"What do you plan to do with your one, wild, precious life?" -Mary Oliver

Thursday, February 16, 2012

College Classics That Shouldn't Be

If you've ever felt guilty because you really couldn't understand all the hype about Wuthering Heights, this is the article for you.

Twenty Classroom Classics That Shouldn't Be is a humorous take on some of those novels that made you feel like...what? Am I just dense? Compiled by Onlinecollegecourses.com, this list, from Bronte to Absalom, Absalom by William Faulker (did anyone ever understand Faulkner?) to Ann Rand, which they stop just short of burning, will make you sigh with relief. Yes, you should've raised your hand and told the teacher you didn't understand a single word. Your classmates would've thanked you.

There are a couple I would remove from this list, but out of twenty, that's still a consensus. I wonder which two you would remove. Anyway, for now I thought we could all just enjoy a lighthearted round of sacred cow tipping with our first cup of coffee.

12 comments:

Liza said...

I laughed out loud. I wrote my college thesis on Charlotte Bronte...sadly, I traveled for four months after leaving school and my mother cleaned my room. That was the end of my thesis. I wonder what stellar concepts I interpreted. I recall there was something of a feminist bent there. All the more reason this made me howl.

Yvonne Osborne said...

Liza,
Geez...your mother threw away your thesis? You'd probably enjoy reading it again now.

It found the list funny too and worth sharing. I was nodding to myself throughout. Except I don't like tipping over Hemmingway and I'm still partial to Mr. Darcy!

Thanks for commenting.

Steven J. Wangsness said...

Well, I'd definitely take Catcher in the Rye off that list, because it's a great book with one of the most true-ringing "voice" ever.

A Tale of Two Cities I'd also probably take off the list, since Dickens was a genius and every story he tells is great in some way.

Gatsby I'd keep on the list. For the life of me, I don't get why everyone seems to think it's such a great book. I've read it three times trying to figure out what I'm missing and I still don't get it. Agree totally about Faulkner. Might as well be reading computer code.

Yvonne Osborne said...

Hi Steven,
I agree, Catcher in the Rye was a true American original. I must admit I never read Two Cities, so can't comment on that one, but I agree with you on Gatsby.

Talli Roland said...

I enjoyed Catcher in the Rye, but I must admit I was a bit perplexed as to why it was so great. Fantastic voice, yes, but...

Yvonne Osborne said...

Talli,
Right. And when all the "literary experts" are extolling a book it's hard to muster the nerve to raise a hand and disagree. Thanks for coming over and leaving a comment!

Anne Gallagher said...

Late to the game, but I take umbrage at Ethan Frome. I loved that book, albeit I read it in college not in high school.

Congrats on your placement in the Literary Lab Anthology! Great news.

Yvonne Osborne said...

Anne,
I can't disagree. I never read that one either, but now you have me thinking I'd better.

Thanks so much and I can't wait to read your story too!

Suzanne Casamento said...

I've only read three out of the 20! What does that say about me?!

Yvonne Osborne said...

It tells me you were busy doing something else in school! Actually, most of the ones I've read, I read on my own after I was out of school.

Deborah said...

Gatsby has to stay on the list! Why? For Fitzgerald's sublime jewelled prose, the melancholic tones and rhythms that so beautifully capture the essence of the story. If it occasionally seems ornate but empty - isn't that art reflecting life in this instance?

Yvonne Osborne said...

Hi Deborah,
That's an interesting question and part of the reason I find this discussion so interesting. I think you meant you want Gatsby OFF the list? I read it some time ago and just remember thinking....that's it? I have it right here on my shelf and maybe I should give it another go, see if I can feel the melancholic tones and rhythms you mention. The jeweled prose. Don't you think it's hard to appreciate a lot of these novels when you're in HS or even college? Not everyone is like my sister who actually read Ulysses twice at that age!