May 24: Top Ten Books You Lied About (lied about reading, lied about NOT reading, lied about liking/disliking, etc....dish your dirty secrets!!)
1. Robinson Crusoe, Daniel DeFoe and 2. Journey to the Center of the Earth, Jules Verne.
Crusoe? Read it? Sure! You bet! I even got in trouble with my father because I read it while walking down the street. ..only it was a Great Illustrated Classics version, for children, with lots of pictures. I checked it out in high school to read it proper, but I never got around to it. I will, though.
3. Peasants, Rebels, Women, and Outcastes: the Underside of Modern Japan, Mikiso Hane; 4 The Peoples of the British Isles: from Prehistoric Times to 1688, Standford E. Lehmberg; 5. A Modern History of Japan; Andrew Gordon; and 6. Victorian America, Thomas J. Schlereth.
These were all books which I was supposed to have read in class, but didn't...mostly. That is, I'd do the assigned readings for the first few weeks of the semester, then start missing every other one, and by the end of the semester not realize how incredibly behind I am. I never endured any penalties for this because I listened attentively in lectures. I passed my English History Since Elizabeth and Renaissance and Reformation classes without even buying the books, because I had to save costs those semesters.
7. The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
Yes, I read it. And I made complimentary noises at it, because it's a Classic and it's hard to make hissy noises at Classics unless they really deserve it. But truth be told...
...I didn't really enjoy it.
8. The Ascent of Science, Brian Silver
This is an excellent book. The first part of it changed the way I viewed the world. I've never finished it, but I think I've commented on it here twice. I keep meaning to go back and finish climbing the mountain, but it hasn't quite happened yet.
9. Something by Faulker
My English composition instructor favored southern literature and relished the idea of springing Flannery O'Connor and William Faulkner on we naive youths fresh from high school. Faulker's stream-of-consciousness approach, and the general weirdness of southern gothic novels in general, did not strike a chord with me -- and so I forgot or didn't bother to read one of his works for our final exam, one which involved a creepy house and a dead person. I was excused from taking the exam, though, by my instructor: she said that based on the term's coursework, I was in excellent shape.
You'd better believe that was a gift horse I didn't look in the mouth!
10. Something Related to Martin Guerre
My favorite professor's approach to Historical Methodology involved class debates. Near the middle of term we were to watch a movie based on The Return of Martin Guerre over a course of two weeks, during which time we were to read articles defending or attacking the book's scholarship. We were sorted into teams and would debate the merits of the work following the movie. I thought he meant the class following the movie sessions. I didn't realize we were having the debate immediately after the movie, so I came to class with nothing more than a bottle of water and some pretzels to enjoy during the movie. I hadn't even read the articles my side was supposed to cover, and to this day I have no idea what position we were to have taken. Normally active in class discussion, I retreated into the background like a snake, murmuring assent and nodding gravely during our discussion but contributing nothing. I felt like such a creep! At the end of term we did a similar project, a debate about the merits of the United States' decision to attack Japan with nuclear bombs, and there I applied myself properly and even steered our group's discussion. I hope that makes up for my previous parasitism.
Despite what this post may lead you to believe, I really am a serious student!