Best Books 2002

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at
Mon Jan 6 12:22:03 EST 2003

On Mon, 06 Jan 2003 07:39:32 -0700, Robyn Starkey wrote:

>>I can probably fake my way through the discussion.  It's amazing how
>>intelligent you can sound knowing only a few key plot points and maybe a
>>critical opinion or two.  Of course, this is bad if you come up against
>>someone who actually *knows* the text in question, but then you just shut up
>>and listen.  That makes you seem like a genius.
>>You're not supposed to reveal how I managed to graduate college, dear.
>I am sitting here reading this just before going to teach introductory 
>literature courses for the first time this semester, and boy does reading 
>these comments make me not want to go. Sigh. You might pass without reading 
>the book, but there's no guarantee your poor instructor won't BITE your essay.

It's never worked for me in actual CLASSES.  (It did for Jacob.  He's
gifted.)  Just when I'm in conversation or, worse, anchoring a quiz bowl
team as the literature expert.  (One year my coach had a fit because I had
only barely heard of A.E. Housman and didn't recognize some supposedly
famous poem.  Humph.  I got everything ELSE right....)  The reason I
developed this skill, by the way, is that I went to high school in Texas,
home of competitive academics.  My senior year I "competed" in the literary
analysis thing, and it's all based on remembering who wrote what and why
it's important.  I would have won state if they hadn't picked Emily
Dickinson's million and one poems for the analysis.  Like anyone really
remembers the titles of those things.

Besides, why wouldn't I read an assigned book?  I always read the assigned
book.  I know way too many people who seem to think it's some kind of virtue
*never* to read anything someone *tells* them to read.  Like it's a sign of
their strongmindedness--never mind that they then go on to say "and that's
how I managed not to read _Ender's Game_ for ten years and it's totally my
favorite book!"  DUUUUUUHHHHH.  I hated _Wuthering Heights_, but I hated it
honestly--by having read it, gagged, and thrown it violently at the wall a
couple of times.

Okay, now I have to finish packing.  Ugh.

Melissa Proffitt

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