Having been required to leave the house because there’s a bridal shower going on there for a family friend, I came by Barnes & Noble and got some coffee, since I hadn’t made any at breakfast.
OK, technically, I got the coffee at the Starbucks about 50 yards away (yes, I’ve become that sort of coffee snob), and came in here to browse books while I drink it. I’m looking for ideas for Father’s Day — both for my Dad, and to see what there is in paperback that I might want to ask for. I’ve found one of each…
Anyway, I passed by the “Required School Reading” table, and of course it was filled with excellent, worthwhile books, many of which were required when I was in school, plus a few more recent classics. I like browsing the school reading table. It feels so substantial and worthwhile, as well as evoking pleasurable memories, because some of these came to be favorites of mine.
Note that you can see Flowers for Algernon, which I mentioned just yesterday in a comment. There were Catch-22, and Utopia, and Emma, and A Tale of Two Cities, and other usual suspects. Then there were more recent entries, such as Freakonomics and the book that the film “The Social Network” was based on. All things that help kids think, and appreciate language, and understand their world a little better.
Then, I noticed that there were two more “Required School Reading” tables. There I found very different fare. It was all commercial, recent, crank-’em-out-on-an-assembly line “young adult” offerings. You can see them in the picture at the top of this post.
At least a plurality of them were about vampires. Teenage vampires, of course. Filled with all of the usual teenage angst, such as worrying about one’s place in society, finding true love, and of course bloodlust.
I really, really hope this was a case of the wrong sign being placed on a table. I thought of asking one of the employees, “Are these really required reading in school? If so, which school?”
But I was afraid of the answer I might get.