High school English class is mostly reading, or at least assigned reading. Somehow I got through high school only fully reading three of the books we were assigned. Not only did I graduate, I did so with good enough grades to get me into community college without having to take an entrance exam. Okay, maybe I should have read more.
I did not finish all of these books, but I did learn a few things from each.
Book: “The Great Gatsby”
How Much I Read: Two chapters
What I Learned: Rich people in the 1920s have incredibly boring conversations. I did eventually read the whole thing in order to write a parody version of the novel. The only thing I learned after fully reading is that writers in the 1920s avoided action at all costs.
How I Passed: On exams I went with whatever was the most boring multiple choice response.
Book: “Great Expectations”
How Much I Read: One chapter
What I Learned: Charles Dickens should stick to writing about Christmas.
How I Passed: The entire class admitted to the teacher one day about our lack of reading and hatred of the classic. His job in jeopardy if the entire class failed, he made the tests as easy as possible.
Book: “The Crucible”
How Much I Read: None, watched the movie
What I Learned: It is entirely possible to take a fascinating historic event and make it pretty boring. I also learned Marilyn Monroe wouldn’t just sleep with a guy if he was a star athlete. She would also do it if you were a famous writer. Way to go Arthur Miller.
How I Passed: Witchcraft.
Book: “The Catcher in the Rye”
How Much I Read: Half of the first chapter
What I Learned: As suggested by others, I should have loved this book. Instead I was too annoyed at the world to care about their opinions. So they were probably right.
How I Passed: This was the last assigned book of the year. By this point I had already demonstrated to my teacher that she did not want me around for another year. She really hated me.
Book: “Of Mice and Men”
How Much I Read: All of it
What I Learned: I learned too late that there was a movie based on this book. From the book, I learned that the fewer chapters in a book the easier it is to convince me to read it.
How I Passed: I read the whole thing. You should always pass when you read the whole book.
Book: “To Kill A Mockingbird”
How Much I Read: About every other chapter
What I Learned: Reading every other chapter is not an effective way of understanding a complex story about growing up and murder or whatever this book was about.
How I Passed: I made the teacher feel so bad for me to the point it was impossible for her to give me an F.