Monthly Archives: November, 2011

More Books They Made You Read in School


After I finished the last blog, I realized that I had left some “What were they smoking when they wrote that” award winners out.  That simply wasn’t right.  So here is part 2.

The Lord of The Flies
by William Golding

A good advertisement
for birth control

A bunch of British brats are stranded on an island and within weeks start trying to kill each other.  So basically a longer version of what happens on the playground every day in America.  A kid who supposedly represented Christ got killed with a rock – I think.  And there was another kid called “Piggy” – guess why.  And people wonder why there are school shootings.

Final Analysis: Little boys are evil.  Don’t ever leave them alone.  Especially with rocks.

The Old Man and the Sea
 by Ernest Hemingway

The title basically says it all – it’s an old man and the sea.  For about 100 pages.  Except they should have added “the pointless story of” to the front, since he catches the big fish only to have it – here’s the fun part – get completely eaten before he makes it back home.  Lots of references to Joe DiMaggio.  Unlike many other fictional stories, we also get to hear about every time he goes potty in the sea.

Final Analysis:  It’s short, so at least it doesn’t take you too long to read it – though it seems longer.

The Crucible
by Arthur Miller

A group of young Puritan girls decide it’d be fun to torture their elders by pretending to be afflicted by witchcraft.  Many people get hanged as a result of their wacky hijinks.  Shows that junior high girls haven’t changed that much.  Neither has organized religion, come to think of it.

Final Analysis: Girl children are evil too.  Best to lock them up until the teen years are safely behind them.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame
by Victor Hugo

Clearly a kid-friendly movie!

Now with hunchback in the title, how can this fail to be a fun romp of a book?  Sadly, it does.  The hideously deformed hunchback – named Quasimodo as an added insult – has a horrible life, but falls in love, gets rejected, sees his love hanged, and ends up buried in the grave with her.  Happy, happy story!  Which is why Disney of course made a movie out of it.

Final Analysis:  No, seriously, Disney made it a cartoon movie.  Quasi doesn’t die, but love interest Esmerelda, the pole dancing gyspy, dumps him for a handsome hottie.  Also, there’s an evil lustful priest and – hey, what more could you want in a family show?

War and Peace
by Leo Tolstoy

Okay, I’ll admit that I never had to read this one (thank God) but I’m going to take a stab at it.  It’s about war.  And peace.  And it’s REALLY long – I mean really, really long.  I’m thinking even my English teachers didn’t want to read this thing, which is how I got out of it.

Final Analysis: Even if you don’t read it, this book would be an excellent murder weapon, since it’s nearly as heavy as your average Brides magazine.

Of Mice and Men
by John Steinbeck

This is NOT going to end well
If you recognized old John from our last list, then you know you’re in for a treat!  This one’s about a guy and his mentally retarded brother, Lenny, who likes to pet the rabbits. And kill them.  Then he pets a girl. I think you can see where this is going.

Final Analysis:  It should be called “Of Rabbits and Humans.”  Get a clue – if you can’t trust your brother around rabbits, better watch him around humans.

Flowers for Algernon
by Daniel Keyes

Speaking of inspiring books about the disabled, Algernon gets some sort of smart operation and quits being retarded for a while.  And realizes that life really kind of sucks when you are smart enough to know what’s going on.  But it’s okay, because by the end he starts going back to being retarded.

Final Analysis:  If only I had one of those Harry Potter wands so that I could unread this book. I would be sooo much happier.

Books They Made You Read In School

I have always been opposed to censorship.  That means that even though some books, like, say 50 Shades of Grey, have probably widened the hole in the ozone layer, people should be allowed to read them if they want.  But you might be wondering, is it just popular literature that sucks?  Oh, no, says Alice.  Classics can suck too, and having majored in English, I consider myself quite the authority on literature suckage.  For one thing, to be a classic, a book has to be horribly depressing, from what I can tell.  I don’t know about you, but I can get enough depressing just by watching the news (esp Fox News).  I don’t need books for that.
How many books do we read in school only because it was an assignment?  How many books would NEVER be read if it weren’t for English classes?  Probably quite a few.  Here’s a few of my least favorites, and summaries so that you can be informed of these great works of literature.

And it’s a SERIES. Hoo-ray.

Rabbit, Run
By John Updike
Summary:  I have tried to obliterate as much of the plot of this book from my mind as possible.  What I do remember is that this book has a protagonist so creepy you want to hit him with a crowbar.  Repeatedly.  You also want to go back and hit John Updike with a crowbar just for writing it.
Final Analysis: Run, Reader, Run!
Moby Dick
By Herman Melville
Summary: Starts out interesting adventure story with some guy named Ishmael.  Suddenly, author stops plot cold to talk about whales.  A lot.  Then the story starts back with the point of view of some other guy named Starbuck.  Book is well known for the white whale being compared to everything from God to a lawnmower, and also its stupid character names including “Starbuck” and “Moby Dick”.
Final Analysis: Take out about 600 pages and it’s not too bad.
The Grapes of Wrath
By John Steinbeck
No grapes in the book.   It’s about the Great Depression, so not surprisingly, it’s a bit of a downer.  Mostly I remember an adult guy breastfeeding from a woman.  Kind of hard to forget, that.
Final Analysis: Read the Cliff Notes, so you can sound learned but not get so depressed you’re ready to jump off a building.

If there’s a tombstone on the cover, that’s a bad sign.

Great Expectations
By Charles Dickens
I don’t know what girl dumped on Charles, but this book is his revenge.  Protagonist loser Pip chases after Estella who stomps on his heart at the beginning, middle, and end of the book.  Also involves Miss Haversham, an old lady covered in cobwebs that would become the model for librarians everywhere.
Final Analysis: Expect all you want, but it’s pretty long and has a lousy ending.
Last of the Mohicans
By James Fenimore Cooper
Novel that would be sexist and racist if one could understand a word of it.  The author, clearly in an attempt at humor, names the main character Natty Bumppo.
Final Analysis:  Watch the movie: at least you can look at Daniel Day Lewis.
The Sound and the Fury
By William Faulkner
Book is written in stream of consciousness, which is another way of saying “incomprehensible”.   I can’t remember anything about it, and I like to keep it that way.
Final Analysis:  Listen to Shakespeare.  “Full of Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing”
The Odyssey
By Homer
Typical guy gets lost and won’t ask for directions.   Has adventures while sailing around Greece.  Most of his men are eaten by monsters, but they’re really stupid, so you don’t care too much.   Long poem, but repeats the same phrases like “rosy fingered dawn” over and over until you are ready to jump into the ocean with the Sirens.
Final Analysis: Weird, but has romance, lots of blood and gore, and a one-eyed monster that eats sheep.  Two thumbs up!

Always take your presciption meds.

Don Quixote
By Miguel de Cervantes
Old crazy guy runs around and charges at monstrous windmills and such.  There was supposed to be something really symbolically significant about it, but I forget what that was.
Final Analysis: Shows the Spanish authors are as nutty as the English authors
Dante’s Inferno
By Dante (surprise!)
This book puts the reader through hell – literally.  The seven circles of hell will later be what many Christians think the Biblical hell is all about, since they haven’t actually read their Bibles. 
Final Analysis:  Hell kinda sucks.  Best to avoid it.