August 20, 2011

Boring high school reading lists

Okay, that's too broad a title. All I'm qualified to talk about are the reading lists in Catholic high schools. Unfortunately I spent four of my tender teenage years in such an institution, and I remember being bored stupid by what they forced us to read.

Now, remember, I love reading. I used to read a book every two or three days in my teens, but even I couldn't read what they assigned us. Boring, boring stuff -- that's all they gave us. And here's the thing: I graduated from Catholic high school nearly five decades ago. Yet my nephews, in Catholic high school today, are being force-fed those same, archaic titles.

Way to go, Catholic HS! This country has kids who've never enjoyed a book in their lives and you're giving them dried parchment to read? Yes, there are classics but you know what? Some of them are interesting. How come you don't assign those books?

No, the kids get "The Red Badge of Courage" and "The Scarlet Letter". That'll set 'em on fire, for sure. Newsflash: good books have been written since the year 1900. Even in the decades since I was in high school, some very good books have come out. What about them? Why not let the kids read something that is interesting and is set in a world they can recognize? Herman Melville? You think that's good fare for today's teenagers? Wake up!

When "Xmas Carol" is finished, I'm going to send a copy to my Catholic high school with a note to say that I, an illustrious alumnus, wrote the book. I'm hoping they'll include it in their next freshman reading list. I'm lookin' at you, Archbishop Molloy High School. Trust me, the kids will love it!

1 comment:

Artichoke Annie said...

"When "Xmas Carol" is finished, I'm going to send a copy to my Catholic high school with a note to say that I, an illustrious alumnus, wrote the book." - This is priceless, in fact I would give them more than one copy...