Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Summer Reading

I just finished reading The Old Man and the Sea, for the first time as far as I remember. I could say I’m not sure how I missed that one, but I think I have figured it out already. I didn’t read much in school, and I read almost nothing that wasn’t assigned. Actually, I did not really read that much of what was assigned, except in a skimming or Cliff Notes sort of way. What I remember about literature in school was that we never could just read anything; we had to pick it apart, write about it, and discuss it, ad nauseam. I know comprehension is important, and writing is very important. Don’t worry - my children are required to do these things in school, too. It’s just that I feel like if we do that to every assigned book they will turn out like I did and not enjoy reading. And there would not be time for them to read the quantity of good literature out there that I hope they can cram in before college. So yes, I’ll admit it, most of the assigned reading for my kids’ school is just that, reading. Throw in a dinner table discussion and check it off the list.


I should mention that Edwin and I received good educations from the public schools we attended. How did I get away without actually reading most of what was assigned? The crowd helped. I was smart and could easily do well and get by doing the bare minimum. If there had been a bit more one on one attention, a good teacher would have noticed that I was lazy and doing as little work as possible to make an A on the test. Then she could have stepped up the expectations a bit, to my benefit. But as it is I am now faced with educating my own children, and the thought terrifies me! In the last 9 years I have discovered just how little I did learn in school. I have been trying to make up for that, frantically at times. One of the most enjoyable things I have done to help in that department is to read many, many books. I have learned to love reading, and I am thankful that my children are learning to love it, too.

My summer reading this year is going to be mostly American literature. I so love English literature that I have neglected most of the American writing. I’d love to take suggestions from those who are more educated than I am. Please leave a book suggestion in the comments!

4 comments:

wednesdaygrace said...

Well, this may not qualify as time-tested literature, but I think it will eventually: Leif Enger's Peace Like A River. I couldn't put it down. When I finished it I turned right around and read it to my younger siblings. Apparently his So Brave, Young, and Handsome is good, too, but I wouldn't know because it's been sitting untouched on my bookshelf for months since I shamelessly borrowed it from Josh and Bryonie. (Bad Susan.)

Tracey said...

I did read (and love) both of those, thanks to Bryonie's suggestion. I had picked up Peace Like a River at the library once for Edwin, but he couldn't get into it. After I read it I realized it was more a "girl book" than he usually likes!

abeacon said...

You MUST read Flannery O'Connor. Although it might be one of those authors that you "don't get", but I love her. She's famous for her short story A Good Man is Hard to Find. It's sort of hard to read - some call it Southern Gothic Fiction. But you might really get into it being from Bama and all...

I need a summer reading list. I thought of reading "A Well Trained Mind" but that's too "work related". I need some good fiction. Love the British classics but like you, I should probably read some Yankee writers. :)

M. Helseth said...

BTW, I was just telling my husband - I"m one of those people that has ALWAYS loved reading and writing about reading. I absolutely loved writing book reports! Whenever I heard the words "write a book report" in school, I got super excited. Literature was the only subject I got all A's in. Hopefully my kids will like reading too but I'm in trouble if they really like science or math... Oh well.