The Great Gatsby
For some reason, I never had to read this in school, even though pretty much every other person I know has memories of reading it. And I'm making my way through this relatively short book, thinking, wow, they really read this in school? It seems very different from the kinds of things I read in school. I can't put my finger on it exactly, but it's definitely not like anything I read. Because of this, I may have to find something that explains to me how it's taught in school. Just for curiosity sake. I'm enjoying the book, but I can't see how it was studied. I'd probably be better off if I didn't know that it was, because often, in my experience, I don't read into a book the things that teachers/instructors are looking for.
That particular trait changed my perspective on school a bit. In eleventh grade, we were reading Hamlet. When I gave my opinion on a particular passage, my teacher actually told me that I was wrong. My question at the time, though I didn't voice it, was how did she know I was wrong? Shakespeare is dead. We have no idea exactly what he was thinking when he wrote the play. Maybe he didn't think any of the things that they teach us about when they're dissecting his plays. That's why, and yes, this will sound enormously dorky, I prefer to read Shakespeare on my own now. To go back and re-read the things that I was forced to read in high school. Because I find that I get so much more out of the stories now, than when I was forced to look for all the metaphors, and foreshadowing and everything else. Plays should be read for the feeling you get from them, not for all the minutiae ... and I think I just spelled that wrong. (Just to finish the story, I never again gave an opinion in that class. Completely stopped discussing. Teacher wasn't impressed.)
Anyway, so yes, if there's anyone out there reading this blog (is there anyone out there reading this blog?) who has an opinion or thought on The Great Gatsby, I'd be happy to hear it. It may actually be one of the few books, I'd prefer to discuss rather than to just enjoy in my own head.