The Horror…The Horror…


Mother, knitter, spinner, writer, wife, weaver, host...not necessarily in that order...

9 Responses

  1. I read everything I wanted in High school and read the required ready as well…the bane of my AP English class was Madam Bovary….ugh. I hated that book and it was one of 10 books we had to read over the summer, before class and have papers in when we got to school in the fall. I hated it and when I finally finished it I thought I was done…but no! We had to discuss it for two months! Ugh. I’ll never get that time back.

    I have a problem with books where I can’t sympathize with the main character…and all I wanted to do was strangle her throughout the book. Everyone else in class thought it was neato, though dull in spots and I just ended up keeping my mouth shut and reading sylvia plath in the corner like a good little goth kid.

  2. Orora says:

    I would never have read some of the books I’ve read if I hadn’t been “forced” to. (Heck, I wouldn’t have ‘read’ some of our CraftLit books if they weren’t on the podcast.) Reading “Crime and Punishment” in high school comes to mind immediately. And yet, I loved it! It made me want to read other great works on my own. Granted, I was always kind of a book nerd. But what seemed to work well was having some books that the whole class read, and for other projects, selecting from a list and doing a presentation/project for the class on the book. Not only did I learn about what I read, I heard about other books and got interested in them.

    Learning might not always be as entertaining as a movie or TV show, but it can be infinitely more exciting.

  3. Kathleen R says:

    Okay, if you are upset about free choice of books to read, what do you think about this:

    Local (private) school decides to jettison all the physical books from its library, replacing them with 18 e-readers and a $12,000 espresso machine.

  4. Heather, what a great post! I think the key is to have teachers who love literature. When you have that, the sky’s the limit.

  5. Dianne says:

    Oh boy have you touched on a hot button with me! The whole idea of personal responsibility. Parents who actually teach their children to be responsible for themselves instead of making the world cater to their children. The idea that work, both mental and physical is actually good for you. Finally the concept that if you mess something up, admit it – make amends and move on. Blaming others never get anyone anywhere! Here’s to Heather’s mother and others like her.

  6. Frances in CT says:

    I’ve noticed that one daughter’s (middle school) teacher expects her class to read the assigned books for class and have a book-of-choice going at the same time. This seems to be a happy medium. (And not bad practice for multi-crafting later in life.) I would not be comfortable having my child in a curriculum where she chooses all that she reads. It isn’t a question of trusting her choices– at some point she will be forced to participate in the real academic world. How can she go to college without at least having read the Cliffs Notes to Shakespeare?

    “Professor, was it not Patricia Cornwell who once wrote, ‘After I post the DOA, I’ll make dinner’?” The juxtaposition of the mundane with that which many people may find macabre reminds me of the labors of Hercules in that Hercules was forced to perform tasks that many would find objectionable, by Hera, the Goddess of the Hearth who, like Kay Scarpetta, could make a mean linguini with clam sauce.”

    OK. It’s the Cosmo typing. I’ve got to get some sleep.

    But I also find it disturbing that we could end up raising a generation that cannot ever read Jasper Fforde. I’ve got my 13 year old daughter, who loooves Lewis Carroll, referring to the Unitary Authority of Warrington Cat, but it makes no sense for her to read The Eyre Affair without having first read Jane Eyre.

  7. kimchi says:

    okay so after reading the entire article, I’m torn. I see both sides of the argument, both pros and cons.

    Perhaps the idea of a limited selection is a good compromise?

    This article has definitely left me with lots of thoughts running amok in my mind…

  8. kimchi says:

    I am in a similar boat as Clumsy Knitter in that I was and am a voracious reader and was also in the AP classes. But there were times where I just didn’t like what we had to read in school but afterwards, was glad that it was assigned bc I learned so much and ended up liking the book a lot! I don’t think I had the option to read from a selection of books but in the AP classes, we were already reading from an “alternative” set of books so I didn’t feel the need for more choices.

    Giving these kids total freedom to read whatever they want? And then to get school credit for it? I don’t agree with that. I think school is the place where you challenge yourself and you leave reading “Captain Underpants” for your after-school enjoyment.

    Do you think this change in curriculum has anything to do with the budget cuts? or is this totally separate from that?

  9. Hi Heather! I don’t think I’ve commented before because I’m not caught up with your podcasts yet (still on Little Women), but I wanted to respond to this article. While I certainly don’t think students should be getting school credit for reading things like ‘Captain Underpants’ (In middle school? Seriously?), I wonder what you think of being able to choose from a selection of books?

    In middle school, I was in a small group of students who were bored to tears by the slow pace of the curriculum, so we got to choose books to read as a group and discuss amongst ourselves–Lord of the Flies, The Hound of the Baskervilles, and so on. In high school, my AP English teacher let us pick from a table full of books and authors I probably would not have discovered on my own until much later (if at all)–Breakfast of Champions (Vonnegut), Housekeeping (Marilynne Robinson), Where I’m Calling From (Carver), etc. We read books on our own and discussed them roundtable-style as a class. Students’ positive or negative responses to books would cause some books to be wildly popular, and some to be avoided, but we all at least got exposed to a wider variety of books this way.

    Now, maybe it’s because I was always a voracious reader on my own in middle school, or that I was in an AP class in high school, but I found it to be more rewarding and interesting than the “traditional” lit courses I had taken otherwise. Thoughts?