Stop Dumbing Down Books for Teens

During my senior year AP English class in high school, we read Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. It was brutal. I thought I was a pretty good reader because I had worked my way through most of Jane Austen, the Brontë sisters, and Leo Tolstoy, but I struggled to get through Heart of Darkness. To … Continued

Books

Why Are Schools Abandoning Literature?

I recently spent time with a class of fourteen-year-olds, talking about words, specifically words strung together to form speech. I started out by asking them whether they thought words could make people act in a particular way. “Can words lead to action?” I asked. There was some thinking and mulling over. We spent several weeks … Continued

Books, Culture

How Have our Heroes Changed?

The fourteenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks this past Friday was a somber reminder to Americans of the first responders and their heroic sacrifice on that terrible morning. Three hundred and forty-three firefighters perished that day, as well as sixty police officers and eight paramedics, all rushing to the aid of others with a disregard … Continued

Books, Culture

The Books We Love and What They Say About Us

A new status has been popping up on Facebook lately, and it’s not, surprisingly enough, more #IceBucketChallenge posts. Instead, users are sharing their “top 10 books.” The status usually prompts participants to list 10 books that have “stayed with them” in some way. It encourages people to answer the prompt quickly, without over-analyzing the question; … Continued

Books

In Review: Eve Tushnet on Classic Children’s Lit

Blogger Eve Tushnet has contributed several posts in the last month on classic children’s literature. If you are looking for virtue-based summer reading for youth, Tushnet’s provided a great list of books: The Spell of the Satirist’s Skill I don’t know why anyone would ever want to rule a fantasy kingdom, or become an evil … Continued

Books