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View Diary: My Experience With Unschooling (Abbreviated) (66 comments)

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  •  You might try reading "Going Postal", my fave, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    upstate NY

    for one person's take on "the best of Pratchett".

    I disagree with hairylarry a little bit about Vance; I love reading Vance but don't think his characters have to confront choices as fraught as, say, Philip Dick's do. In a way their over-the-top adventure plots get the protagonist through a lot of hard choices by just saying "do this, or be sliced to pieces by barbarians" which is less of a choice than an imperative. But his books are SO much fun and Adam Reith, for instance, is a very down-to-earth character despite his near-superhero powers.

    •  Thanks, great advice (0+ / 0-)

      I'm trying to keep up with my students.

      This is all new to me because less than a decade ago, students were not into sci-fi and fantasy as much as they are now.

      A survey of my recent Lit. class of 40 students showed that less than 5 had read Hemingway or Toni Morrison or any of the well-known American writers of the 20th century. Pratchett was easily more popular.

      There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

      by upstate NY on Fri Apr 27, 2012 at 09:22:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I wonder if they're totally alienated from those (0+ / 0-)

        authors, like my teenagers. Either because of race or generation or both, my kids just don't find anything in the current 'canon' of authors that relates to them. So 'young adult fantasy' is much more appealing, just because of the characters. And at least the current 'canon' is not all white male, as it was when I was their age.

        My older teen does appreciate Hemingway, of whom at least you can say he's terse, but it's a struggle to get my younger kid interested in anything that's not fantasy. And he's a voracious reader.

        •  As I said in my response to upstate NY (0+ / 0-)

          I'll admit that I haven't broached the majority of the literary 'classics' myself, and I am an aspiring author. A part of me feels heinous for not putting in the effort... I'm sure that had I gone to college I would've been forced to contend with a few of them.

          I remember attempting to read 'Moby Dick' and not getting very far at all... (it could've been the free addition I downloaded to my Kindle that wasn't laid out very well, but the prose was hard to absorb; a dense narrative full of what felt like inconsequential information right off the bat).

          Likewise, for a Novel Writing class I took my teacher had us reading 'The Great Gatsby', which I honestly couldn't even finish. The writing was beyond beautiful, but that was part of the problem -- it was so dense with metaphors that I kept losing track of what was going on. And when I was rooted enough in the story to have a sense of the plot, I realized that I didn't particularly care about any of these high-society people and their petty, over-privileged problems. On the whole, it was entirely underwhelming to me.

          I realize I'm just barely skimming the surface of a deep reservoir of fiction that is definitely important; reflecting bygone eras and the people who brought life to them. But I'll admit that I rarely read outside of genre fiction (I'm pretty lenient on what the genre is, but I'm very into larger than life fiction that lets me escape into worlds so far beyond our own that I could never, and would never have, experienced them myself). As I said in another comment, I do try to be well read in the genres that I intend to write in, and while I suppose 'literary' fiction is somewhat universal, it's still not what I intend to write. That's kind of how I rationalize the narrow lens through which I read. If I were to attempt to write something 'literary', I'd definitely read more of it.

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