Reading Roundup

brave-new-worldWhat’s on my nightstand? Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley.

I saw a movie version of this when I was a teen or twenty-something. I happened upon it, didn’t know what I was watching, but was intrigued. It was required reading for my nephews and niece in high school. Nephew #2, at least, also found it intriguing. So I decided to read it.

I love it when a book from the past sparks interest in teen readers, and I can see how the whole search for Utopia and rebellion against society would appeal to young adults.

One ongoing discussion about high school reading questions whether classics are the best choice for the curriculum. Being the reasonable sort, I think the best choice is a mix of classic and contemporary literature, with support as needed to make the hard ones accessible.

Connecting with books is a good thing. It expands our perspective, and it connects us with humankind. I don’t doubt it’s easier for teens to connect with more contemporary literature, but I wonder if making connections to older books might somehow have more of an impact. To discover a common discontent or struggle or goal with characters created in 1932 seems to have broader implications than a similar discovery with characters created last year. Finding out that people seventy years ago had the same concerns you have now is bigger news than finding out that others right now have the same concerns.

I’m convinced that some classics belong in high school curriculum–and in purely recreational reading.

WaldenWhat’s on my mp3 player? Walden, by Henry David Thoreau. Would you believe it’s the first time I’ve read/listened to Walden? It seems to me something I should have read ages ago, certainly something Mike and I should have read while caretaking–alone in the AK Bush, no electricity, running water, neighbors.

It’s what I listen to while I move dirt and garden. I’ll listen now as I pick blueberries.

I am (we are) in some ways living the life Thoreau proposes in Walden. I think we came to it on our own, for the most part, without Thoreau’s prompting. I’ve even had thoughts similar to Thoreau’s. It goes to show, for the millionth time, there’s nothing new under the sun. Thoreau did it before, others have done it since, and here we are doing it now. Does anyone else find it fascinating, odd, and sometimes disappointing that different people’s brains can independently generate the same ideas?

Categories: Reading