Monday, 23 September 2013

How well read are you?

I was thinking the other day about high school literature, I still get shocked when I find people haven't read or studied certain classic novels or plays. Then as I started to think about all the ones that I did study in the short four years of high school I realized the list was relatively extensive. This was JUST for English class, not to mention plays for Theatre (some of which, thank god they worked together and crossed our projects over) and reading for enjoyment (something I do a lot of). This didn't include our study of Mythology where we did whole units on stories of the Greek God's studying creation stories of all different religions. This also didn't include Bible or World Religions studies or readings either. For one subject, In five years I read 41 books and plays, that about 8.2  books a year, which is almost one a month for every month I was in school. Wow. Of course some years were more heavy than others, and this is a list of just the ones I happen to remember reading, I'm sure there were others that didn't make quite an impression.

The Chrysalid's
The Outsiders
Midsummer Night’s Dream
Little Women
To Kill a Mocking Bird
The Heat of the Night
Anne Frank
Flowers for Algernon
Of Mice and Men
Romeo and Juliet
Jane Eyre
Wuthering Heights
The Crystal Cave
Twelfth Night
Catcher in the Rye
Animal Farm
Greek Mythology
Morte D’arthur
Huck Finn
A Separate Peace
Lord of the Flies
Much Ado about Nothing
Death of a Salesman
The Crucible
The Glass Menagerie
Tuesdays with Morrie
The Joy Luck Club
Pride & Prejudice
The Little Prince
King Lear
A Doll’s House
Oedipus Rex
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
Stone Angel

Has all of that made me a more informed person? I'm not sure, I look around at my class and know we all read relatively the same things, saw the same words, did the same questions and assignments. What did we all take from it? Certainly not the same things, despite the efforts of a Preparatory education no two people are the same and so we never get the same things out of something. Begs me to think of my writing, it's both a fascinating and terrifying reality that people perceive things differently. What I write on the page may not be what they imagine in their minds, my world could turn out completely different to someone else. It's both exciting and the nerves got mad at the thought of it. It's the same reason people prefer one character over another the ever famous Peeta vs Gale fanbase. Different aspects of characters or stories appeal to different people in different places in their lives. It's the reason my characters range from 15 to 50 in my novel. Different personalities, different careers, places in their lives. We've got meek, strong, laid back, funny and down right psychotic a little something for everyone.

So what do we think? The more the read the better off we are? Or is it all about the perception of what we read that expands out minds?

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