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My Mount Rushmore Of Books They Made Us Read Growing Up

Yesterday was #WorldBookDay. Or at least one of 6 World Book Days we’ll have in 2018, thanks to the power of Twitter and hashtags. So when I saw #WorldBookDay trending while I was sitting around picking my nose waiting for the Caps game to start, it got me thinking about books I read growing up. It’s easier for me to remember the books I did like more than the books I did. I didn’t actually hate Shakespeare or Dickens. And Fahrenheit 451, Animal Farm, and Nineteen Eighty-Four all were pretty good too.

Maybe it was the teenage angst, the fact I could breeze through class giving minimal effort, or the fact it’s hard to enjoy books when you have to write papers and do all sorts of bullshit work dissecting every last word instead of just enjoying the book for what it is, but I remember not liking the majority of shit that made us read in middle and high school. Books like Pride and Prejudice, fuck that. I remember Beowulf taking up so many hours of my life.

And here’s the thing about books- I actually enjoy reading! I never, ever do it anymore though. Like, ever. I think it’s because of this job, mostly. Before I worked for Barstool, I would read a few books a year. Nothing major, but when I had a 45 minute underground commute 2 times a day, it was the perfect chance to read. Twitter barely existed, there was no cell service service down there anyway, so basically no distractions. The New York City subway was a great place to read. Now, times are different. Not only do I not have an underground commute, but I work for Dave Portnoy. Working for Dave Portnoy makes it very hard to sit and read a book without wanting to check Twitter ever 30 seconds. The new blood doesn’t know the wrath of”Milton Dave”- before we moved to NYC and everyone was scared to leave their house on a Saturday night because if something happened and you weren’t at your laptop to blog it, you thought you were going to be fired. That fear greatly reduced the time I spent reading books to 0 minutes.

So with all that being said (I think this is actually the first time I’ve ever blogged about books besides the Hunger Games when the movies were coming out)- here is my Mount Rushmore of the books they made us read growing up:

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The Giver

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I think The Giver is my favorite book of all time. It was a dystopian novel before the Hunger Games/Divergent/Maze Runner craze. It got me hooked on that type of thing. It also gave me my first dose of anxiety, as I think I spent all of 7th and 8th grade wondering “what if we’re in a fake world and don’t even know it?” And then don’t even get me started on what The Truman Show did to me. But anyway, love, love, love The Giver.

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Hatchet

Hatchet

In 8th grade I had this English teacher who looking back on it, had to have been hungover every single day. There’s no other explanation. All I remember about that class is every single day was “read what you want” day. I don’t think we did anything else in that class. So I just read Hatchet over and over again. And it’s an all time banger. This kid survives a plane crash and teaches himself how to hunt and fish and survives the wilderness. But also, for some reason, the book includes the kid catching his mom cheating on his dad, which was a twist 13 year old me did not understand at alllll at the time. Classic wilderness young adult novel things, I guess.

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Catcher In The Rye

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I understand why people hate this book. Holden is a dick. Hey Holden, the world doesn’t revolve around you. You aren’t the end all be all. Maybe everyone else isn’t the problem, you are. So yeah, I get why people don’t like him. But who hasn’t felt like Holden at one time or another? I mean not the point you wind up in a mental hospital, but the whole angsty, me vs. the world thing, everyone sucks beside me thing. I don’t think I’d re-read this book now, but reading it in Mr. Johnson’s 10th grade english class, I was like damn, this book is pretty good. Then I went home and listened to blink-182.

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The Great Gatsby

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I mean, obviously. It’s short, it’s easy to understand, and even English teachers couldn’t ruin it by talking about the symbolism because all the symbolism is just random colors. Ohhhh, the green dot, what does it mean? The yellow car! They tried to ruin Great Gatsby, but it’s too enjoyable to be ruined.

And the movie made one of my favorite gifs:

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So there it is, my Mount Rushmore. I could replace Catcher in the Rye with Fahrenheit 451, but CIIR just edged it out in my mind. A lot of people tweeted me The Outsiders, but I never read it. So many people tweeted about it that I might give it a whirl now. Ender’s Game I thought was ok but nowhere near the hype. It was the same thing over and over and over again, and the twist didn’t shock me at all. And surprisingly, a lot of people tweeted about Holes, but that was never required reading. I read it on my own for a book report and made a diorama of it. Remember dioramas when you would make a little scene in a box?  And also receiving a lot of votes was To Kill A Mockingbird, Of Mice and Men (never read it), and Lord of the Flies.

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And that was reminiscing about books. My New Years resolutions for 2018 are all booked, but I might make “read more” a 2019 resolution. And of course, sound off in comments about your favorites from growing up.