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Did you ever use Cliff Notes?

This is the series that summarizes great plays and novels. I used them sporadically in high school and college when I was too overwhelmed with work to read the required books. THey're actually very detailed.

I believe the older iteration was called Monarch Notes and there is a current series called Spark Notes.

by Anonymousreply 38Last Sunday at 7:23 PM

I took a Chaucer class in college, stupidly thinking it would be an easy A and even more stupidly not dropping it when I realized we'd be reading Chaucer as written in Middle English. I had to read the Cliff Notes version to get a general understanding of the story, then read the modern English translation, and then scan the Middle English version to identify the correct passage. I ended up with a C but probably would have failed had it not been for Cliffs Notes.

by Anonymousreply 103/14/2019

Loved Cliff Notes. Saved my ass in school many times

by Anonymousreply 2Last Sunday at 6:11 PM

Cliff, Monarch, and Spark ere competing brands. Master plots was a staple of most reference departments--didn't have to buy them, but summarized the plot line. And, as a teacher, I can say any good teacher can come up with a good assignment or exam that will foil any student who only uses the cribs.

by Anonymousreply 3Last Sunday at 6:16 PM

OP yes I used them back in high school in the early 2000s when they were called Spark Notes. Sometimes like you I had no time or desire to read every damn page so I'd read the spark notes then skim through the books to write my papers. I also used them in college. I was SHOCKED that some kids were stupid as fuck and would sometimes copy the spark notes word for word in papers or answering written questions which led to plagiarism charges. Spark notes were widely known to teachers by the time I was in college

I'm sure there are other iterations these days especially with social media

by Anonymousreply 4Last Sunday at 6:16 PM

Gurl I would've never graduated high school without them.

by Anonymousreply 5Last Sunday at 6:19 PM

Nope, I’ve always been a voracious reader

by Anonymousreply 6Last Sunday at 6:19 PM

Yes. I could not get through Moby Dick at 15.

by Anonymousreply 7Last Sunday at 6:20 PM

Fuck yes!! If it wasn't for Cliff Notes I would, never have; grajuated from kollege.

by Anonymousreply 8Last Sunday at 6:24 PM

Yes, used them back when. I imagine the internet has kind of replaced them now.

by Anonymousreply 9Last Sunday at 6:26 PM

Same idea but they were/are called Coles Notes in Canada, and the Coles bookstore who published them sold the US rights to their early ones to Cliff Hillegass who sold them under the CliffsNotes brand (probably after removing the letter u from a bunch of words).

by Anonymousreply 10Last Sunday at 6:27 PM

I used them in college back in the early 80s. If I was struggling with "getting" a particular work, they helped a lot for me to get my bearings, and the context. I did not abuse them, I swear.


by Anonymousreply 11Last Sunday at 6:28 PM

I read maybe one or two of the assigned texts in my AP Lit class in high school. For the rest I depended on various websites (Millennial here) like Spark Notes. I can't remember if I used Cliff Notes specifically for that. It depends on whether it was available online in the mid-2000s (I was too lazy to consult anything outside my computer). But I did enjoy reading on my own terms, even those heavy tomes sometimes, and I remember a few times looking through the Cliffs Notes for the books I was reading just to be sure I "got" and could fully appreciate the important themes.

by Anonymousreply 12Last Sunday at 6:33 PM

They'd have come in handy when I took Victorian literature one semester. Five Victorian novels, including Jane Eyre, Middlemarch and The Mayor of Casterbridge, in 12 weeks. By the end I was skipping every second/third page just to get through while trying to keep up with all my other reading. I barely passed, and I grew to hate Victorian literature. Which is probably why I hate Gwyneth Paltrow so much.

by Anonymousreply 13Last Sunday at 6:35 PM

12 posts in and not one of us stellar students have mentioned/Oh, Dear'ed us that they are actually called CLIFFS notes!

by Anonymousreply 14Last Sunday at 6:34 PM

No. I remember not bothering because a few kids in my AP Lit class tried it and all failed because our teacher made sure that all questions and topics were details not mentioned in those books.

by Anonymousreply 15Last Sunday at 6:36 PM

Kids today use Sparknotes. If you say Cliffs Notes they won't know what they are.

by Anonymousreply 16Last Sunday at 6:35 PM

R16 I'm surprised there's nothing newer as Spark Notes were around since at least the early 2000s. I would have thought there'd be twitter and instagram pages dedicated to summarizing middle, high school and college books by now

Spark Notes spread like wildfire back in my high school days because they were online and free. Did people actually buy Cliffs Notes books?

by Anonymousreply 17Last Sunday at 6:39 PM

R17 Hi, R11 here. Of course we didn't buy them. We shoplifted them.

Kids today, I swear.

by Anonymousreply 18Last Sunday at 6:41 PM

It's a victory if you get kids to read anything nowadays, including Sparknotes. There are youtube summaries that they can watch as well.

by Anonymousreply 19Last Sunday at 6:42 PM

Hey - teacher @R19 - why are kids so bad at writing and grammar, now? My niece is 20 and her handwriting looks like that of a 10 year-old. I thought maybe it was just her, but noticed a lot of young people her age can't write. They can't spell for shit, either.

by Anonymousreply 20Last Sunday at 6:46 PM

I bet kids don't use any of these notes because they'd have to read them.

I would guarantee they just go to Yotube and find something where someone reads them the highlights.

You think I'm joking but I'm not.

by Anonymousreply 21Last Sunday at 6:47 PM

R21 here... Yup, as I was saying:

by Anonymousreply 22Last Sunday at 6:47 PM

Bought, but didn't use. Forget for which novel, but the "interpretation" was so basic I would've been embarrassed to include it in my paper.

by Anonymousreply 23Last Sunday at 6:49 PM

R23 So you are saying you bought them, yet were too above them?

by Anonymousreply 24Last Sunday at 6:51 PM

R20 given the increase in typing on computers and texting on phones, there is less usage of handwriting and those programs have spellcheck so less words are memorized.

When I was in high school, a few privileged rich kids were beginning to bring personal laptops to school to take notes in bust most of us were still handwriting notes. It's my understanding now that it's common for students to bring laptops to school?

by Anonymousreply 25Last Sunday at 6:50 PM

Was an A student, but had a hard time understanding "Heart of Darkness", so used Monarch Notes or Cliff for the only time; I think lots of folks used to read them instead of reading the book, but that book was one of the most turgid reads I had ever come across.

by Anonymousreply 26Last Sunday at 6:52 PM

*but most of us

by Anonymousreply 27Last Sunday at 6:51 PM

They don't teach cursive. Also a lot of kids get diagnosed with "dysgraphia" and get a pass on even trying. Honestly their writing is not as bad as it appears on the internet. But the reason they can't write is because they never, EVER read anything. The way to get good at writing is to read. There is no other way.

Spellcheck doesn't mean much. Kids don't know how to do even the most basic things with a computer, like use spellcheck. I blame it all on a lack of reading.

by Anonymousreply 28Last Sunday at 6:52 PM

They bring computers to school but they don't take notes. They sit and passively watch PowerPoint presentations. It's the only thing that makes students happy. They feel like that's learning.

by Anonymousreply 29Last Sunday at 6:53 PM

I knew Cliff Hillegass, and he was. one of the nicest people I've ever known. He started the company to do summaries of Shakespeare's plays and never dreamed it would go anywhere.

I knew him when he was already rich, and he reminded me of Scrooge on Christmas morning--he took great joy in life, and did everything he could think of to give his money away. He was on the board of several art museums and loved to buy pieces anonymously for their collections.

by Anonymousreply 30Last Sunday at 6:54 PM

Somebody's family had money!

We were poor and had to the study the standard text books.

by Anonymousreply 31Last Sunday at 6:59 PM

I just want to say that A Tale of Two Cities was the most boring book of all times in junior high. That book should've come with the Spark Notes attached.

by Anonymousreply 32Last Sunday at 7:08 PM

That does seem like a tough read for junior high.

by Anonymousreply 33Last Sunday at 7:12 PM

Hell yes. I was an English major in college and it wasn’t unusual for me to have 3 -5 novels due per week. Seriously. I’d skim the novels for passages that caught my interest but then turn to Cliffs Notes for the plot summary. The “interpretation” was always useless to me because I’d focus on my intriguing passages for the papers and then parse my fave passages for paper mimicking close reading and then BAM get my A.

by Anonymousreply 34Last Sunday at 7:15 PM

R24, it was simple -- I was desperate and bought one without reading it. Later, when I went to read it, I couldn't use it. What's so strange about that?

by Anonymousreply 35Last Sunday at 7:17 PM

Yup! I remember the bright yellow covers of Cliffs Notes, you could easily spot them in the bookstores or libraries. Oh boy, bookstores, remember them?

by Anonymousreply 36Last Sunday at 7:18 PM

I remember using Cliffs Notes a couple of times. I think I used it for "The Prince" by Machiavelli. Now, I realize that book (The Prince) was so damn short, I really didn't need Cliffs Notes.

by Anonymousreply 37Last Sunday at 7:21 PM

R36. I do remember them. I loved them . My safest and most comfortable and most empowering space.

by Anonymousreply 38Last Sunday at 7:23 PM
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