So Iâ€™m something of an anomaly among journalists, especially my fellow Collegianites, in the fact that I donâ€™t like to read very often.
Itâ€™s a bad habit, I know. But seriously, every time I try to sit down and read, I fall asleep.
Itâ€™s not that I donâ€™t like books. And yes, the best way to become a better writer is to read the works of the greats that came before.
I guess I am just naturally incredibly gifted. Puffy chest. Smug grin.
The only time I read is when I am assigned it. And usually I donâ€™t even get all the way through those books, if at all.
And Iâ€™m not alone. By now, a good half of you have already gotten bored by my writing â€“â€“ clearly a mistake â€“â€“ and started filling out the sudoku. I donâ€™t blame you. I would too if I wasnâ€™t writing this.
But in high school, where the bulk of my reading happened, I was fortunate to have great English classes that did have a few novels that caught my attention, at least partially.
So hereâ€™s the best of what was assigned to me. Remember, these are not all the books Iâ€™ve read. When I was younger I read â€œCloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.â€
Puffy chest. Smug grin.
1. â€˜The Great Gatsbyâ€™
Iâ€™m pretty sure â€œThe Great Gatsbyâ€ is the only book Iâ€™ve finished, before the due date, all the way through.
This bookâ€™s definitely my favorite of all time, maybe tied with Chuck Palahniukâ€™s â€œChoke.â€ But thatâ€™s just because Iâ€™m a pervert.
â€œThe Great Gatsbyâ€ truly embodies the longing to carve out a piece of that American dream. And Iâ€™m not the only famous author to appreciate the book â€“â€“ yes, Iâ€™m famous.
Hunter S. Thompson used to type the words of â€œThe Great Gatsbyâ€ over and over again to get the feel of great writing.
Now, Iâ€™m not that crazy, but I have this strange underlying aspiration to be shot out of a cannon. Weird.
2. â€˜Lord of the Fliesâ€™
Please, donâ€™t follow in the footsteps of these lost children and kill the big pig. Thatâ€™s for the butchers and the farmers to do.
I donâ€™t want that on my conscience when Iâ€™m eating some delicious bacon. Mmmm. Bacon.
Anyway, this book is a great view into the social and psychological aspects of human nature. And though itâ€™s pretty slow in the beginning, the action picks up a lot at the end.
But one thing Iâ€™ve never got was the conch shell, horn thing. Really, who has ever been able to use a conch shell to make noise?
3. â€˜Native Sonâ€™
This book sort of flies under the radar as far as high school-level English courses go, but itâ€™s a pretty important book. In fact, it makes a cameo in the movie â€œAmerican History Xâ€ to illustrate the racial issues between the protagonist and his father.
This book takes a serious look on the socio-economic conditions in early twentieth century Chicago slums that housed mostly African-Americans.
â€œNative Sonâ€ illustrates the hardship and near impossible class ascension the black community experienced in their struggle for equality.
If youâ€™re looking for a light-hearted read, however, donâ€™t pick this up. It is intense.
4. â€˜Inherit the Windâ€™
Itâ€™s hard to talk about each of these books without just saying, â€œThis book is really good,â€ but in all actuality it is.
â€œInherit the Windâ€ follows the courtroom hearings and trial against a schoolteacher who was jailed for teaching his students evolution.
This book challenged the traditional curriculums teaching creationism through an interesting, creative argument.
Thereâ€™s an interesting story behind â€œFrankenstein.â€ The author Mary Shelley, her husband and some friends spent a winter indoors, and to avoid boredom and insanity, they created a competition for which they all were to write a horror novel. The scariest story wins.
Needless to say, Shelley won the competition after being inspired by a scientific journal entry talking about the re-animation of worms.
Also, most peopleâ€™s conception of Frankensteinâ€™s monster is wrong. In fact, the monster was not named Frankenstein, and was superior in intelligence and physical attributes.
He also didnâ€™t sing show tunes â€“â€“ see Mel Brooksâ€™ â€œYoung Frankenstein.â€
Entertainment Editor Johnny Hart has slowly drifted off to sleep. Please wait several hours, then e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.