Wuthering Heights

images-1.jpgBack in the early 1960s I was the sleepy blond surfer with the denim Converse and the sea-salty epidural itch. I was an inadvertent undercover scholar who passed for being bored in class because I was bored in class. When the teacher asked a question I often allowed the tense quiet to build before I almost imperceptibly raised my arm and grunted the correct answer.

My favorite class was English and in my senior year I happily read lots of books, drawled out correct answers, aced all the quizzes and tests, all while affecting a bad boy attitude toward school and learning.

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High School Must Reads

high-school-reading-list-lgI’ve noticed that many new High School reading lists contain more and more relevant contemporary novels. Of course many of the best works were not even written when I was in school but it’s good to also see some emphasis still remains on the more traditional “Classics.”

Here are the 15 classics that are High School Must Reads:

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Myths About Literature

images.jpgI recently read a piece in the New York Times Book Section  that had me shaking my head. The subject of Bookends was “Is the Writer’s Only Responsibility to His Art?” The direction of this inquiry seemed obviously focused on the artist’s approach to his or her art (in this case literature) but the responses to the question clearly  misinterpreted it to refer to the other responsibilities the artist might have, to his kids or to some moral code imposed by society or religion.

The quotation is from that drunken rascal William Faulkner (watch the film Barton Fink for a fun fictional representation of a Faulkner close).

Perhaps here is an opportunity to recall Parker’s Myths of Literature:

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I Hunt Killers

killerIt’s a common narrative: the highly successful father teaches his son the skills and techniques used to become the future scion of the family business. Now, as the novel opens, the young man is still in High School, has a hemophilic friend, a black girlfriend, and is concerned that he too will follow his father who is currently in prison for having killed 124 people … Dad was one of the most notorious serial killers in history: a Super-Serial Killer.

Barry Lyga writes what is known as Young Adult fiction. Steeped in the world of comic books, Lyga has transferred the elements of plotting and characterization from the graphic world to his short stories and novels. His prose is not complex but as evidenced by his novel I Hunt Killers, his themes are not for children.

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