What Did You Read in High School?

usfpoeI had to stop myself from pressing “Post” last night on my Facebook status. It was 1 in the morning and for some reason I was recalling the memory of my high school English class. This was ninth grade, before I switched to the collegiate high school where I was granted a considerably greater amount of freedom regarding what I could read for school credit. Anyway, in ninth grade, my teacher stood in front of the class and explained to us what her curriculum was like. This was not only an honors class, but was in fact a “gifted” class, filled with those of us who had been part of the gifted program for seven or eight years.

Our teacher informed us that she would not be assigning any books or novels for us to read in her class because she wanted us to “spend more time with our families” (way to go, Florida educational system). She had no real reason to teach us anything, seeing as how we were guaranteed to do well on standardized tests with little effort. In fact, looking back I’m actually appalled at the instances in which my “gifted” class was assigned to an utterly incompetent, uninteresting teacher, based upon the fact that she or he would be less likely to suffer from a class that tested poorly.

All of the above is besides the point, though I thought I would articulate my freshman year experience more fully for added effect, I suppose. Most of the other 9th grade classes were reading Romeo and Juliet or To Kill a Mockingbird (the other classes also got to make a Romeo and Juliet “movie” as an assignment, and I was so jealous that I made my own with a few friends, even though my work wasn’t going to be graded. My friends didn’t know this at the time…). It seems like Shakespeare and Harper Lee are staples of high school reading lists, commonly found in the “Back to School!” section of Barnes and Noble Booksellers every summer and fall.

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Books to Display on Your Coffee Table

Do you remember in Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood when Al would talk about the food he wanted to eat when he got his human form back? No? Just me? In any case, I feel the same way about getting an apartment. I already have a running list in my head of all of the things I can’t wait to fill a new apartment with (this dream may not be a reality for a while, but I don’t mind). And by “things” I want to fill my apartment with, I really mean “books.”

Although I usually tend to hoard novels and nonfiction books about literary theory and culture, I also have a soft spot in my heart for “decorative” books. When I go to my friends’ apartments and houses, I always like to have something to do or look at. My best friend actually kept a Rubik’s cube and a variety of little nicknacks on his desk for my enjoyment whenever I was over. Books can have the same purpose—they’re neat to keep around and look at, plus they can serve as conversation starters for guests.

Read on to see my favorite “coffee table” books!

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Books for the Budding Feminist

First of all, I wanted to go ahead and mention that I’ve changed the name of this blog from “A Second Infancy” (which I realized over time was giving the impression of a mommy-blog) to “Discharmed” (which really makes no frackin’ sense but I like the way it sounds! Interpret the meaning how you wish). I also made an effort to create my own banner which resulted in epic failure because the theme I’m using only allows for a puny header, hence the microscopic image at the top of my pages. Maybe one day I’ll invest in a domain and then have more customizable freedom with my layout but until then I’m just going to have to suffer through the clunkiness.

The purpose of my post today is to showcase some neat reading material for people who have “feminist tendencies” but haven’t quite unpacked their opinions and beliefs. Despite their obvious importance, I tried to avoid including more “dated” feminist works in here (think A Room of One’s Own or The Feminine Mystique). Let me reiterate: these books are still very significant, even today, and I encourage others to read them! However, when I was first dipping my toes into women’s studies, I found myself drawn to books that I found to be especially relevant and observant of trends now, in the early twenty-first century. These books aren’t exactly cut-and-dry as far as what the women’s movement in the U.S. *should* be doing, rather, they function as discussion-starters or as food for thought. These books make you think about the issues currently at hand in our culture, in the wake of events like the Steubenville rape case. Although the writing style in these texts is simpler than what one might find in an academic study of feminist theory, I feel like that makes them more accessible.

These books require an open mind. I don’t know if I agree 100% with everything these texts argue for or against, but that’s the beauty of thinking for yourself, right?

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