Required Reading – The Rants: Grendel by John Gardner

I didn’t exactly love every book I read for ‘school’ purposes, no, but it was rare I was left with the ‘I want to set this book on fire’ reaction.

Required Reading, book rants, Grendel, John Gardner, Serena Saint-Marceaux, classic books

The book for my Required Reading Rave came to me immediately when we Ferrets were discussing this series. As it happened, a few minutes later when I was trying to think of required reading books I utterly loathed . . . this one came to mind almost as quickly.

 

A Classic I Loathe:
Grendel, by John Gardner

Grendel, classics, required reading, John Gardner, book rant

Grendel, by John Gardner

. . .oh, the irony. I actually wasn’t going to choose this book for this post, much as I hate the dratted thing, but . . . well, among other things, Michelle encouraged me to do so. After the third time since our Ferret Meeting in January that she has heard parts of my rant about this bloody godsforsaken book

Okay, deep breaths. It’s okay – I’m calm. Continue reading

Advertisements

Required Reading – The Rants: Tom Sawyer & Huck Finn by Mark Twain

First off, Happy Independence Day to all our fellow Americans! Please be safe, and don’t blow any fingers off if you’re playing with fireworks. It makes writing a tad difficult.

Required Reading: The Rants, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, classics we love to hate, Mark Twain, Rebekah Loper

My pick for my classics rant is… probably a tad controversial (similar to Lissa’s pick with Invisible Man).

A Classic I Loathe:
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer/The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

I’ve heard great things over the years about Mark Twain’s stories. Some of his books are still on my ‘want to read’ list, such as The Prince and the Pauper. I picked up The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn years ago because I’d heard that they were some of the best American literature (and Wishbone made it sound like a neat story!)

I didn’t make it very far, and what I came away with was a lasting impression of:

Mark Twain is why the rules about dialogue tags, and using dialect and colloquialism in fiction, exist. 

Continue reading

Required Reading – The Rants: Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

required reading, rants, classic books we didn't enjoy, rabid rainbow ferret society, Lissa Clouser, Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison

I was usually the kid that didn’t mind required reading in school. I didn’t mind reading the classics, and I could usually find a redeeming quality in almost any book set in front of me. Usually.

A Classic I Loathe:
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

A quick glance at Wikipedia (about all the effort I’m willing to put into this book some 10+ years later) tells me this book won the National Book Award in 1953. Modern Library ranked it #19 on it’s top 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. (That list, by the way, was released in 1998. Didn’t want to give the end of the century a chance, eh?) Time Magazine put it on a similar list.

At over 500 pages, I consider it Continue reading

Required Reading – The Raves: Shelley and Dickens

required reading the raves, required reading, fictional ferrets, rabid rainbow ferret society, classic books, book recommendation, Frankenstein, Mary Shelley, Rebekah Loper

My introduction to the classics was completely voluntary. I was homeschooled, and my mother decided not to require a literature course from me at all to graduate high school. (To be fair, the course teaching me how to balance a checkbook was probably far more useful, and a skill I am very grateful for now.)

There were a few reasons to her decision about literature. First, I read a lot on my own. I read encyclopedias for fun, even, and it was clear even at a young age that my critical thinking skills were not lacking. Until puberty hit, at least. Second, there was a lot going on in my home life as a child, much of it not good (though not horrendously bad, compared to many other people). We learned the important things, and sometimes there wasn’t time or energy left for anything else. Third, I don’t think my mother had a good introduction or experience with literature during her own school days – either grade school, or college – and she probably was at a loss of how to teach it to me or my siblings. I know one of her most memorable moments was in one of her literature classes in college, when she had to read The Two Towers. But she hadn’t read The Fellowship of the Ring, and so I’m sure you can imagine that was more than a little… confusing.

I read a few classics in my school days (The Scarlet Letter, and several of Jane Austen’s works, for the most part) but didn’t start branching out into the ones that had always caught my eye (the ones I sometimes set back because I didn’t know if my mom would let me read them because she might think they were too scary) until I was in college.

My ‘rave’ for today is one of those.  Continue reading