Friday, October 05, 2007

I want more

I’ve been banging on here, here and here about my new ‘how to’ book being the most useful yet. One of the things that I love about it is that they use several novels to illustrate each of the points they are making.

The only drawback is that unfortunately I hadn’t read any of them - though the tome that is ‘Tom Jones’ has been on my TBR pile for about three years. I haven’t found that this has detracted from the (mostly) intelligent information being conveyed though because enough explanation is given each time.

What it has accomplished is to whet my appetite for some of the books. (The books they use are Madame Bovary, Tom Jones, The Grapes of Wrath, The Pearl, From Here to Eternity, To Kill a Mockingbird and The Spy Who Came in From the Cold.) In my school days some of these books were English O and A level texts – but they were never ones I came across.

I wonder did I let that put me off? I said in my book meme last week how much I loved the texts that I did at school – a combination of fabulous writing, wonderful teaching (see here and here for Mrs D worship) and enthusiastic readers all around me.

So having found Structuring Your Novel so helpful, I started reading some of the books. Last week I read John Steinbeck’s The Pearl and this week I read Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. (This was also on someone’s book meme but I can’t remember whose!)

OH MY GOD, how can I have reached 40 and never read To Kill a Mockingbird? I loved it, I loved it so much. I want to start back at the beginning and read it again. I loved Atticus, and Calpurnia and Scout. I want more.


Pacha said...

OK. I think I may have to read 'To kill a Mockingbird' again. I read it over 15 years ago and remember I loved it too; especially the charcters and setting. I wanted to be Scout. I remember also being enormously frustrated/shocked when I discovered that Harper Lee never wrote another novel. (another Margaret Mitchell)

Lane said...

Ooh I've just read your Mrs Dordi post. That is so nice. I feel a bit touched (which is weird for an old cynic like me). Did you 'speak' to her again? I so wish I'd had inspirational teachers instead of nasty, evil, sadist nuns:-((
Re To Kill a Mockinbird. I adore that book (and I love Gregory Peck in the film....hhmmmm)

Carol and Chris said...

I can't believe you reached 40 without reading To Kill A Mockingbird either!! It was the first 'adult' book I read when I was growing up and it had a huge impact on me.....not only story wise but it was the first time I felt loss when finishing a book. I think that was when I fell in love with reading!!

Pacha I wanted to be Scout too :-)

C x

JJ said...

Hi Pacha, yes, do. I think I may need to read it again too! I can't believe she wrote nothing else...

Lane, thank you. She is lovely - I was lucky enough to have her from 13 through to 18. When I googled her and found her address I emailed her and we did correspond. I must write again. I don't know if she still reads this blog or not. Oooh, I'd love to see the movie.

Carol, I don't know why I haven't. I think I may have been put off by it being a set text... but that's a bit stupid, really. Yup I felt utterly bereft yesterday, and haven't been able to start a new book yet.


High Priestess of Punk-chew-ation said...

There is usually a pretty good reason why a book makes it onto the Eng Lit syllabus. Usually it's because it's beautifully written, has an important moral or social message, has universal appeal and has stood/shows signs of being able to stand the test of time. So glad you loved it. It is a truly beautiful thing. Get the film; it's equally lovely.

Rebecca said...

You've inspired me, also, to reread To Kill a Mockingbird! I read it at school (over twenty years ago - isn't that bizarre when you can start saying that..) but can hardly remember it.

I have it on my shelves and am going to start today. (just finished a book last night)

JJ said...

HPoP, Ha, I thought this post might get you de-lurked and commenting! You're such an English Teacher! I'm going to do The Grapes of Wrath next. Any other recommendations?

Rebecca, I'm so glad. Please make sure you pop back and tell me how you got on - or email. I'm going to read it again. Several times I stopped and made a note about how she'd done something with her writing. I should've made notes all the way through, but was enjoying the story too much to stop. I could do it in a second reading...


High Priestess of Punk-chew-ation said...

Ooh, you big tease you! If you recall, I did recommend that you read some Steinbeck a few months ago. I admire him for the spareness of his prose and the simplicity of his imagery. For morals you could do worse than Animal Farm; for skillful period detail The Go Between; for symbolism Hardy. And when all else fails and you need to be reminded that plots that twist and turn like a turny thing are just fine, and that unfeasible coincidences are de rigeur,(re)turn to Jane.

JJ said...

HPoP, Yes, I do recall your recommending Steinbeck - and that was an influence in my recent purchases too. I've read Of Mice and Men (school, but Drama or English? I can't remember) but nothing else of his until The Pearl. Grapes of Wrath next, I think.

I did Animal Farm at school too, but could do with a revisit.

Thomas Hardy ... mmm, well, you might just have hit my weak spot there. Did Tess of the D'Urbervilles which, yes, I enjoyed, but remember 1500 pages of description which ... mmm, not sure about.

What are the 'young people' studying today, Oh, HPoP?


Juliette M said...

I think it was my meme. I'm so glad you read it, it's wonderful. Atticus is such a beautiful character and Jem and Scout are fantastic. I just love Scout's take on the world.

Strangely enough I didnt want to be Scout; I wanted to be Miss Maudie Atkinson! I wanted her garden.

JJ said...

Hi Juliette, Oh well, if it was yours, THANK YOU. I loved how Atticus was a father so ahead of his time. I loved the way he encouraged the children independent of what the society expected of him (and them). I really thought it was fab.