2015 and a new course

huckpicHere’s the reading list for this term’s course: Huck Finn, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, To Kill a Mockingbird, Our Town, Dave at Night, Fifteen, The Outsiders, The Bluest Eye, Feathers, American Born Chinese, Donald Duk, kira-kira, and Where Do You Stop?.

Are some of these titles new to you? Well then, keep an eye on this blog to learn more about each of them. Our focus will be on how children and adolescents are portrayed in American fiction, and I hope we can come up with some useful insights.

Happy reading to all!

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3 thoughts on “2015 and a new course

  1. I keep looking at this list. Or, really, this stack of books that sit on my bookshelf. I put the last book that needs to be read on the bottom of the stack with the book that needs to be read for this week’s class on the top. At the beginning of the semester, it seemed a bit overwhelming. So many books, where was I going to find the time? Right now, it’s midterms and I am more than half way through with this stack of books and I’m sad. I’m sad because this list has so many good books on it that I never found the time to read and I’m really enjoying reading them. But I don’t know which is worse, the only reason I’m reading them is because they were assigned for a graduate level course or that I never read so many canonical texts. I feel this pull towards some of these texts, to read them because they paved the road for so many other texts, that these books have a history, but I also feel that I should be reading more recent and relevant texts that students may identify with more. Books that do not come with an English Literature stigma, if you will. Books with characters who are not filled with stereotypes and just white protagonists. Finding that balance of books like these, these canonical texts, mixed with newer books is always going to be a challenge when developing a curriculum.

    MAS 2015

  2. MAS,
    I was thinking the same thing about these books leading to so many others. Reading To Kill a Mockingbird made me feel 100 times more excited about the July 2015 release of Go Set a Watchman. American Born Chinese led me to add Boxers & Saints to my list. After reading Kira Kira by Cynthia Kadohata, one of my favorites from this semester, I had to put her books The Thing About Luck, Half a World Away, Weedflower, The Floating World and Outside Beauty on my reading list as well. S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders made me want to reread her novels Tex, Rumble Fish and That Was Then, This Is Now. Reading The Outsiders when I was in middle school was a completely different experience than reading it decades later and I am now curious about how I will respond today to S.E. Hinton’s other novels that I read all those years ago. And that is just a small selection of my revised list now that the semester is over. Reading books definitely leads me to want to read more books. For every book I read I tend to add at least two more to my list so that instead of my reading list getting shorter after reading a book, it gets longer. That’s one of the wonderful things about reading. Books and reading tend to have a snowball effect.
    Although I never would have read some of the books we were assigned on my own, many of them had been on my own personal list of books to read for years and I was happy to have the excuse to finally get around to enjoying them.

    ~ Naptharoe

  3. MAS and Naptharoe — Thanks for your feedback. I’ll admit I had fun making this list (which started with 50 titles, but I figured everyone would drop the course on seeing so many titles). Yes, keep reading new stuff, but don’t forget the old ones. They’re still in print for reason: people still love reading those books.

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