Thursday, December 20, 2012

Holiday hopes

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 it.

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.

Happy reading.


  1. I'll pop over to Nate's! I already made my Heifer donation for the year (about my 10th anniversary doing so), but I'll add my extra dollar ;)

  2. Hope you feel better soon. I too have enjoyed pleasure reading over reading for school most of the time. Like you, I've found that some of the things I've learned about reading in the academic environment have taught me to be a more thoughtful reader while reading for pleasure.

    1. Thank you! Hope you're finding lots of good reading material.

  3. Thanks for visiting my karma ran over my dogma and helping Heifer make way for more ducklings :)