a lot of them. I wasn't very fond of much ado about nothing. It was lame and boring.
    Last edited by The Dude; 10-11-2017 at 06:08 PM.

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    Word Enthusiast Steve's Avatar
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    I liked pretty much everything I was assigned to read in school. The Once and Future King, Fahrenheit 451, To Kill A Mockingbird, stuff like that. I especially loved Hamlet.

    That said, there was one book, The Good Earth, that remains the most miserable reading experience of my life. It was so fucking dry and boring and seemed to go on and on and on. I'm a pretty fast reader but that fucking thing took me a month to wade through. I hated it with a passion.

    Did you non-US guys have the Accelerated Reader or Book It! programs, or something similar, in primary school? If you're unfamiliar, Accelerated Reader was essentially a program where you read a book and then take a short test on in via computer (back when going to the computer lab was a big fucking deal because hardly anyone had them at home yet) to earn points. After a certain amount of points were accumulated you got prizes and shit that you could buy, generally books and school supply type stuff like those fruit scented erasers that didn't erase shit or the massively popular metallic, holographic pencils.

    Book It! was slightly different in that it was affiliated with Pizza Hut. You'd get a bigass pin and after achieving a set reading goal, you'd receive a star sticker to put on it. Once you got 5 or so stars you could go to Pizza Hut, present your pin full of stars and receive a free personal pan pizza.

    Pretty awesome stuff back when I was the kid who spent recess sitting on a swing with a book.

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    Can't say I know The Good Earth, but a quick google seems to suggest it won the Pulitzer prize, so I probably should have more of an idea of what it is. Glance at the plot summary and it sounds more like something my mrs would read than for me.

    Didn't do Hamlet until I got to University, where we did it in some depth a couple of different times. I just remembered that we also did Merchant of Venice in high school.

    I don't think we did have any of those kind of programmes. Certainly not that I remember anyway, and I think as both a big reader and a big eater I would have been all over pizza rewards for reading.

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    Senior Junior SirSam's Avatar
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    They assigned us some damn good stuff at school, a few that come to mind: Heart of Darkness, 1984, Lord of the Flies and Animal Farm. They all rocked my world in different ways.

    Also got to do some Shakespear (compulsory in Australian Advanced English courses): Macbeth, The Tempest, Romeo & Juliet & Midsummer Nights Dream all stick out. Particularly loved MacBeth.

    Still didn't make up for having to read Emma of all the Jane Austen they could have picked and it was for my final year so I couldn't even bludge it and rationalise that it didn't really matter in the scheme of things.

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    That's a pretty advanced looking course, SirSam. Actually compares to a University level syllabus, that. Or at least none of those works would be out of place on it.

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    Three words. An Inspector Calls....

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    Lamb of LOP anonymous's Avatar
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    *shivers* never mention that again.

    A Handmaid’s tale was equally bad.

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    Senior Junior SirSam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prime Time View Post
    That's a pretty advanced looking course, SirSam. Actually compares to a University level syllabus, that. Or at least none of those works would be out of place on it.
    I was fortunate to have some really passionate English teachers who really wanted to explore things in depth and go into some deep places. To be fair some of those I rattled off I sought out at my teachers bidding to use as 'extra texts' - texts we got to choose and weren't prescribed but were expected to include when we did our exams (Heart of Darkness and 1984 are the main one that falls under that). I also did double the amount of English required because I enjoyed the subject so much and Shakespear is compulsory in Advanced English courses in NSW so we did him in prep at least once every year in preparation. I'm surprised it isn't that way in England.

  10. #10
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    I don't know what an advanced English course compares to in our school system.

    I know back when I did it, there was some fairly introductory stuff until you got to be about 15, but that'd usually be just watching a play. Deeper study would tend to be of a shorter extract rather than studying a play in any depth.

    Then you'd probably do one at GCSE level, which is when you are 15-16.

    Then you've do another two at A-level (which as it stands for advanced probably tracks on to your stuff), but there's a fairly broad spread on what you do there. At the time you'd do two modules on the Renaissance period, but we did another playwright of the period for one of them so just the one Shakespeare play. So, I guess you could do more if your school were that way inclined, but I got through my school doing two in any depth, and looking at another couple in smaller detail.

    We did do Chaucer, though, so it's not like we were slacking....
    "Eat my ass, Mooney"

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