Friday, July 29, 2011

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 9, 25

Day 25: The Favorite Book You Read in School

I'm going to just assume that this category means that we read the book for a class, and not that we just read the book in a class.  I mean, technically I read John Grisham's The Firm in a class, as I "borrowed" a copy left in my mother's classroom (she was the 11th grade English teacher at my high school) and read it during Chemistry while our teacher was off coaching the boys basketball team for two weeks as they made a run for state.  Ah, small town educational opportunities.  Anyway, here are our picks for day 25:


While I really stewed over the book question whose answer ended up being Carol Burnett, this question is very easy...William Faulkner.  When I was going to school in North Carolina I had a professor who may have been in love, SERIOUS LOVE, with William Faulkner, and I am forever grateful.  It was my introduction and immersion into the world of Yoknapatawpha County.  I read Faulkner and nearly only Faulkner for a year (which sort of makes it sound like I was either in love with my professor--who I assure you cared little for dental hygiene--or maybe I was in love with Faulkner...who had a lifelong fidelity and drinking if I were to lay odds knowing my romantic history I would say I was in love with Faulkner).  Anyway, I highly suggest that isolating yourself with Faulkner for a period of time (and then get in a car with Liz and drive to Oxford) [Sweet! Road trip companions! I can show you where Gianna's going to dump my body in the Atchafalaya Basin!].  Oh, and in case you care, Absalom, Absalom! is my favorite.


As I mentioned earlier, my mother was my high school English teacher, and to make matters worse, my twin sister was also in the class.  Imagine a whole year of every family feud waltzing right into second period Honors English to be enacted in front of the petty little assholes with whom I went to school for 12 years (another joy of rural education--you are in classes with the same 25 kids forever, so the bickering in seventh grade science could pop up as a very cold revenge in sophomore history).  It was a real hoot.  Also, throw in that Attila, my mother, admitted that she graded my work harder than others' and sent my sister to the assistant principal's office for kicking one of the little assholes in the shin (Can an asshole have a shin? Technically probably not....).  Yeah, maybe I hold onto my past a bit too tightly.  I always loved English, but there are some titans of American Literature that I simply don't like.  Hawthorne, for example.  And Twain--ugh.  I'm not so hot on Thoreau and Emerson and the proto-hippie Transcendentalists.  By the second semester of that endless year, I was rather disenchanted with the branch of literature my mother most loved, but then we came to The Great Gatsby.  Here was a story of the little assholes of another time, trapped in that time, and of their vagaries.  Here was an author consumed by his own passions and excesses and still able to define an era with one book.  Fitzgerald's sentences sang to me and I loved the characters and story.  Back in the day the Modern Library announced their greatest novels of the 20th Century.  They picked Gatsby at #2.  I would be willing to argue, though, that it is the greatest novel of that century and this nation. 

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