Monday, November 29, 2010

Do you belong to the intellectual class or the 'dumbed down ' of America?

First of all you might scroll through this list of books compiled by BBC who believed that dumbing down has occurred and most people would only have read on the average six on the list. I find that hard to believe, since Dan, my sister Ann and I have read up to 80 of them, but we, along with my other two sisters, sons, daughter, nieces, nephews, etc, are big readers.


by Gerry Hitt on Sunday, November 28, 2010 at 2:17pm in response to Son Dan's challenge
I read all but 20 of them--Mom I also bolded the ones I have read.

1 Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series – JK Rowling (all) (Dan: Really? Jane Eyre and then Harry Potter??!?) I read the first (I read one-Mom)
5 To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman (Dan: Really?)
10 Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
11 Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch – George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House – Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
34 Emma – Jane Austen
35 Persuasion – Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis (Dan: BBC see #33)
37 The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Berniere
39 Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne
41 Animal Farm – George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
45 The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies – William Golding
50 Atonement – Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi – Yann Martel
52 Dune – Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
62 Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History – Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road – Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick – Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
72 Dracula – Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses – James Joyce (Dan: made several valiant attempts...)(made even more valiant attempts)
76 The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal – Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession – AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple – Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web – EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
94 Watership Down – Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet – William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables – Victor Hugo (I read the abridged version- that counts, right?) (Dan: me too)( I read the original-Mom

However, if you have not read many of these books, I most certainly would not sneer at you, but simply regard you as someone who had not been encouraged to read while young as I was. Instead you did other things.
I think this business of sneering at people in public for being dumb is not going to help. And it might make people mad and a lot more apt to come to the defense of those attacked as being idiots such as Sarah Palin, currently. Why people could even elect them to the presidency of the US to prove that getting history wrong is not the worst thing in the world, it is having your heart in the right place that is important.
People wonder how I can be an intellectual and be a pro life activist. I think it is because I am smarter than most intellectuals, I don't run with the crowd. If I think an idea is good or a law is bad, I believe in my own judgment enough to defend the idea, or to try to get the law changed.
Intellectuals like to be popular too and may be guilty of holding opinions that will make their peers accept them instead of wonder if they have gone crazy. My pro life stand has long been associated with my two stays in a psych ward when I was young. I am a religious 'fanatic', unusual for such a book worm.
No, I am an activist. I believe in standing up for my principles. What good would my learning do the world if I did not actively try to change people's minds when I think something wrong is happening.
I am also not afraid to disagree with the most arrogant intellectual in the world, just because I have read a great deal. I am not intimidated by book knowledge. They can be degreed and think they are superior to all in their vast understanding and knowledge of the written word. But most intellectuals may not have been on the front lines I have, risking my life, standing up to psychiatrists, rich fathers, famous Shakespeare directors, college professors, genius students, alcoholic husbands. Once my husband threw a big dictionary at me, and then he held me down with his hand across my throat and said, "Say you are a slut or I will kill you!" I thought it over and decided that was worth dying for, so I said, "No, I won't say it!" He appeared to me to be too tired at that point and now too sober to kill me and let me go.
But that was no different than standing up to 11 psychiatrists and arguing the case for my sanity, and if they got too nasty, just going silent and staring them right in the eye, until they could bring themselves to be more civilized. I knew I could not show fear of them or I might not come out alive. I almost didn't, anyway. Don't think drunk stupid husbands are the only ones who can kill you. Psychiatrists nearly killed me by being determined I was going to have shock treatment. I said no, I did not need it, I was not insane, and they had no right to lock me up and try to force it on me, or scare my mother and dad so bad they would sign for me. I knew very well if I could get out of there and my more insane father could accept I had quit college I would be okay.
I had to go before another board of psychiatrists in another state to get out of another psych ward after I got locked up for trying to help my husband get help. I was not asking he be locked up. I was just asking that he get help before he committed suicide.
I have had to make a lot of tough decisions and so have a lot of other people, even if they have not read more than six books on this list. I look at people for the courage and good sense they show before I try to detect how many books they have read. I know a lot of people who I have come to admire because they are hard working and try to be fair and do the right thing. What do you think?

1 comment:

Amrita said...

That 's a great collection of books. I have read a lot of them. You are a book lover Gerry.


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