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What are you reading?

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Photo of Bryce King

Don Quixote,’ by Miguel de Cervantes. I read a condensed version of it in high school, but I wanted to get the full effect. There’s just something about conquering a book that big.”

Photo of Jillian Ras

Flower Children,’ by Maxine Swann. It’s an interesting story about these parents with an Ivy League education who turn their back on that lifestyle and raise their children as hippies. It’s all written from the children’s point of view.”

Photo of Dustin League

Anna Karenina,’ by Leo Tolstoy. It’s a painful read, but it’s a classic.”

Photo of Kyros Hadjikyrou

The Rule of Four,’ by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason. It’s a mystery about a book that holds the key to some kind of code, and these two friends who are students are trying to solve the code and figure out what the book is really about.”

Photo of Holly Wetmore

The Scarlet Letter,’ by Nathaniel Hawthorne. I’m reading it because I’m a high school English teacher, and I have to teach it next semester. I’d never read it before. I’m really enjoying it.”


cheer67 10 years, 9 months ago

I'm reading "Sisters" by Daniel Steel.... it's really good.

nklminster 10 years, 10 months ago

The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde. Sort of a crime/detective story, meets nursery rhymes, meets science fiction. I read his other series, the Thursday Next books, starting with The Eyre Affair and really enjoyed them.

radrhett 10 years, 9 months ago

Really Marion? At least she's reading something besides the comment section on the LJ World website. Over 7300 comments says a lot. Nice. Feel free to run for the school board during the next election cycle and do something about the school system. Or just keep up the commentary from the cheap seats like you always do.

paladin 10 years, 9 months ago

Clem: What's it to ya?

Zeek: Shut up ya ole fool. Them folks ain't got no idee ya cain't read. Heeyuck!

bearded_gnome 10 years, 9 months ago

isaac asimov wrote "X is for unknown." sort of a book about why things are the way they are and how they were discovered; very interesting.

I too was surprised how does some one get to be an english school marm and not have read the scarlet letter? guess she got her anglish degree via boxtops?

paladin 10 years, 9 months ago

Clem: Don't nobody go a sayin nothin agin my grammar!

Zeek: Told ya ta shut on up. Now git ta bed. He weren't talkin bout yer grammar. She's gone these 20 years an she was a saint when she'as with us. God bless er. He'as talkin bout folks edeecation. Er lack ofin it. Don't matter none what them folks thinks er says anywho. Now git. An don't fergit ta say yer prayers.

Jaminrawk 10 years, 9 months ago

Unfortunately for the world, all teachers can't read every "American Classic" simply because they teach English. Knowing that it is a book that deals with deceit and punishment, I'm sure it's one of Marion's faves. Judging from Marion's incredible spelling prowess, I would bet his anger stems from a sub-standard education.

manyblessings 10 years, 9 months ago

I was amazed that an English teacher had not read the Scarlett Letter too, but really I guess it is not that surprising considering the state of public education. A lot of times in English classes nowadays students just get to read bits and pieces of literature from their textbooks rather than read entire books. They miss out on a lot that way and it takes away from the enjoyment of reading great literature.

radrhett 10 years, 9 months ago

I'm not sure what high school Marion or manyblessings went to, but we read both excerpts and full novels. I also fail to see the connection on how not reading one of the numerous American classic novels (too many for any school system to teach all of them in depth in 4 years) is a commentary on the state of public schools. She said that she will be teaching it next semester, so that also puts a mild crimp in your argument. If you want to discuss No Child Left Behind or inadequate funding of schools, that might be more relevant to your point. I've never read To Kill a Mockingbird or Catcher in the Rye, but I don't feel the public school system failed me because of the numerous other books I read at the time.

Linda Endicott 10 years, 9 months ago

I've read To Kill a Mockingbird, but it wasn't requied while I was in school. I've never read Catcher in the Rye, and it was never required in school.

I haven't read The Scarlet Letter either, not required, not even through college.

I was wondering why she "has" to teach it next year, and has never read it herself. Don't teachers get to choose for themselves which books their students will study?

Condensed versions of books were quite common when I was in school. You all might be very surprised to read the whole version of A Christmas Carol. It's totally different than what you read in school.

yourworstnightmare 10 years, 9 months ago

The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins. God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, by Christopher Hitchens. The End of Faith, and Letter to a Christian Nation, by Sam Harris. The Republican War on Science, by Chris Mooney. The Assault on Reason, by Al Gore.

paladin 10 years, 9 months ago

Clem: I'as a English teacher an I caint even read. How ya like that thar. I watch the TV.

Zeek: Shet ep! Allest ya learned em when we'as on over thar as how ta git rid a fleas.

Clem: Yep. Sure did. They'as a might upset when I shot thar dog. Heeyuck!

preebo 10 years, 9 months ago

I'm reading "Assault on Reason" by none other than Albert Gore, Jr.

commence the verbal vitriol

...that means you Right-wingers.

paladin 10 years, 9 months ago

Clem: A body kin get alla the learnin he'd ever need a watchin the TV.

Zeek: Yeah, but ya'll cain't remember none ofin it. Ya got that ADD there'a givin out at the schoolhouse nowadays.

Clem: Oh, yeah, I fergot. Where's my pillbottle. Heeyuck!

person184 10 years, 9 months ago

Marion writes... I'm not picking on the teacher, although I could for her apparent lack of motivation to learn about the literature of the language on her own but I won't; I am rather dercying the educational system, which began it long dumbing down in the 1970 with its failure to teach phonics, the definitions and use of prefuxes and suffixes, its failure to give students the ability to write or compose even a simple conerent sentence in that language, no requirement to write in a legible manner, the failure of the system to teach proper grammar and punctuation, not to mentin my favourite, the decline of the subjunctive.

While you're DERcying the public education system, chew on some updated info: phonics are taught, "prefuxes" are frowned upon, whereas "prefixes" are covered in school. In addition, writing sentences, handwriting, grammar, and punctuation are also covered. Get a grip; get a life; get the right information before you spew. And for Godsakes, check your "prefuxes" before hit send. DER!!!

paladin 10 years, 9 months ago

Clem: Thar he goes a talkin bad bout my dear grammer agin.

Zeek: Shet ep! She ain't got nothin ta do within it.

Clem: An my dangblamed subjunctive ain't nona his bidness. Its in the same place it always's been an I'm a thinkin it still works jest fine. Jest keep yer cottinpickin hands offin it. Heeyuck!

Zeek: Durn fool.

paladin 10 years, 9 months ago

Clem: Had a puntuation a my tire oncet on the ole red pickemup. Had ta git er fixed. Costed me a dollar.

Zeek: Ifin ya ain't gonna shut up, ya ain't a gittin nona these here chitlins. Oh well, let's go afishin.

acg 10 years, 9 months ago

I'm reading a few books right now. I'm reading a new Stephen King called Lisey's Story. I love Stephen King, I have all of his books, and I've always enjoyed his stuff, but this is the darkest book I've ever read (even darker than House of Sand and Fog) and every time I pick it up I get depressed for a while. Maybe it will take a turn for the better soon, I feel like crawling into a tub and opening a vein every time I get back into the story. I'm also reading a non-fiction called Ancient Mysteries. It's an unbiased look as some of the most popular myths, mysteries and folk lore. It's pretty interesting. I'm also reading (skimming?) a book this little Hari Chrishna (wannabe?) dude down on Mass gave me a few months ago. He walked up to me and said I looked like I needed a new path and handed me the book. WTH? hehee. I'm giving it a look-see but for the life of me I can't remember what it's called.

mom_of_three 10 years, 9 months ago

I don't think I read the "The Scarlett Letter" in high school. Maybe bits of it. We did read "1984" and I read "Animal Farm." There are so many classic books of literature that no one can read all of them in school.

person184 10 years, 9 months ago

Pywacket (Anonymous) says:

person184~ If it weren't for prefuxes, how would a couple ever know they were compatible?

So true. But a little prefux goes a long way.

paladin 10 years, 9 months ago

Zeek: Clem cain't talk right bout now. He's alaughin too dang hard. Somethin bout ground Chuck an the Devil fryin up Chuckbergers.

Tom McCune 10 years, 9 months ago


Your item of 11:04pm utterly boggles the mind. YOU NEED an English teacher far more than anyone else on this forum. My public school English teacher, Mr. Reese, would have ripped you a new one for that run-on sentence filled with misspellings and general nonsense.

"dercying" "prefuxes" "conerent" "mentin" "favourite" -- this is the LJW, not the Times of London

Maybe kids today can't "compose even a simple conerent sentence in that language" (sic), but neither can you.

paladin 10 years, 9 months ago

Clem: Hey! Y'all lay on off a Marion even ifin he do got a girl's name. He's awright by me. He's got that whatayacallit, Disklessica. I got t'other, that ADD. He done listened ta records way too loud like when he's a youngun. It'as the ruination a him. He's doin good ta put down anathin aytall. Nobody ain't purfict.

Zeek: Thar ya ar agin, dangblastit! Git on off a that n go on out n slop the hogs. They been actin like they needin some lovin, too, so givem all a kiss er two. An stay on off a that devil box. It'll rot yer mind. Y'all mind me, hear, er ya won't get any TV tanite agin.

camper 10 years, 9 months ago

Dustin, Hang in there. You will find many rewarding chapters in Ann Karenina. Tolstoy knows people inside-out. Interesting how people don't change much. This book has not aged a bit.

janeb 10 years, 9 months ago

Marion (Marion Lynn) says:

A high school English teacher who has never read "The Scarlet Letter"?

Any other questions as to what is wrong with our educational system?

That is a darn shame. Better interviews and back ground checks should be in order,

janeb 10 years, 9 months ago

Could it be that the teacher, unfortunately, was educated in one or more school districts where rampant religious extremism ensured that certain "classics" would up in the ol' circular file?

Maybe she's just now getting around to reading it: because she was only recently (past few years) allowed to make her own choices?

Agnostick http://www.uscentrist.o

Has the woman not hear of th library? Our schools are filled with under qualified and inappropriate staff due to the tightwdas payying the big bucks to upper managment.

camper 10 years, 9 months ago

While the Scarlet letter was required in my High School english curiculum, there were some American classics left off like: Moby Dick, The Red Badge of Courage, and The Grapes of Wrath. Think we only got to one of Twain's novels. In an effort to cover more ground, I wonder if some course curiculums are changing to include more poetry and short stories while lowering the number of novels or limiting the novel requirements to certain excerpts. It is not too surprising that the Scarlett Letter may be left off.

Jamesaust 10 years, 9 months ago

"Unfortunately for the world, all teachers can't read every "American Classic" simply because they teach English."

How so? Just how many "American Classics" do you think there are?

Jamesaust 10 years, 9 months ago

"'Anna Karenina,' by Leo Tolstoy. It's a painful read, but it's a classic."

Not all novels are to be read by the young. 'Anna Karenina' requires a certain amount of 'life experience' (particularly loss) before it may seem relevant. For the young, I would stop after the first sentence and then wait a few decades before returning.

kugrad 10 years, 9 months ago

Marion, you just live to find stuff appalling. The Scarlett Letter is hardly seminal, required reading, no matter what info you googled on it. Speaking of reading, why don't you try it sometime. All you seem to do is google things and post here so you can act like a know-it-all about things you really know nothing about. Your teacher bashing is tired. Get a life. Read a book. I'll bet there's a lot of classics you've never read.

PS a googled summary doesn't count.

paladin 10 years, 9 months ago

Clem: Well, la dee da! Don't go a gittin all hoity toity. I got me a deegree from KU as well, don't ya know. A BFA, that's a Bachelor's a Flatular Arts, fer them that don't know. Some folks is jest too dang big fer there britches. If you as in my area a study, ya'd know what ta do. Poo poo ta you, too. Heeyuck!

Zeek: Would ya shet ep! Dolt.

Wilbur_Nether 10 years, 9 months ago

Marion wrote "I'm not picking on the teacher, although I could for her apparent lack of motivation to learn about the literature of the language on her own but I won't...."

Oh, yeah. He certainly didn't.


bearded_gnome 10 years, 9 months ago

good Lord! this thread just seems to be the gift that keeps on giving!


still reading the asimov book, it is very interesting indeed. not sci/fi.

perkins 10 years, 9 months ago

I gotta agree with Marion. I was taught in college that the three greatest American novels, by general consensus of the folks who judge these things, were Moby Dick, The Scarlet Letter, and Huckleberry Finn. It is more than surprising, it is shocking that a high school English teacher has not read The Scarlet Letter. But I am glad that the woman is required to teach it next year. Lots of good discussion/writing topics even though it can be tough slogging through the book. Isn't it helpful to society that we all have read/discussed at least a few books in common?

paladin 10 years, 9 months ago

Clem: I ain't never read none a them thar classical books. I'm a thinkin I might jest a seen some ofin em on the TV. Mebe even better stuff. In colar. Them teachers is mighty smart. They read lots a them classical books wit the yeller an black stripes on em.

Zeek: Get back ta werk ya lazy oaf. Bein a Mopy Dick ain't no kina way that ya'd oughta be prouda. Ceptin I guess they got stuff nowadays at the drugstore to fix er. Heeyuck! Heeyuck!

Jaminrawk 10 years, 9 months ago

The three greatest american novels ever are actually The Sound and the Fury, The Great Gatsby and The Grapes of Wrath. Or they could be A Brave New World, Animal Farm and The Catcher in the Rye. You can't really pin down three. Personally, I thought the Scarlet Letter was boring and a bit too much like a soap opera.

paladin 10 years, 9 months ago

Clem: I had a coon git in the shine oncet. Ain't never made no rye. I hered that that book as a dirty book. Bout a noacount kid that cusses alot and gits drunk then runs around like a loon alookin fer trouble.

Zeek: Onliest ifin yer minds a dirty one ta start off with. An yers surenough is. Ya better off not bein able ta read. Them catelogs that comes in the mails got better pictures anawho. An ya kin use en fer yer nesasarys out back in the privy ta boot. Them pages offin them black an yella books is too dang little. Heeyuck!

paladin 10 years, 9 months ago

Clem: Holdin as is name. Don't got no idee what he as a holdin. Sure like ta know. Ceptin I figur he's a darn fool ta be a holdin anathin ateall thats heavy. I'd git me the wheelbarro.

Zeek: Don't look now, ya dummy, but yer stills afar. Buckets out back by the shed. Have fun, ya here? Heeyuck! Aghack! Aghack! Fool.

Diana Lee 10 years, 9 months ago

Kudos to those of you who shared what you're reading. Vastly more interesting (to me, anyway) than the constant complaints of the same few people. Blech.

I just finished reading A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, which was phenomenal. Now I'm reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.

paladin 10 years, 9 months ago

Clem: Ma daughter says she's a laywer. On the Extreme Court. She claims ta be a pricticin. I says ifin ya practice anuf, ya might git purty good. Even good nuf ta git yer own Judge Matilda show on the TV. Wouldn't that be somthin?

Zeek: Ya git that far out yet. Better git on out there fore thar ain't nothin left ofin it.

Clem: Don't ya go a frettin none. Don't care a wit. I as gonna built me a new one anawho.

Zeek: Yer pickemups out tharbouts ain't it?

Clem: Hellfire an damnation! Ma truck!

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