I did not expect to spend so much time away from my blog, but various germs and side effects conspired against me. But this was really not a bad week for me to be reflecting, healing, and resting.
In the holiday spirit, I encourage you to leave a comment over on the Heifer challenge page of Nathan Bransford's blog
by December 24, because each commenter will increase his donation to
Heifer International. And then click over to the other participating
blogs (linked within his post) and leave comments there as well. In just
about a minute, you can make four bloggers donate more than $8! You can
also join the challenge yourself via Nathan's blog.
This post by ProfessorNana
reminded me that although I loved to read and did so constantly while
growing up, I enjoyed the reading that I did for school much less. As
she talks about the trend in schools: "For them, reading is taking
something apart and then spitting it back on a test." Also, "I once saw a
42 page activity guide to MAKE WAY FOR DUCKLINGS and recoiled in
horror." (My copy of the source text itself, MAKE WAY ..., has only 33
pages of text.) I do understand and appreciate the things I learned
about outlining, story and essay structure, theme, symbolism, etc., in
my English classes. Without school, I'm not sure how long it would have
taken me to realize that not every story is meant to be taken only at
its most surface, literal level!
But I agree that not every book
has to be an assignment. I connected with books emotionally before I
connected with them intellectually. And sometimes you just want to have
fun. One of the blessings of our adult lives is that we can read what we
choose without having to justify it to someone else or take a quiz on
And I have to say again how exciting I find the rise of teen
book bloggers and sites like Goodreads and Shelfari, or at least this
aspect of these sites: they are places where young readers are thinking
and writing about what they're reading. They're choosing books, looking
forward to them, recommending them. Many of them discuss not only what
they did or didn't like, but why. Many of them read widely enough that
they can start to spot patterns, including trends and cliches, on their
own. While not all readers engage in online discussion, I find the fact
that such communities exist to be very heartening indeed.