High-School Reading & Mind Sieve

Okay, I haven’t been here that long, and I believe I’ve already read one thread discussing this (and I’m sure there’s been others before then), but here goes…

This is either funny or sad, but I can’t remember having to read more than seven books throughout junior and senior high-school. Maybe I read more and simply can’t remember them because they were so boring. I would remember a book if I really hated it but, as it is, I don’t remember hating any particular book.

[Okay, I’m going off on a tangent here…]

Of course, my mind works very differently than most other people I know. I tend to retain information only long enough to pass a test or exam with flying colors. After that, however, the information tends to dissipate into the ether. I only retain bits and pieces of things if those particular bits and pieces managed to pique my imagination. (I blame the teaching abilities of most “teachers”.)

Unfortunately, this sieve of a mind of mine has made it seemingly impossible for me to succeed in post-secondary education. Two attempts over a ten-year period have only lead to one semesters-worth of credits and two stays in the hospital. My brain hurts…

[Back to our regularly scheduled program…]

Anyhoo, here’s a list of books I do remember reading…

Flowers For Algernon
Lord Of The Flies
Owls In The Family (Farley Mowat)
To Kill A Mockingbird
Wuthering Heights


So what was the question? Or are you sharing your high school reading list for no particular reason?

I hear ya. I remember the weirdest things, and often not what I’d expect to remember. My own life? Not so much. Obscure data I read in a magazine when I was seven? Of course! Languages I used to be able to read? It is to laugh.


Well, based on what I’ve read in other threads, it sounds like a lot of people have had to read a lot more books in high-school than just seven - which is how many I remember having to read. Is this true? Or is my memory really that fragmented? Or are/were the schools around here really that bad?


maybe you want to give some general timeframe for comparison’s sake. it’s remotely possible that the number of regular reading assignments has fluctuated over time.

for example, my HS years were in the early 70s. what i can still remember of my reading assignments:

The Mayor of Castorbridge
MacBeth and several other of Shakespeare’s plays
Bless the Beasts and Children
The Lottery
When the Legends Die
various tales by Edgar Allen Poe
something short, perhaps by Ann Rand (sp?), dealing with a society’s loss of individuality, and one man’s rediscovery of same
Man of La Mancha
selected portions of The Canterbury Tales

that’s the most that my somewhat time-worn memory can dredge up at the moment. i’m sure there was much more, including various poems and short stories. (plus, that list is in competition with all the outside reading i was doing voluntarily at the same time. THAT list is easily 3 times longer, even allowing for memory loss.)

The number of required books at high school depends largely on when and where you went to school:) Currently at the high school i attended, english classes average 2 full books a year and several short stories/poems/plays. That averages out to eight, so your memory may not be that fragmented. As far as middle school…i only remember reading a few “Where the red fern grows” types

That’s what I suspect. But I found it quite disconcerting, during the very short time I spent in university, when other students were taken aback that I had not read such-and-such a novel or such-and-such a play. And the list seemed quite long…

I’m glad to hear that. For the record, I was in high-school from 88-94. Three years in junior high and three in high-school proper (after six years of elementary). Things are different now - seven years of elementary and five years of high-school.

The saddest things about reading when it comes to school, was that I read books my by hundreds all through elementary. I went to bed with volumes of encyclopedias! However, by the time I finished junior high, I had virtually stopped reading casually. Only after recovering from my failed first attempt at university, did I start getting back into reading.


In high school English/Literature classes, we were required to read a certain number of books as a class. Freshman year we read Julius Caesar and The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-In-The-Moon Marigolds. Sophomore year it was Romeo and Juliet, Alas Babylon and The Pearl. Junior year was Hamlet and Sense & Sensibility, and senior year - MacBeth, Of Mice and Men, and Animal Farm.

In addition to in-class reading, each year we were given a huge reading list, and were required to turn in a book report every two weeks. We could choose from any of the books on the list. I still have my freshman year reading list - that was the shortest one, and there’s 48 books on it.

I had a long discussion with the WryGuy about education in general. He was going on about how his Catholic school education was way better than my Chicago Public school education. I pulled out my freshman reading list, and he changed his mind.