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Waxing Nostalgic About Literature

Posted by on 22 April 2016

libraryDo people still have such a thing called “Literature” in school? Do students still have to struggle through the alien world of Old English; plod through super lengthy short stories; try to stay awake the first few pages of a novel that your own mother recommended (gasp!) , only to find yourself unable to put it down — sniffing and smiling in the odd places — as you browse the last few pages?

Here are some excerpts from a few of my favourite books and short stories (title links are clickable):

Flowers for Algernon

I  have often reread my progress reports and seen the illiteracy, the childish naivete, the mind of low intelligence peering from a dark room, through the keyhole, at the dazzling light outside. I  see that even in my dullness I  knew that I  was inferior, and that other people had something I lacked – something denied me. In my mental blindness, I  thought that it was somehow connected with the ability to read and write, and I  was sure that if  I could get those skills I  would automatically have intelligence too.

Even a  feeble-minded man wants to be like other men. A child may not know how to feed itself, or what to eat, yet it knows of hunger.

This then is what I was like, I never knew. Even with my gift of intellec­tual awareness, I never really knew.

Animal Farm

For  once  Benjamin  consented  to  break  his  rule,  and  he  read  out  to  her what  was  written  on  the  wall.   There  was  nothing  there  now  except  a  single Commandment.  It ran:


The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

“All right,” said Deep Thought. “The Answer to the Great Question …”

“Yes … !”

“Of Life, the Universe and Everything …” said Deep Thought.

“Yes … !”

“Is … ” said Deep Thought, and paused.

“Yes … !”

“Is … “

“Yes … !!! … ?”

“Forty-two,” said Deep Thought, with infinite majesty and calm. …

“Forty-two!” yelled Loonquawl. “Is that all you’ve got to show for seven and a half million years’ work?”

“I checked it very thoroughly,” said the computer, “and that quite definitely is the answer. I think the problem, to be quite honest with you, is that you’ve never actually known what the question is.”

Lamb to the Slaughter

“Personally, I think it’s right here on the premises.”

“Probably right under our very noses. What do you think, Jack?”

And in the other room, Mary Maloney began to giggle.

Gift of the Magi

Of all who give gifts, these two were the most wise. Of all who give and receive gifts, such as they are the most wise. Everywhere they are the wise ones. They are the magi.

 What about you? What OLD books/short stories have had an impact on your life?

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