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Grapes of Wrath - Not Engaging?

I always enjoy reading about the First Year's complain about their summer-reading project. Without fail. This year, they had to read The Grapes of Wrath, which I read on my own when I was 15, finding it to be a pretty damn good book. But opinions differ:

Some students expressed strong opposition to this year's pick, saying they had difficulty finishing it.

"Most of us are interested in reading books, and I think they should pick something that students on their own would go pick up -- something more engaging," said Katerina Athanasiou '13, who suggested that next year's pick should be a contemporary novel, such as Jeffrey Eugenedes' "Middlesex."

Ha. She didn't have to read the mind-numbing Lincoln at Gettysburg last year. But some of us did.

But I find it hard not to call the opening scene in Steinbeck's masterpiece engaging. It just sucks you in:

"Houses were shut tight, and cloth wedged around doors and windows, but the dust came in so thinly that it could not be seen in the air, and it settled like pollen on the chairs and tables, on the dishes."

Matthew Nagowski | Posted on August 26, 2009 (#)

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