Writing Elsewhere: Summer Reading Cheats

When I was in high school, we read a lot of classic literature in our English classes. Usually it wasn’t a problem, and I typically enjoyed the books we were assigned. But I remember being told to read Great Expectations in my freshman year and struggling with it enough that I only skimmed the book. It always bothered me a little because I love to read, and I’m not easily scared by old literature. For example, I started reading Shakespeare in the seventh grade and typically have no trouble with it at all.

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But I never gave it too much thought after high school, until my older daughter was assigned Tale of Two Cities for English last year; I knew I’d be in trouble. I have a dickens of a time getting into Charles Dickens’ writing. I mean, I have the worst of times pushing through his prose. I picked up a copy of the book and tried desperately to get much further than the famous opening sentence. After several attempts, desperate to read the book so as to assist my daughter with her related assignments, I remembered that there are free audiobooks available online and went in search of one. …

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