Do 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):
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.
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:
ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL
BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS
“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.”
“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.
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?