Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Dreaded "Novel Study"

And at this, I can almost hear the momentous *groan*. Yes, for most of us avid readers out there, novel studies are the bane of all reading. It's like having a large cheesy pizza with everything on it placed in front of you, but being  forced to tear it apart bit by bit until you have nothing left but soggy mushrooms, undercooked pepperoni and a pile of crust crumbs - extremely disappointing to say the least. Not to mention frustrating and boring as hell. 

But believe it or not there are at least a handful of novels that I didn't mind studying. Now, I'm definetly not saying that Lord of the Flies or The Count of Monte Cristo are not fabulous books. Cause they are, or at least will hopefully be once I get to them. But more often then not, a book's enjoyment is diminished when you have to study every paragraph to understand the deeper meaning (symbolism can be great, but in healthy doses I say and taken with a spoon full of sugar) and not read on just when your getting interested because it will alter your perspective before you get a chance to write this next essay. I have had a bit of luck with novel studies though and I definitely hope this lucky streak continues until I graduate. I might have just been my English/french teacher at the time, but I like to think otherwise. So hear is list of books that you shouldn't have to duck and cover from if you just so happen to encounter in one of your classes.

* All novel synopsises courtesy of  http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/home/?cookieCheck=1. Click on the previous link to visit the websit, to explore and purchase more novels, films, music and more.

The Outsiders by S.E Hinton : 
    
Three brothers struggle to stay together after their parents'' death, as they search for an identity among the conflicting values of their adolescent society in which they find themselves "outsiders."









The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky: 

Standing on the fringes of life...
offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.
This haunting novel about the dilemma of passivity vs. passion marks the stunning debut of a provocative new voice in contemporary fiction: The Perks of Being a Wallflower.






Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babitt :
Doomed to - or blessed with - eternal life after drinking from a magic spring, the Tuck family wanders about trying to live as inconspicuously and comfortably as they can. When ten-year-old Winnie Foster stumbles on their secret, the Tucks take her home and explain why living forever at one age is less a blessing that it might seem. Complications arise when Winnie is followed by a starnger who wants to market the spring water for a fortune.
En Attendant la Pluie par Sheila Gordon
This novel shows the bonds of friendship under the strain of apartheid as two lifelong friends, Tengo and Frikkie, come of age amidst the tragedy of South Africa.

* I read this in French, but it is also available in English
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank:

Discovered in the attic in which she spent the last years of her life, Anne Frank''s remarkable diary has since become a world classic-a powerful reminder of the horrors of war and an eloquent testament to the human spirit. In 1942, with Nazis occupying Holland, a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl and her family fled their home in Amsterdam and went into hiding. For the next two years, until their whereabouts were betrayed to the Gestapo, they and another family lived cloistered in the "Secret Annex" of an old office building.





The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare:
As the citizens of Venice compete for advantageous marriages, wealth, and status, a moneylender is intent on deadly revenge. Mistrust and resentment thrive in Shakespeare's dark comedy.
La Route de Chlifa par Mich√®le Marineau 

Karim has journeyed a long way from his home in war-torn Beirut to his new high school in Quebec. Now he must travel the difficult road to a life without war. There is contempt and racism here, too. But there is also My-Lan, a new companion in a new and challenging country. It is an adventure behind the headlines and a lesson in life you couldn''t learn in the classroom.

* I read this in French, but it is also available in English





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