Sunday, August 15, 2010


Last night I spent some time about the town with a few friends. At the end of the night, as always, we ended up at Perkin's for coffee, food and chit chat. During many interesting conversations, someone asked me what I was currently reading. I told them very little about my obsession with Sherrylin Kenyon's Dark Hunter series, because, well, it just wasn't the right crowd. But I did bring up that I had started to re read Ethan Frome. This led to some conversation about classics, and I found that most of my friends had read the same ones I had, which are the ones we were told to read in school. There were mixed feelings on the books themselves and eventually I went into a tirade about how I personally feel they teach literature incorrectly in high school.

In high school they give you a book that you most likely would have never picked up on your own and force to to read it. That in itself is a quick way to push children away from not only that particular book, but reading in general. Then, once they have you reading the book, they want you to break down every single chapter and paragraph looking for all the hidden meaning and symbolism. Now, books would be a little less fun without symbolism, and there is a feeling of satisfaction in knowing that the author wrote something all sly and witty or even dark and sinister, and that you get it. I love that feeling. But I also think that for those out there who don't have any want or need for that feeling, forcing them to look for the symbolism is just pushing them farther away from the real joy that comes with reading. The great escape. The idea that for however many pages, or words, one is able to live a completely different life. A person can sit down in their living room, or the park, or a restaurant and be immediately taken off to be a spy in Italy, a child in Alabama, or even a dragon in an unknown world. It's that easy. And all of that is ripped away from so many people by those who force them to look for the reason that Gatsby said a certain phrase in the middle of the book.
It's unfortunate and disheartening.
And that's my rant for the day.

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