Small print used to scare me

Scout is hilarious. She reminds me of myself.

…I’m reading To Kill A Mockingbird. It’s been on my Shelfari “I plan to read” shelf for quite some time.

To Kill A Mockingbird was a summer reading option for me before I entered ninth grade honors English. I, preferring adventure, chose to read The Hobbit, instead. I was one of two who chose to read it. Everyone else chose To Kill A Mockingbird, and I’m realizing why. I’m about halfway through. I started it yesterday. It’s truly a wonderful novel.

I reread novels recently that I enjoyed when I was around 13 years old. Turns out, opinions change as you age. Those books by Lurlene McDaniel that I so loved? They’re predictable. She reuses the same ideas. She’s a lazy author. Sequels fail to carry the same names with minor characters (the name is Dustin in one, Justin in the other; Amanda in one, Emily in the other). It irks me that she does not pay attention to detail.

In the summer of 2008, I read 30 books. Looking back on that list now, I can see all of the teenage crap that made for easy reads. Of those books, only titles like Salinger’s Catcher In The Rye (my favorite!) and Buckley’s Boomsday made me think. They challenged me. The rest didn’t (though I will always vouch for Naylor’s Alice series – she taught me a lot).

I’d like to be challenged.

Since Robby’s away for a majority of the summer, I’ve devised a summer challenge for myself: read as many classic/more mature novels as I can.

I’ve read Ethan Frome, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Flowers for Algernon, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Jane Eyre, The Jungle, Brave New World and The Scarlet Letter. Now it’s time for titles like Slaughterhouse-Five, Catch-22, Wuthering Heights, Pride and Prejudice, Of Mice and Men (not the band, Adam), Lord of the Flies, The Great Gatsby, Gone with the Wind; just to name a few. I want to cleanse myself of the Lurlene McDaniels and Stephenie Meyers. I want real, intelligent and thought-provoking pieces.

It’s the first summer in years where I will have the privilege of choosing what I want to read without the storm cloud of required reading hanging over my head. Small print used to scare me. Now I’m looking forward to staring at it all summer.

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