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Author Topic: Adults should read actual literature  (Read 55888 times)
betty_p
Pissed off and wistful
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Ooh! Piece o' candy.


« Reply #75 on: April 16, 2012, 11:59:40 PM »


A. It's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, without the article.
B. The reading audience wasn't segregated by age in the 19th century and before the way it appears to be now.  I recommend the enormous L'histoire du livre literature of the last twenty years as reference.
C. In the 19th century, children routinely read The Pilgrim's Progress.
D. Dickens pretty explicitly wrote for children.
E. I've read at least as many "serious" books as most of you, having that Ph.D. In English and all, and if you think it's a mark of my degeneracy and lack of education that I enjoyed The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, et al., all I can say is go ahead and kiss my ....
F. Oh, and I am sure I have taught more "serious" books than most "civilians" have read


Didn't mean to piss you off, Aandsdean. Actually, I meant to underscore many of the points you're making here.

Apologies for the misplaced article in the Huckleberry Finn title.

And as for E. and F., I have that same degree, I have taught those same serious books, and I am teaching The Hunger Games in the fall.
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cc_alan
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Caution! Nekkid Zamboni driver ahead.


« Reply #76 on: April 17, 2012, 12:07:55 AM »

E. I've read at least as many "serious" books as most of you, having that Ph.D. In English and all, and if you think it's a mark of my degeneracy and lack of education that I enjoyed The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, et al., all I can say is go ahead and kiss my ....

+1 and thank you. I've been trying to come up with a post for quite some time and "kiss my @ss" along with "bite me" kept cropping up time and again.

How anyone can assume something about someone's overall reading habits based on enjoying Harry Potter and all of the other books people have posted about on this thread saddens me. I am grateful for discovering the HP books because they rekindled my love for reading that had been temporarily extinguished after all the stress I experienced while finishing up graduate school. And it doesn't bother me a bit when someone says that they either haven't read them or that they tried them but didn't like them.

I happily place them in my bookshelf along with The Lord of the Rings, Culture books by Iain M. Banks, biographies about scientists, chemistry and other science books, history of science books, various Heinlein books, my beloved Discworld books by Pratchett, and more.

Please don't make assumptions about people because of what you happen to catch them reading at any one time. That's not directed at you, aandsdean!

Alan
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bioteacher
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Confused and sad. Or happy. I'm not sure...


« Reply #77 on: April 17, 2012, 6:35:07 AM »

One other thing worth mentioning: the HP marketing machine had people going to bookstores at midnight go get the latest release in the series. Yes, there were lots of kids there. But there ware also adults present who had no kids of their own. And yet they were all flocking to the bookstores for a pre-release party and lining up politely just before midnight to get their hands on the books as soon as possible.

These people were excited by reading! They were so excited that they made a special effort to go to the bookstore at midnight! Yes, it was savvy marketing. But it was also a response to a genuine passion for reading at least one book. It wasn't a rush to the sporting goods store to get the winning team's jersey after a big championship... it was a rush to purchase a BOOK. And books require active participation. Anyone can wear a jersey. Heck, I see infants dressed up in team colors all the time and they have no idea what the game is even about. But a book? Books are meant to be read, shared, savored, and reread.

Harry Potter was okay. I didn't adore the books and I got tired of the extreme darkness and teens sniping at each other as the series went on. The story was enjoyable and I don't regret reading them one bit. But I'm forever grateful to Rowling for producing something that got another generation of kids excited about reading. Hunger Games is doing the same thing right now. The Twilight series helped, too. And all of this a Very Good Thing.

These books are often gateway books. How many librarians and booksellers have had people come in and ask for something else to read like one of the above? And responsive libraries and booksellers have capitalized on that opportunity and lead these passionate readers to other books with similar themes... and then we have book addicts on our hands. This is an addition I fully support!
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grasshopper
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Grade Despot


« Reply #78 on: April 17, 2012, 7:13:11 AM »

What distinguishes it as a children's series is that it grows up thematically with the ages of the children.  That rarely happens; even beloved series like Anne of Green Gables rarely move from one extreme

The Anne series is surprisingly complex. Even in the first two books - episodic, like they were written as though serialized. We're reading these episodes, one crazy escapade after another, but by the end of the first book, Montgomery's constructed this really complex character. The latter books break away from that episodic structure, and it's funny, because you'd think that this would be the time when Anne's character would just begin to develop. But at that point, she's already Anne.

It's *really* difficult to create a fully-developed character through plot-driven episodic chapters (think Dan Brown's thin characterizations - ugg). But somehow (magic?), Montgomery does it.

Why do you think so many people love Anne? Even those who've only read the first book. It's not because she's "good" and gets into scrapes. It's because the character jumps out of the pages.
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tinyzombie
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« Reply #79 on: April 17, 2012, 7:17:27 AM »

I still want to be Anne when I grow up.
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elsie
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« Reply #80 on: April 17, 2012, 7:26:11 AM »

I still want to be Anne when I grow up.

+1

She's why I dyed my hair red for so many years.

In fact, my favorite Anne books are the ones where she is grown up.
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menotti
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« Reply #81 on: April 17, 2012, 7:27:01 AM »

What distinguishes it as a children's series is that it grows up thematically with the ages of the children.  That rarely happens; even beloved series like Anne of Green Gables rarely move from one extreme

The Anne series is surprisingly complex. Even in the first two books - episodic, like they were written as though serialized. We're reading these episodes, one crazy escapade after another, but by the end of the first book, Montgomery's constructed this really complex character. The latter books break away from that episodic structure, and it's funny, because you'd think that this would be the time when Anne's character would just begin to develop. But at that point, she's already Anne.

It's *really* difficult to create a fully-developed character through plot-driven episodic chapters (think Dan Brown's thin characterizations - ugg). But somehow (magic?), Montgomery does it.

Why do you think so many people love Anne? Even those who've only read the first book. It's not because she's "good" and gets into scrapes. It's because the character jumps out of the pages.

Also, Anne etc. draws on a lot of literary tradition.  When I finally read Shakespeare - long after I read Anne of Green Gables - I was surprised how many quotes I knew from those books.
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grasshopper
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Grade Despot


« Reply #82 on: April 17, 2012, 8:08:09 AM »

Ditto on growing up wanting to be Anne. And the hair dye.
I still read all the Anne books on regular rotation, along with my high-brow literature.

Also, Anne etc. draws on a lot of literary tradition.  When I finally read Shakespeare - long after I read Anne of Green Gables - I was surprised how many quotes I knew from those books.

What if a rose were called a skunk cabbage?
Cabbages and kings.

It's fantastic that Anne refers to "having read in a book once" that a rose by any other name, etc. Like it's just some random book. You know, some book. By a guy. No big whup. 

But perhaps Montgomery just really liked the sound of the word "cabbage," after all.
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polly_mer
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Have you worked on that project today?


« Reply #83 on: April 17, 2012, 9:04:40 AM »

Eh, you can look down on me for reading what I like, but I'm keeping both Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants and The Count of Monte Cristo on my shelves.

I don't have a literature degree, but somehow I still keep the library and bookstores in business.
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tinyzombie
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« Reply #84 on: April 17, 2012, 9:20:45 AM »

Eh, you can look down on me for reading what I like, but I'm keeping both Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants and The Count of Monte Cristo on my shelves.

I don't have a literature degree, but somehow I still keep the library and bookstores in business.

I heart you.

Grassy, maybe we need an Anne thread. (Or a Children's Lit thread?)
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Quote from: usukprof
I think we have three of them, but the smallest one seems to be the leader.
Quote from: dolljepopp
Who needs real life when Sandra Bullock is around?
Quote from: systeme_d_
You are all my people, and I love you.
marigolds
looks far too young to be a
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i had fun once and it was awful


« Reply #85 on: April 17, 2012, 9:40:06 AM »

Are you sorry yet, Larry?
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zyzzx
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« Reply #86 on: April 17, 2012, 9:49:34 AM »

Eh, you can look down on me for reading what I like, but I'm keeping both Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants and The Count of Monte Cristo on my shelves.

I don't have a literature degree, but somehow I still keep the library and bookstores in business.

I heart you.

Grassy, maybe we need an Anne thread. (Or a Children's Lit thread?)

You guys have certainly motivated me to go back and reread Anne. I just checked, and it's available at Project Gutenberg (woohoo!).
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arizona
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« Reply #87 on: April 17, 2012, 9:52:17 AM »

I quite liked the Hunger Games trilogy. It was like popcorn for my brain. Harry Potter lost me after book 4- the books got so bloated. I did read Twilight; when I was an undergrad I had a part time piecemeal job reading the sci-fi/fantasy slush pile for a publisher. Someone who worked with me then said Breaking Dawn was the worst thing they had ever read. Naturally I had to see for myself. (It took the silver for me).

So what's the gold-medal winner?
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lohai0
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« Reply #88 on: April 17, 2012, 9:54:43 AM »

I quite liked the Hunger Games trilogy. It was like popcorn for my brain. Harry Potter lost me after book 4- the books got so bloated. I did read Twilight; when I was an undergrad I had a part time piecemeal job reading the sci-fi/fantasy slush pile for a publisher. Someone who worked with me then said Breaking Dawn was the worst thing they had ever read. Naturally I had to see for myself. (It took the silver for me).

So what's the gold-medal winner?

Robert Newcombe's The Fifth Sorceress. Every bit of cliched tripe-y fanfiction I read as an undergrad is better than that.
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walker_percy
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« Reply #89 on: April 17, 2012, 11:04:34 AM »

Good thread.

I am reading The Hunger Games, with relish and no apologies. I'll explain what led me to read a YA book: 1. My job, in part, involves educating middle and high schoolers, and I kinda like knowing their minds. 2. One day soon, I'm betting my kid will come to me asking to read it. I want to offer her intelligent guidance. 3. It has found its way into the popular Zeitgeist. As a museum-based educator, I am curious about what people are interested in, to meet them half way, as it were. 4. It's very entertaining, and I am, admittedly, in its grip.

I have read parts of THS while reading Dawkins' Climbing Mount Improbable and a half ton of scholarly stuff related to an exhibit I recently curated. I am confident in my ability to digest some dense s***. My recent reading probably makes THS even more appealing -- something easy-breezy.
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