Sunday, February 11, 2007

Did my mom ruin it for me, or was it really that tedious...

I’ve always been a voracious reader, and a competitive/compulsive list-checker, so when Alicia invited me to participate in this project, I thought I’d recognize a majority of the titles. After scanning the list, however, I’m humbled. I have read only 16 of the titles, and absolutely none of the early winners.

Before getting too specific on any one book, I just wanted to share a few quick and disjointed thoughts.

First, my favorites on the list: From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, The Westing Game, Bridge to Terabithia, Summer of the Swans and The Witch of Blackbird Pond.

Second, the books I didn’t like at the time, but would be interested in re-reading to see if I appreciate them more now: Julie of the Wolves, Island of the Dolphins, Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry.

And finally, a quick memory... I remember reading “Island of the Blue Dolphins” in second grade as part of an advanced reading group. There were a handful of us who met weekly while the other students were plowing through textbooks like “Serendipity” and “Kalidescope.” While we were glad to be freed from those tedious books and generally preferred our selections better (specifically I remember “The Lemming Condition”), I can only think of “Blue Dolphins” as a major struggle.

I’ve never been a fan of wilderness books (outside of Little House on the Prairie and the Boxcar Children), so this book just dragged for me. Compounding things, my mom was the reading teacher that led this book group, and every night she’d ask if I’d read the required pages. I always had two or three other books that I was reading for pleasure, and she’d make me put them down to push through the pages for our reading group. It felt like punishment, and I’d wager it’s the first book I remember resenting.

On second thought, maybe I won’t bother re-reading that one. I’ve already spent too many hours on books that didn’t do it for me…

4 comments:

Alicia said...

Wow, I didn't remember that. What a position to be in. I'm actually trying to remember how my husband, who is "coaching" my son's "book bowl" (explanation at http://bookworm.pilcrow.biz/2004/12/21/book-bowl/) team, has handled it. I think he's generally left the son alone.

I have to say, I think parents as official teachers to their children is a bad idea and should be avoided if at all possible.

I also have to comment that I, too, don't like wilderness writing and am not looking forward to Julie of the Wolves or Island of the Blue Dolphins (both of which will be first reads for me).

Melissa said...

Ah, give them a chance. Blue Dolphins, especially, is a wonderful read.

Joanne (The Simple Wife) said...

Yes, definitely give them a chance. Especially the Julie books (there are three in all, I think). Think of girl on her own having an adventure rather than wilderness...

Sandy D. said...

Huh. I absolutely *love* wilderness writing, but vaguely remember not liking "Island of the Blue Dolphins". No idea why, so I'm looking forward to re-reading it, too.