06 August 2011

Kickin' It Old School

The other day I discovered a stack of books that caused me nothing but pain and torture in days gone by. Yes, that's right. REQUIRED READING MATERIAL. I did English Literature in high school, which was wonderful in that it started my life-long love of Shakespeare, but bad in the respect that it was brain-smashingly hard and almost resulted in me failing Year 12.

Most of the required material is incredibly tedious when you're 16. I was actually really surprised to find I still had these books. The only one that appears to be missing is Hedda Gabler, but I had such a special hate for that book that I suspect it may have met a fiery end post-graduation. I've decided to revisit these now that I'm somewhat more 'mature' to see if they're any more enjoyable. Except Hedda Gabler. Just reading the synopsis on Wikipedia just about put me into convulsions.

Let's have a look at what we've got:

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

What I remember: In a dystopian future, women are slaves. They wear red, they breed, they hang out. 

What Wikipedia says: The Handmaid's Tale is set in the near future in the Republic of Gilead, a country formed within the borders of what was formerly the United States of America. It was founded by a racist, male chauvinist, nativist, theocratic-organized military coup as an ideologically driven response to the pervasive ecological, physical and social degradation of the country.

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

What I remember: Africa. Some crazy white dude. Tim Roth (we watched the movie after we finished the book). 

What Wikipedia says: The story centres on Charles Marlow, who narrates most of the book. He is an Englishman who takes a foreign assignment from a Belgian trading company as a ferry-boat captain in Africa. Heart of Darkness exposes the dark side of European colonization while exploring the three levels of darkness that the protagonist, Marlow, encounters: the darkness of the Congo wilderness, the darkness of the Europeans' cruel treatment of the natives, and the unfathomable darkness within every human being for committing heinous acts of evil.

Othello by William Shakespeare

What I remember: Black guy...something something...a-hole white guy named after the parrot in Aladdin...something something...conflict.

What Wikipedia says: WAY TOO MANY THINGS. In summary, Othello is a black guy in the army and a total badass. He's married to a chick called Desdemona. He's got a buddy called Iago who gets really pissed off when Othello promotes a younger guy called Cassio head of him. Iago proceeds to ruin the shit out of everyone's lives. Cause he can.

In all honesty I probably won't read this one again, but I have been wanting to re-watch a modern adaption called 'O' starring Mekhi Phifer, Julia Stiles & Josh Hartnett (oh, early 00s, I love you), so will probably do that instead.

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

What I remember: It being really boring til we got the watch the BBC version. Ey-o! No, I do like P&P, but until you get it into your brain that Mr Darcy is a super Hottie McHottiepants, the book goes like this: Fairly nice girl has a whole lot of idiot sisters and an idiot mother. One idiot sister loves the new bland rich boy in the neighbourhood. Bland rich boy's friend is a frigid douchebag who is in general quite a douchebag to the fairly nice girl. The most idiot of the idiot sisters runs off with a total manslut, so frigid douchebag goes and finds them. Turns out he was only a douchebag cause he totally loved the fairly nice girl. Fairly nice girl marries him. You never find out if he stops being frigid.

I don't plan on reading this again, I have read/seen it ten million times. It's just an excuse for a picture of Colin Firth. The actual caption on this picture when I found it was 'Ideal Breeding Material'. TRUTH. Would also accept Matthew McFayden as potential babydaddy.

There are a couple of other books I'm going to add to this list even though they technically weren't school books. They feel like they should have been though.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

I'm currently reading this for the first time, so no memories. I am quite enjoying it, even though there have been quite a few passages I've skimmed due to preachy God things. Though even those are ok in the end cause the character will say something along the lines of 'If I suffer without complaining, then God will like me and I'll get into heaven' and Jane will be all 'What is WRONG with you??' Very much looking forward to the movie, and not just for The Fassbender. Though I'm looking forward to The Fassbender a lot.

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

This book was gifted to me by my Year 10 English teacher from his personal library, but I must admit I'm yet to read it. I saw the movie adaption 'In Love and War' starring the dreamy Chris O'Donnell and the sassy Sandra Bullock, but that's as far as I got. It's totally my sort of thing, wartime romance and all that, so I'm not sure why I haven't bothered to tackle it before now.

My task is set! Keep an eye on the Currently Reading section in the sidebar to see what I'm up to in my quests. I may or may not reblog about the books at the end, cause it'll probably be quite boring to read 'No, they were all just as boring as they were 10 years ago', but we'll see how it goes.

1 comment:

  1. This list is totally awesome. I completely want to do this. And English Lit kicked my arse as well. I SUCKED at it, which surprised no one more than me :/