Booking Through

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Sep 062012

We all had to read things in school that we didn’t like … but what
about something you read for a class that you ended up liking (or
loving)? An author you discovered that you might not have found? A
genre you hadn’t thought about?

To be honest, I read so much when I was in school that I don’t really remember all the books I had to read for a class. I only remember two assigned books. You can click on the covers to be taken to the Amazon links.

The first book that pops in my head every single time is Johnny Got His Gun. This is a book that will NEVER leave you. No other book before or since has made such an impact on me!

 This was no ordinary war. This was a war to make the world safe for democracy. And if democracy was made safe, then nothing else mattered-not the millions of dead bodies, nor the thousands of ruined lives…. This is no ordinary novel. This is a novel that never takes the easy way out: it is shocking, violent, terrifying, horrible, uncompromising, brutal, remorseless, and gruesome…but so is war. Johnny Got His Gun holds a place as one of the classic antiwar novels. First published in 1939, Dalton Trumbo’s story of a young American soldier terribly maimed in World War I-he “survives” armless, legless, and faceless, but with his mind intact-was an immediate bestseller. This fiercely moving novel was a rallying point for many Americans who came of age during World War II, and it became perhaps the most popular novel of protest during the Vietnam era.

This is the second book I think of. It too was a very good book.

Following his doctor’s instructions, engaging simpleton Charlie Gordon tells his own story in semi-literate “progris riports.” He dimly wants to better himself, but with an IQ of 68 can’t even beat the laboratory mouse Algernon at maze-solving:

“I dint feel bad because I watched Algernon and I lernd how to finish the amaze even if it takes me along time.
I dint know mice were so smart.”

Algernon is extra-clever thanks to an experimental brain operation so far tried only on animals. Charlie eagerly volunteers as the first human subject. After frustrating delays and agonies of concentration, the effects begin to show and the reports steadily improve: “Punctuation, is? fun!” But getting smarter brings cruel shocks, as Charlie realizes that his merry “friends” at the bakery where he sweeps the floor have all along been laughing at him, never with him. The IQ rise continues, taking him steadily past the human average to genius level and beyond, until he’s as intellectually alone as the old, foolish Charlie ever was–and now painfully aware of it. Then, ominously, the smart mouse Algernon begins to deteriorate…

 Posted by at 11:37 AM

  13 Responses to “Booking Through”

  1. Charly sounds like an awesome read. How sad it sounds though.

  2. Flowers for Algernon was a tough one. I liked it, too.

  3. I haven’t read either of these, but I need to check them out. Thanks for visiting my post earlier.

  4. These didn’t make it onto my reading lists back then, but I do want to check them out. Thanks for visiting my blog.

  5. Huh, I haven’t read either of those. They both sound incredibly intense! I sort of knew the plot of Flowers for Algernon…. but the other’s a new one on me!

  6. Those are some pretty impressive books for school reading – must have been a good school to tackle them.

  7. I didn’t read either one of these, but back when I was young…er I didn’t read very many deep books, well, I guess I’m still young at heart, because I don’t read very many deep books now either. ; )

  8. I didn’t have to read either of those books. I generally enjoyed the books I was assigned.

  9. Wow, I have never heard of either of those books, nor had to read them for school. Interesting picks! Thanks for stopping by!

  10. My kids had to read Flowers for Algernon in school and I read it along with them.

  11. oh! I totally forgot about Flowers for Algernon! ha, I loved that book as well. Great choice 🙂 thanks for stopping by today!

  12. Hi! Thanks for visiting my blog!

    I am afraid that Flowers for Algernon may prove to be too sad for me. Still I do want to read it.

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