Book Club Classics has just my kind of meme this week: a classics meme. Here’s the meme:
- What is the best classic you were “forced” to read in school (and why)?
- What was the worst classic you were forced to endure (and why)?
- Which classic should every student be required to read (and why)?
- Which classic should be put to rest immediately (and why)?
- **Bonus** Why do you think certain books become “classics”?
The worst classic: I have to say that I truly did not enjoy George Eliot's The Mill on the Floss in high school. I also struggled through Conrad's Heart of Darkness in college. I should probably reread both of those. Likely an adult perspective was what was missing.
The classic every student should be required to read: Easy. To Kill a Mockingbird. Click on the link for reasons why. This year I taught an American Lit class for our homeschooling co-op. What a fabulous year I had revisiting classics! I re-read many and finally picked the following novels and a play (we also read poetry and short stories) for various reasons: The Scarlet Letter, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, My Antonia, Ethan Frome, The Crucible, The Red Pony, To Kill a Mockingbird, and A Separate Peace. I loved sharing these books with my 17 students. As part of the final exam, they had to write an essay detailing their three favorite books from this year and why they chose these books. Reading their essays was both enlightening and delightful. The vast majority of them, to my delight, chose To Kill a Mockingbird as one of their favorites. The rest varied greatly, but each novel was picked by at least one students. I also had them, for extra credit, write an essay detailing which three novels they liked the least. This also varied greatly, but The Red Pony and The Scarlet Letter were among the top contenders.
The classic to put to rest: I really can't, in all good conscience, say that any classic should be put to rest. One classic that I've never read (nor been required to) is Moby Dick. I did try a few times, but I've never managed to get very far. But that doesn't mean that it should be put to rest.
Why certain books become classics: I've talked about that here in a post discussing Entertainment Weekly's new list of classics.