For my book club I (Clare) had to find some special literary quotes. Huh! Yes that is how I felt too. Well anyway I went searching on the internet and found a few sites that had collections of quotes (organized a zillion different ways – authors, themes …). I know this was cheating (sort of) but the quotes I picked were from authors and books I have read. Here they are:
· Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same. Emily Bronte (Wuthering Heights)
· There is a sense in which we are all each other’s consequences. Wallace Stegner
· For poems are like rainbows: they escape you quickly. Langston Hughes
· It does not do well to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that. J. K. Rowling
· Let the wild rumpus start. Maurice Sendak
· Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering. Nicole Krause (The History of Love)
In honour of author Margaret Atwood’s 75th birthday on November 18th CBC Books is celebrating her life and work with a week of special features including archival interviews, infographics, and a selection of passages from her acclaimed books in the searchable Essential Atwood Reading List. Follow link below:
For 75 surprising facts about Margaret Atwood see link below:
I’ve been striking it lucky with my pick of children’s literature lately. Because of Mr. Terupt is a juvenile fiction novel well worth reading to a junior level class. Also perfect as a sample novel for student teachers experiencing literature circles. This touching story, by Rob Buyea, brings up many discussion points regarding what makes a good teacher, plus many other school issues: diversity, inclusion, forgiveness, and bullying just to name a few. Terrific resource for ‘hot seat’ /role playing explorations. A must read for children’s literature fanatics like me!
Reading the New York Times Book Review section on Sunday, I (Clive) was reminded of the rather negative view of life frequently presented in “good literature.” In books reviewed, life was portrayed as hard to fathom, mainly painful, and ultimately tragic. Of one collection the reviewer said: “These stories know suffering, loneliness, lust, confinement, defeat.” (Lust was the one bright spot.)
This recalled my own education at school and university, where tragic literature was the good kind and comedy was mainly fluff. A “comic” life vision, emphasizing pleasure, happiness, and good relationships, was seen as shallow and naïve.
Certainly, some people find sad and violent books more entertaining than comedies; and a well written tragedy can be absorbing. But as Northrop Frye maintained, literature is supposed to educate as well as entertain. So we have to face the question: How well does tragic fiction educate about life? My view is that it helps, but a more balanced picture is needed.
Based on my own fiction choices, I’m coming to the conclusion that entertainment is a major purpose of fiction. You want something you can enjoy on a plane to offset the cramped conditions and bad food; or that you’re glad to read in the evening when you’re feeling tired. So I usually go for David Lodge, P. D. James, Jane Austen and the like, where there’s plenty of entertainment and a fairly positive worldview.
However, there’s no accounting for taste. The main thing is that we discuss the purpose of various types of fiction with our students, helping them figure out for themselves what to read, when, and why.
This is the 20th anniversary of my book club. Yes we have been together for 20 years. We had an anniversary party and had cupcakes! (Much more on my book club in future posts.) I think there have been two essential ingredients for the success of the book club: our sense of community and our engagement with books. I am coding transcripts of our literacy/English teacher educators and a number note that their student teachers do not like to read. I have found in my research on student teachers that many stated that they had loved reading in elementary (primary) school but by the time they got to secondary school, there was so much prescribed reading (usually textbooks) that they had no time to read for pleasure and in turn, lost their love of reading. This pattern continued throughout their university years. In my literacy courses in the preservice program I talk a lot about engagement with text and the importance of pleasure og reading. Perhaps, we need to take some lessons from book clubs to ensure that our students do not lose their love of reading — community of readers and joy. I think that it is very hard to be a literacy/English teacher if you do not like to read and do not find reading as engaging.