Friday, February 24, 2012

On this Day in History - Go Read a Book

There's a strange confluence of events to mark today. Earlier this morning, LBA participated in a Black History Month program at his school (the first graders sang ABC, by the Jackson 5) - I would have liked to attend but unfortunately couldn't make the time to do it.

It was on this date that ground forces pushed into Iraq during the first Persian Gulf war. A month earlier, I remember vividly sitting at the Syosset train station waiting for my father to arrive listening as George H.W. Bush announced the liberation of Kuwait had begun.

The event that prompted this blog post is that today also marks the day that President Andrew Johnson was impeached for violating the Tenure of Office Act. Whenever I think of this event, I am reminded of Edmund G. Ross, the Kansas Senator whose one vote made the difference in keeping Andrew Johnson in office as President. In high school we watched a film made from the book Profiles in Courage, in which one the individuals written about by John Kennedy was Senator Ross.

I like to think that I went to a pretty good high school. In fact, there is some agreement on this. In June 2011, Newsweek rated my high school number 57 on its list of Top High Schools in the United States.

In English class, we read a lot of books (and I liked to read anyway - plus I worked in a library during high school). I found these two lists of the Ten Books You Should Have Read in High School (one more traditional and an alternate list). How many of them have you read?

In no particular order, with my annotation if I've read the book:
  1. Frankenstein - Mary Shelley (no)
  2. The Scarlet Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne (yes, along with other Hawthorne works)
  3. The Catcher in the Rye - J. D. Salinger (still have a copy in the house, everyone should)
  4. The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald (no)
  5. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen (no)
  6. Siddhartha - Herman Hesse (I feel like this crossed my desk at some point - but I might have done the Cliff Notes version)
  7. Lord of the Flies - William Golding (yes, and it's on the bookshelf next to Catcher in the Rye)
  8. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain (yes)
  9. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee (yes. "Stand up, your Daddy's passing")
  10. The Fountainhead - Ayn Rand (no)
The alternate list (a little more off the norm and several which came out after I was out of high school)
  1. Infinite Jest - David Foster Wallace (no)
  2. Maus - Art Spiegelman (no)
  3. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy (no, but I did read Gulag Archipelago in college)
  4. Swamplandia - Karen Russell (no, and have never heard of this one)
  5. Reality Hunger - David Shields (no)
  6. The God of Small Things - Arundhati Roy (no)
  7. Against Interpretation - Susan Sontag (no)
  8. Ender’s Game - Orson Scott Card (no)
  9. The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress - Robert Heinlein (no, but I was never a big Sci-Fi reader)
  10. Beloved - Toni Morrison (yes, but in college, not high school)


C in DC said...

I've read 2 on the first list (in h.s.) and 1 on the second (in college, though). I may have read one other on the first list at some point, but I'm not sure. I think the 2nd list may contain books that weren't yet published when we were in school.

So, which 3 or 4 do you think I've read?

Brave Astronaut said...

Wow, testing me on the NYS curriculum, of which I am also a product.

I'm going with Scarlet Letter, Lord of the Flies, Huck Finn and Beloved.