Bibliophiliac is the space where one passionate, voracious reader reflects on books and the reading life. You will find reviews, analysis, links, and reflections on poetry and prose both in and out of the mainstream.

A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. Franz Kafka

Thursday, June 24, 2010

More Summer Reading

I had a week of free time after school ended, and this week I was back at school again--voluntarily.  Teachers had summer sessions (paid for by our district), and I will be working on curriculum writing and mapping (teachers probably know what I'm talking about).  The trouble is, I'm stuck in a book, and that's where I want to stay.  I read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and now I am about 500 pages in on The Passage by Justin Cronin.  Expect a review this weekend or early next week.

In the meantime, I have come across a few interesting links for summer reading:

Here's a list from NPR
Here's one from the NPR program On Point

In articles and lists I've seen, Justin Cronin's novel The Passage is frequently mentioned; I will give my thoughts in my review.

I also came across this interesting article on Huffington Post, in which Peter W. Wood, President of National Association of Scholars, discusses summer reading assignments for college students.  The main thesis of the article seems to be that colleges, even the most elite, expect that students will arrive on campus "with scant knowledge of good books."  Wood discusses what he calls the "dumbed-down, fragmented" high school curriculum, and what he calls a "bleak assessment of the educational situation."

As a high school teacher, I can say positively that high school students and graduates are not as well read as the graduates of previous generations.  Students do not read widely or deeply, and there is no longer a shared canon of works that all students will have read by college.  I remember getting a list during my junior or senior year of high school, and working my way through the list, checking off books as I went.  I read on the bus, in the car (as a passenger!), walking down the street....What is the "shared intellectual experience" of today's students?  whether you read the article linked above or not, I'd be interested in your ideas.  What do you think of the idea of "summer reading" for college freshmen?  Are entering freshmen lacking in a shared intellectual experience, or knowledge of literature?


Bailey said...

I like your blog! I'm stopping by via the hop. Have a great weekend!


Priya Parmar said...

i agree that the expectations have dropped. i've noticed that high schoolers no longer understand the relationships of literature. how donne relates to the romantics relates to between the wars poetry. huge key victorian novels have fallen by the wayside entirely. i assigned my student graham greene, eliot, waugh, hemingway, fitzgerald and tolstoy for the summer--covering lots of ground in an effort to give him a broader understanding before he starts college!

Jamie said...

Coming from the blog hop! Will be stopping by again!

I just read The Hunger Games as well. Just finished my review for it and it will be up in a week or so! It reminded me of a sick version of Survivor!

Grad said...

I'm of the "build it and they will come" philosophy. In other words, introduce kids to good literature and they'll seek it out on their own. But they have to be introduced to it first. My kids high schools did a very good job at that (but they went to Catholic schools, which have a pretty good reputation for education around here. The public schools, alas, do not). A great teacher makes all the difference. And as I've said before, your kids are lucky to have you.

Grad said...

Forgot to say. Thanks for the list, which I've printed out for easy reference at the library.