Books From Your Teens (1 Viewer)

hiadudiad?

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Rate all of your school books:
The Merchant of Venice: I forget
Othello (The Lascivious Moor & The Lewd Minx): 7/10
Macbeth: I forget, think it was good.
Juno & The Paycock: ??
Silas Marner 0/10
Hard Times: 4.5/10
 

nuke terrorist

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when i was 17 (sounds like a song) in 1993 a pal of mine who was barely 16
got me to read The Trial by Kafka.
i wasn't too bothered but when i noticed the name Josef K I told him that had
been the name of a Scottish post punk band (who I never heard at the time)
and thought - OK, i'll give it a go and find out what Kafkaesque means into the bargain.

I liked it but compared to how miserable my life was at the time (earning about 110
Euros per week today's money) it seemed closer to reality than nightmarish.

I later bought Kafka's short stories which I liked even more.

so then my pal, on a roll, lent me another book The Prodigy by Herman Hesse.
he recommended it carefully knowing my dislike of formal education.
I managed to get through it - but gawd what cliched book.
I understand where Hesse is coming from but it does such a poor job
of deconstructing schooling's impact on the individual.
I could have done it far better myself. the story line was just crap.

he'd now blew all the cred he had built up on the back of Kafka and I said
no way was I going read another Hesse book when he next tried to give me
The Steppenwolf...

why i am mentioning this ? I very rarely read fiction then and even less now.
I don't have much suspension of belief ? (if that's what it's called) if something
implausible happens in a plot I feel like it's taking the piss.
i'm OK with the truly absurd e.g. Sharknado or something but it's like writing
a crime novel and holding back clues from the reader until the end - not having that.

I very rarely watch TV drama and few movies either.
narrative songwriting is a rare thing in my record collection.
storytelling doesn't really appeal to me much - anyone else feel the same ?

even in school you got little opportunity to write anything except fiction.
isn't the real world interesting ?
kids are being put off reading because they think it's all Harry Potter or
whatever. i would have loved the Horrible History books but never
heard of anything like that in the 80's.

some things I wanted to read I wasn't sure how to track down until my 20's:
my dad got a book for his 14th or maybe 15th ( i.e. the day JFK snuffed it) birthday
- The Pears Cyclopaedia.
it had a article on the wave of dramatists of the era -
Behan, Beckett, Osborne, Delaney, Pinter, Ionesco.
so I read that aged 15 myself and thought Beckett, Pinter and Ionesco sounded exciting.

the best thing was the writer when reviewing each play gave a full synopsis of the plot !
most people would hate spoilers like that but I thought it was great.
so instantly I knew Rhinoceros or The Caretaker were essential reads.
says a lot about how I view fiction.

some years later I tracked both down and some Sam B. and for once literature
met my expectations.
Rhinoceros is the best thing I've ever read - Berenger is my hero.
the final speech in that play, particularly the last few lines are beyond immense.

anyone know why people like the folks I've mentioned positively here
aren't on the secondary syllabus ?
or they just too good to let the education system ruin them for kids ?

and finally - I mentioned Postcard records band JOSEF K earlier.
they didn't get along with label mates ORANGE JUICE and the fact that
Edwyn Collins used the name of the protagonist of his favourite novel
for their Polydor pseudo label was cited as an example of difference in mentality -
'Holden Caulfield Universal.'
 

therealjohnny

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I remember reading The Catcher in the Rye but I don't think it was school related. I'm pretty sure I became aware if it because Mark Chapman and other loons were associated with it. In the TV show Coach the big dumb character referred to it as "that book about the whiny prepschool kid". As good a description as any.
 

magicbastarder

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there's one book i read and loved as a kid (probably pre-teens) and i can't for the life of me remember what it was called or who wrote it.
was a novel about a chap who escaped from a russian gulag (least, i think it was one, i may not have been aware of what a gulag actually was at that age) who ended up living off the land after escaping, ray mears style.
 

Cornu Ammonis

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IN SOOTH I KNOW NOT WHY I AM SO SAD

that's all i got
It wearies me, you say it wearies you

Can’t remember any more of the opening than that.

There’s also the famous “If you prick us, do we not bleed” and “pound of flesh” quotes. And the classic Shakespearean “it’s a boy playing a woman playing a man” trope.

anyone know why people like the folks I've mentioned positively here
aren't on the secondary syllabus ?
or they just too good to let the education system ruin them for kids ?
I don’t know, I think Beckett would be great to counterbalance the typical dramas on the syllabus. I think Pinter might the on the British A-levels?
 

hugh

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By the way, I can yell ye what the young ones are doing for Junior Cycle in School now. Seems to be Of Mice And Men and The Outsiders. I think there is some Shakespeare on the way soon too (Romeo and Juliet). The other thing they are doing now on the English syllabus is films. There is a list of them that the teacher/class can choose from. My one was doing E.T. Donald Clarke had a good old rant in the paper a few months ago about the wisdom of doing film as part of the English syllabus but the kids seem to like it.
 

Cornu Ammonis

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By the way, I can yell ye what the young ones are doing for Junior Cycle in School now. Seems to be Of Mice And Men and The Outsiders. I think there is some Shakespeare on the way soon too (Romeo and Juliet). The other thing they are doing now on the English syllabus is films. There is a list of them that the teacher/class can choose from. My one was doing E.T. Donald Clarke had a good old rant in the paper a few months ago about the wisdom of doing film as part of the English syllabus but the kids seem to like it.
What’s his beef with doing films as part of the course?
 

hugh

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I think it was along the lines of - it's doing a disservice to film to treat it as literature. It emphasises the narrative/story/character elements and tends towards a view of film as being something like a visualisation or dramatisation of a novel. Film hasn't got that much to do with "English" or even with language as these things are only one of the elements that go into the making of it. It's a visual medium as opposed to a language or text-based one.

To be fair though, my young one's English teacher, when doing E.T. with them, seemed to be all about how the visual elements (e.g. camera angles, colour, shot types etc) worked together to convey the story/atmosphere.
 

magicbastarder

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is there an argument to be made that even calling the subject 'english' is a misnomer by LC?
it's not about the language, per se, anymore, it's about poetry, prose, drama, and writing.
 

Lili Marlene

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I wish I had done the Outsiders for my Junior Cert : /

I need to read Catcher in the Rye again, it brings out such strong feelings in people but I haven't read it since someone FORCED me to read it as a teenager so I was resentful from page one .
 

pete

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Also just remembered talking to Stephen Donaldson at a signing in easons - “How old are you? I don’t think you should be reading my books.”
 

hiadudiad?

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The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty was the first kinda grown-up book I read. I remember reading The Secret Of Moon Castle by Enid Blyton downstairs and the Exorcist in bed, in case it'd be taken off me if anyone saw it, although it turned out nobody cared.
 

egg_

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Also just remembered talking to Stephen Donaldson at a signing in easons - “How old are you? I don’t think you should be reading my books.”
Ah! Thomas Covenant! I loved those as a teen

In my early teens I went through a phase of reading christian prophecy the-end-of-the-world-is-coming books, like The Late Great Planet Earth. Total nonsense obviously, but I took it seriously at the time and it was pretty scary.

Also I read Illusions by Richard Bach - about a lad who meets a kind of Jesus figure in the rural US. Fucking blew my 15 year old mind. Load of Herman Hesse books in my later teens too - Siddhartha in particular had a big impact on me

Lot of mystical/religious-y stuff there, it's weird to think of it now from my hardcore rationalist/atheist middle-aged perspective
 

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