Friday, February 24, 2012

TGIF: Required Reading (1)

Today's TGIF question from GReads is:

Which book from your school days do you remember reading and enjoying? Is there a book published today that you'd like to see in today's curriculum for kids?

In order to understand why I'm picking The Stranger (Albert Camus) and The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams) and The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger) we have to go all the way back to high school.

In high school I had one of those really cool teachers for a humanities class. You know the type: goes by his own rules, seems like a made for TV movie about street thugs getting an education but isn't as cliche as them. He gave me the above books to read even though they weren't on his required reading list. He is the man who got me seriously into reading. He was also a Buddhist and heavily into NASCAR, which is retrospect is an odd combination even by today's standards.

It didn't stop me from loving those books. I still have the copy of The Stranger he gave to me the day before I graduated. He didn't write an inscription on it. He just told me to keep and enjoy it and to learn from it. I haven't learned that lesson yet (the book is about murder). So I guess his lesson has been DON'T MURDER PEOPLE, ADAM.

It's paid off... so far...

Is there a book that I wish were on the curriculum today? Yeah. There is. Some people might disagree but I think Harry Potter should be required reading. Harry Potter has created a generation of readers and there's a reason for that: kids can connect to Harry.  He goes from a kid to a young adult. Making that transition isn't easy but JK Rowling nails it perfectly, even if it does involve flying cars and wizards.

Oh and the stories are funner than Jane Eyre or the other thousand boring required reading books.

So basically, hook em' young with Harry Potter and then pull them to the dark side with other stuff. If the tobacco companies can do it so can Scholastic. 

9 comments:

  1. Don't murder people...best lesson of all! Haha. :)

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    1. If I can count the number of times that advice has paid off... especially when I'm driving.

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  2. Loved your story about your teacher :) those are the best kinds. I wish I had known someone in high school to get me hooked on reading like that. Unfortunately it took a sparkly vampire years later to grab my attention, haha.

    I completely agree about Harry Potter (even though I haven't finished the series yet). But there are parents out there who associate HP with the devil because ya know.. he does magic.. *serious eye roll happening here*

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    1. Really, Ginger? Twilight?

      Harry Potter is the devil? Are people still using that argument? I mean, they burn more books than they read and beat up anyone who isn't like them, so I don't value or respect their opinions very much. But really, it's 2012. Get over it people.

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  3. The only thing that really stands out from my high school experience was reading In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. It's about a really gruesome murder, and the journalist covering the murder begins to feel sympathy for one of the killers by the end. Pretty intense stuff.

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    1. I never got the phrase "in cold blood". Technically if you're murdering someone wouldn't their blood be warm?

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  4. My favorite from school was John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath. Nothing overly exciting there or extremely awesome. In fact, it's depressing mixed with chapters about that cute little turtle - if you haven't read it that makes no sense. But it made me love John Steinbeck and to this day he is still one of my favorites. And his is the only picture on my kindle that I don't hate.

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    1. I was forced to read Of Mice and Men instead of The Grapes of Wrath. I can't say I was fan.

      You still have those pictures on there? I took all of them off.

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  5. "So basically, hook em' young with Harry Potter and then pull them to the dark side with other stuff."

    *nods head*

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