Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Regaining My Nerd Status

I was a nerd in high school.
Pic Courtesy

Ha! Who am I kidding? I'm still a nerd now.

I'm a nerd, though, with a pretty big secret that was revealed to my kids this week. While they didn't fully understand the scope of the secret, Hubby looked at me like I had grown a second head and said, "Seriously? Whoa."

I never read 2 of the books that are some of the top books on pretty much any required reading or greatest books ever written lists...

"Lord of the Flies" and "The Catcher in the Rye." Never read either book.

Yeah, yeah. I know. Every single conversation in the last 15 years or so where either one of these books has been brought up has gone something like this:

Person: You know, like in "Lord of the Flies"/ "The Catcher in the Rye."
Me: Oh, yeah, I understand, but I've never read it.
Person: (blank stare) What?
Me: Yeah. I've never read it. But I know the concept of the story and all.
Person: (continued blank stare) What do you mean you never read "Lord of the Flies"/ "The Catcher
in the Rye?" It was required reading in like 9th grade.
Me: Yeah, it was. But I picked a different book on the list, so I never read it.
Person: (seriously, the stare is getting old) Aren't you supposed to be smart or something?
Me: I guess. I graduated salutatorian. 
Person: (blank stare turning into a look like they smelled a fart somewhere) And you never read "Lord of the Flies"/ "The Catcher in the Rye?"
Me: Yep. That's right.
Person: That's messed up.
Me: Sure... I guess...

And that's it. End of conversation. Whatever they were talking about that caused them to make reference to the book, is gone forever. Conversation ends there, and 9 times out of 10, the person just walked away.

I wish I was making this up. I had no idea, 20 years ago, when I chose to read a different book on my summer reading list (which was either "A Separate Peace" or "Of Mice and Men") that it would have this much of an impact on my life now. I didn't think it was a big deal, but numerous conversations (I wish I could say it's only been 1 conversation, I really do) have proven me wrong.

Apparently I'm a freak for never having read these books, especially when you factor in how much of a book-loving geek I am.

This subject came up this week because the kids started reading classics. I looked over the recommended reading lists for their ages, and we picked out books we could agree upon. The Ginger is reading "From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler" and The Girl is reading "To Kill a Mockingbird" (yes, I read both of these in school, thank you). They have worksheets and questions to answer as they read, and certain chapters due at the end of each week.

This week, their first week, is apparently what I've now dubbed the Complain Loudly About Doing Something New week. It seems to happen whenever I introduce some new homeschooling item, and reading classics has been no different.

As The Girl moaned and groaned about not understanding the language of "To Kill a Mockingbird," and then moved on to how absolutely boring the book was, my eyes were strained from the amount of eye rolling I was doing.

A light bulb came on- a light bulb I'm kinda now wishing would have just stayed dim.

Me: Once you get into the book, it's amazing. A lot of classics are like that, honey, especially the old ones. They just take some time.
The Girl: But it's soooo boring.
Me: Not every book is going to have glittery vampires. Classics are important because of the messages they give and the way they make us think about the big picture. 
The Girl: Okay, so why can't I just read books I enjoy reading?
Me: Because you need to expand your horizons. And, you can't be an adult and have "To Kill a Mockingbird" brought up in conversation, and you have no idea what's going on. Kinda like me and "Lord of the Flies" and "The Catcher in the Rye."
The Girl: What?
(Effing light bulb came on.)
Me: I tell you what. While you are reading a classic novel, I will read a classic novel. I have a copy of "The Catcher in the Rye" downstairs, and I'll even get "Lord of the Flies" from the library. If you are reading a classic, I will do the same, so we are all in the same boat right now. But I want the complaining to stop.
The Girl: Deal!
Yep!!

The next day when we were telling Hubby the story, I got that growing-a-second-head look. Apparently, even Mr.Slept-Through-High-School Hubby read "Lord of the Flies". (I think he skipped "The Catcher in the Rye," too.)

So, tonight I start "The Catcher in the Rye." Every copy of "Lord of the Flies" is in use at the library (required reading lists and all, though with today's shotty curriculum, I'm surprised it's still even on any school's lists- I've picked up over the years that it's a pretty disturbing book), but should be in next week. I'm hoping to have "The Catcher in the Rye" done, move onto "Lord of the Flies" and then I will no longer have to have bizarre conversations that revolve around how I've never read these books.

I'm not going to lie- I'm not really looking forward to this. Like my kids (the apple doesn't fall far from the tree), I enjoy my books- books by Sarah Addison Allen, Sophie Kinsella and my easy-to-read witchy Kindle novels. Switching over to books outside of my realm isn't something I want to do right now. But, if I figure it's better to teach my kids by example, and I'm sick of these damn weird conversations in my life that revolve around how I never read these books.

Seriously, if there are any more I'm missing, please let me know below! Better yet, if there are any books now considered "new classics," let me know what those are, too, so I can make a preemptive strike against future weird ass conversations.

Here's to fully regaining my nerd status...


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6 comments:

  1. Catcher is a bit disturbing, but it's mostly sad. I read it for college last term. Haven't hit "Flies" yet. :-/ But I did read Outsiders.

    If The Girl doesn't like Mockingbird now, she might later on when she's older. It's ok to let it slide and have her try again later. Honest. I didn't read the Narnia series until I was an adult and I'm no worse off for it, though I love them now. :)

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    1. We went ahead an passed on Mockingbird for right now. She chose "Homecoming" by Cynthia Voigt. She likes it so far, which makes me happy, lol.

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  2. Never read either one myself. I'm no worse off. I was the nerd who always had two books in her bag...one from the "required" list, and one of my own. If not more! It KILLS me that none of my boys is a reader. I mean, they read when they have to, and #2 has some pretty amazing retention skills, but nobody else in my house understands or appreciates my love of the written word, and my need to surround myself with piles of books. 'Sniff'

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    1. See, now we'd get along amazingly, lol. I usually have a fiction book and a nonfiction book going at the same time. It's been hard trying to find the time to read lately, which sucks, but I'm going to keep trying, lol. ;)

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  3. The Mixed Up Files is still one of my favorite books.

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    1. I was surprised at how much I retained of it, having read it back when I was The Ginger's age. I printed a test for him that didn't have the answers, and I only had to look a few up, lol.

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