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Re: [mythsoc] FW: NYTimes.com Article: Summer Reading List Blues

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  • WendellWag@aol.com
    Is it really true, as Barbara Feinberg claims, that there are that many more issue children s books out there that there was a generation or so ago? As she
    Message 1 of 9 , Jul 22, 2004
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      Is it really true, as Barbara Feinberg claims, that there are that many more
      "issue" children's books out there that there was a generation or so ago? As
      she says at one point, these sorts of books have been around since at least
      the 1960's. It's not as though fantasy and science fiction children's books
      have suddenly disappeared, after all, given the popularity of the Harry Potter
      books. There was always a large subset of teachers who didn't like fantasy and
      tended to steer their students away from it towards realistic fiction.

      Wendell Wagner


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • David Bratman
      On the one hand, two of my elementary-school teachers (in unwitting collaboration) were responsible for introducing me to _The Hobbit_. For which I am
      Message 2 of 9 , Jul 22, 2004
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        On the one hand, two of my elementary-school teachers (in unwitting
        collaboration) were responsible for introducing me to _The Hobbit_. For
        which I am eternally grateful. That book changed my life.

        On the other hand, I was fed crappy "relevant" literature even then, in the
        60s. I remember in particular a loathsomely high-minded book called _The
        Pigman_ by Paul Zindel.

        I was also fed a lot of crap that was distinguished as "great literature."
        Herman Melville and Joseph Conrad are the ones that still make me flinch
        the most.

        On the third hand, I discovered and loathed Dickens all on my own.

        On the fourth hand, the great author probably most loathed by the most
        students, Shakespeare, is one I lapped up eagerly both in school and at
        performances I went to voluntarily.

        - David Bratman
      • Lisa Deutsch Harrigan
        The one thing I HATE about Harold being a Gifted Child, is the Sr High School idea that Honors English Students should read things like War & Peace over summer
        Message 3 of 9 , Jul 22, 2004
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          The one thing I HATE about Harold being a Gifted Child, is the Sr High
          School idea that Honors English Students should read things like War &
          Peace over summer vacation between Jr & Sr year.

          I know the kids are bright, but they are still kids. Moose is hardly
          ready for that kind of book, and I don't think 2 years are going to
          help. Jennie wouldn't have been able to understand it either and she was
          16 going on 26!

          In fact the only part of the gifted English thing Harold has problems
          with is when they require adult books with adult themes, other than
          that, he's doing fine with all the work.

          His teacher last year had an independent reading list that had a good
          range of subject matter and level with a lot of good SF&F. He enjoyed
          Huck Finn, 2001, 2010, Hitchhiker's Guide, Ender's Game. The Hobbit,
          LotR were on there, but he'd already read the Hobbit and wasn't
          interested in LotR. We'll see what they come up with this year. I pray
          there is stuff he likes. Otherwise, this won't be pretty.

          Mythically yours,
          Lisa
        • juliet@firinn.org
          You re starting to look like Vishnu or somebody, Mr. Bratman, what with all those hands!
          Message 4 of 9 , Jul 22, 2004
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            You're starting to look like Vishnu or somebody, Mr. Bratman, what with
            all those hands!

            On Thu, Jul 22, 2004 at 09:00:15PM -0700, David Bratman wrote:
            > On the one hand, two of my elementary-school teachers (in unwitting
            > collaboration) were responsible for introducing me to _The Hobbit_. For
            > which I am eternally grateful. That book changed my life.
            >
            > On the other hand, I was fed crappy "relevant" literature even then, in the
            > 60s. I remember in particular a loathsomely high-minded book called _The
            > Pigman_ by Paul Zindel.
            >
            > I was also fed a lot of crap that was distinguished as "great literature."
            > Herman Melville and Joseph Conrad are the ones that still make me flinch
            > the most.
            >
            > On the third hand, I discovered and loathed Dickens all on my own.
            >
            > On the fourth hand, the great author probably most loathed by the most
            > students, Shakespeare, is one I lapped up eagerly both in school and at
            > performances I went to voluntarily.
            >
            > - David Bratman
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
            > Yahoo! Groups Links
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
          • Ginger McElwee
            ... the ... _The ... literature. ... flinch ... I think the problem with the summer reading list is not that children are reading “relevant” literature,
            Message 5 of 9 , Jul 23, 2004
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              David Bratman wrote:

              >On the other hand, I was fed crappy "relevant" literature even then, in
              the
              >60s. I remember in particular a loathsomely high-minded book called
              _The
              >Pigman_ by Paul Zindel.

              >I was also fed a lot of crap that was distinguished as "great
              literature."
              >Herman Melville and Joseph Conrad are the ones that still make me
              flinch
              >the most.

              >On the third hand, I discovered and loathed Dickens all on my own.

              I think the problem with the summer reading list is not that children
              are reading �relevant� literature, but that they are not being given a
              choice of a variety of things to read. As a child I loved Tolkien, but
              I also eagerly read Dickens, Shakespeare, and even Grace Livingston
              Hill. My children read Lloyd Alexander along with Cynthia Voigt, and I
              read both types of books along with them (and enjoyed them all.) Summer
              reading should have some choice involved, and probably some variety as
              well. To limit reading to one genre or theme is to limit the mind and
              the imagination. Let the kids have some fun with their reading during
              the summer.

              By the way, it�s been years since I read _Heart of Darkness_ or _Moby
              Dick_, but I remember really enjoying them both. _The Pigman_, on the
              other hand, was an awful book. I was forced to teach that when I worked
              in a high school years ago.

              Ginger McElwee








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              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Christine Howlett
              English teachers seem to have a lot to answer for! I learned to think that literature must be something quite unpleasant after being marched through Dickens
              Message 6 of 9 , Jul 23, 2004
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                English teachers seem to have a lot to answer for! I learned to think that
                literature must be something quite unpleasant after being marched through
                Dickens' "Tale of Two Cities" in junior high (which requires a lot more
                historical context than most eighth-graders have). And I LOVED to read at
                the time, would read cereal boxes if nothing else offered. I took the
                required English comp course in college and then abandoned the English
                department with relief. After college, while idling in a friend's house and
                feeling very bored, I picked up Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" with no
                expectation of any pleasure and was amazed at how wonderful it was. Within
                a short time thereafter, I had read all of Austen's books, all of Dickens,
                most of Trolloppe, several of Thackeray, George Meredith's "The Egoist"
                (unjustly neglected), and the Bronte sisters' books. I still don't like
                "Tale of Two Cities"; I think it's Dickens sappiest and it doesn't have the
                comic relief of the minor characters and subplots - but then it's the
                shortest and I think that's why teachers choose it. I have to admit I
                really like Dickens generally. I even spent real money just to have the
                Oxford hardbound set.

                Has anyone tried Jasper Fforde's fantasies where the protagonists get caught
                up 'inside' these books? I liked the first, "The Eyre Affair" tremendously.

                Christine
                ----- Original Message -----
                From: "David Bratman" <dbratman@...>
                To: <mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
                Sent: Friday, July 23, 2004 12:00 AM
                Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Summer Reading List Blues


                > On the one hand, two of my elementary-school teachers (in unwitting
                > collaboration) were responsible for introducing me to _The Hobbit_. For
                > which I am eternally grateful. That book changed my life.
                >
                > On the other hand, I was fed crappy "relevant" literature even then, in
                the
                > 60s. I remember in particular a loathsomely high-minded book called _The
                > Pigman_ by Paul Zindel.
                >
                > I was also fed a lot of crap that was distinguished as "great literature."
                > Herman Melville and Joseph Conrad are the ones that still make me flinch
                > the most.
                >
                > On the third hand, I discovered and loathed Dickens all on my own.
                >
                > On the fourth hand, the great author probably most loathed by the most
                > students, Shakespeare, is one I lapped up eagerly both in school and at
                > performances I went to voluntarily.
                >
                > - David Bratman
                >
                >
                >
                >
                > The Mythopoeic Society website http://www.mythsoc.org
                > Yahoo! Groups Links
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
              • Berni Phillips
                From: Christine Howlett ... caught ... tremendously. Oh, yes! It was recommended to me by Wayne Hammond and Christina Scull so I
                Message 7 of 9 , Jul 23, 2004
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                  From: "Christine Howlett" <chowlett@...>
                  >
                  > Has anyone tried Jasper Fforde's fantasies where the protagonists get
                  caught
                  > up 'inside' these books? I liked the first, "The Eyre Affair"
                  tremendously.

                  Oh, yes! It was recommended to me by Wayne Hammond and Christina Scull so I
                  thought, hey, if they recommend it, it must be good! I loved it and the
                  whole concept of a universe taking books so seriously. I enjoyed _Lost in a
                  Good Book_, too, but I like the first the best (maybe because you have all
                  the wonder of being introduced to these things).

                  Berni
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