15 and feeling the pressure

I would love to be able to say that I’m perfectly relaxed and happy with summer vacation. Unfortunately for me, I can’t. I’m sore from 12 miles of getting lost in Wallace Falls hiking and close to hysterical because of competition, college admissions, mounting pressure from club duties and homework, and parental lectures about school.

But let’s not talk about any of that.

I’ve got a to-read list. It consists of over-acheivement, fun, and summer homework.

Firstly, there’s the lovely Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (Sparknotes):  Required Gifted Junior IB English Summer Reading (what a mouthful!), and my own attempt to overacheive while procrastinating on my own summer homework. What a double-standard!

My summer homework is, quite nicely, a little novel by the name of A Hero of Our Time by Mikhail Lermontov, translated by Vladimir and Dmitry Nabokov (online version) . I swear, my English teacher planned for me to have this version when she found out I read Lolita (Sparknotes) over Spring Break. Obviously because I was a fan of Lolita (twisted, paedophilic love story, though it is), I would be a fan of Nabokov’s translations of the adventures of Pechorin & Co. It’s okay. I’m a fan of Russian literature, if not of summer homework. (Can you tell I’m trying to encourage myself to readA Hero of Our Time?)

To fill up my science fiction quota, I’ve got the speculative Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (Sparknotes). After all, a story about a soldier who gets “unstuck from time and abducted by aliens” is sure to be fascinating. I almost skipped over Jane Eyre and A Hero of Our Time because I so desperately wanted to readSlaughterhouse-Five.

Because I have to feed my penchant for adult classical literature slash books that my parents wouldn’t approve of if they knew what it was about slash need to read things that I really shouldn’t, I asked my dad to retrieve a copy of William Somerset Maugham’s Of Human Bondage (Goodreads reviews), which I’m sure will be a riveting look into the lives of the people of 19th century England. And no, there was no sarcasm in the previous statement. I’m genuinely looking forward to reading it and telling my friends all about it.

Finally, there’s Freakonomics  by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner (website!), the literary equivalent of one of my most favorite things to do: poke my nose into places they don’t belong. Now, as I am neither Jewish nor the ethnic equivalent of one, this nose-poking usually ends up in my being drawn much farther into shenanigans than that of the average person. I expect to being laughing by the end of this book and quite possibly looking for the sequel.

Hopefully, that’s only a partial list. I’ve read The Brother’s Karamazov (Fyodor Dostoyevski), A Clockwork Orange (Anthony Burgess), and The Bell Jar (Sylvia Plath) so far, and I’ve got to finish Infinite Jest (David Foster Wallace).


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