Saturday, July 15, 2006

Complimental Copy

Did I make up another word?

I am copying again. Or am I playing "Follow the Leader"?

Blog topic is not original.

What have schools done to "classic" authors? Thank STACY for another inspirational blurb.

I speak of Emily Dickinson, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Melville ....

Have your book reports turned you off of famous authors when you were forced to explore, explain and extol their salient points?

My answer to her blog post was:

As far as books. *sigh* Most of the classics I was forced to read in school, I now am totally disinterested in.
Won't give them the time of day or night.
Exception - Edgar Allan Poe, Homer, Shakespeare and Kurt Vonngegut Jr.

Remember Ethan Frome? I hated, absolutely hated that story.
Teacher spent three flippin days discussing it. It's like dissecting a fetal pig - afterwhile, all you see is parts and it ceases "being" a thing greater than its parts.
Do teachers realize that the fall out from their intense and clinical autopsies is total unappreciation for those "famous" authors?

Since leaving school, I've not read ANY stories by Hemmingway, Fitzgerald or Melvile.

Am I the only one this has happened to?

I recollect only one teacher that taught us to not look for hidden meanings and references but to read with enthusiasm. She reveled in the author's mind, imagination and use of the written word.
It was like she was saying "Look! Look what is possible when you embrace the joys of the English language . "
And the background advice of " Use it, amuse with it, teach with it, but don't abuse it." has stuck with me.

Unfortunately, she was in a lower grade - she could inspire enthusiasm in us for the stories because they were not "socially conscious" epics that bammed us over the head with foreshadowing and social criticisms- but were fun, whimsical and creative.
Teachers beyond her were dry, intense and stern as were the books choices they gave us. (Did I say "choice"? ha!)
Where's the fun in that?

Which brings me to Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, War and Peace - I've not read them, seen them or have any inclination to do so.

Does that make me a lowbrow Neanderthal?

Someone PLEASE TAPE THE FIRST EPISODE FOR ME!!! I read that the Sci-Fi channel is airing the Dresden Files series this year. AND I DON'T GET CABLE!!

On a real life Boo Hoo and "Oh No!" and "This is totally dreadful!"
is Brandy's situation.
Her large and loveable kitty, Squeakie is missing. For us faithful bloggers to her site, she's been regaling us with awesome, "warm and fuzzy" pictures of her cats' antics, Squeakie among them.
Please stop by and give her a CYBER-HUG folks. This loss is devestating her and her family as Squeakie IS part of the family.


Kara Alison said...

Not to be a brat, but I'm the complete opposite in this situation. I LOVED reading/disecting/discussing literature in school. There was nothing more exciting to me than when the teacher led us into a debate and I "got" it. seriously, if you could have seen me. It was kind of ridiculous - SO proud.

Most of my favorite books are the ones that were introduced in school. I will admit though, I am pretty nerdy when it comes to school. I like going to class. I like writing papers. I even like taking tests sometimes. What can I say? (Though I do think I'm the oddball here.)

P.S. Vonnegut is my hero.

Michele said...

LOL< Kara, you are NOT a brat. I'm glad you are offering up the other side of the coin, so-to-speak.
I think a lot has to do with how teachers present the subject to the class and indeed , how they relate to their students.
If you get a teacher who has enthusiasm for tearing apart a book and has you look at it like a juicy piece of meat.. well then, you have a positve experience.

Sounds like you were lucky.
I am envious!
Oooh, another Vonnegut fan? Cool.

Thanks for stopping by ,Kara!

Lyn Cash said...

...afterwhile, all you see is parts and it ceases "being" a thing greater than its parts.
Do teachers realize that the fall out from their intense and clinical autopsies is total unappreciation for those "famous" authors?

Think you nailed it with that statement. If teachers would approach their dissections by letting the students read the darned thing and THEN discuss it, using a question and answer format, allowing creative flow, I think kids would enjoy the process more.

And you cracked me UP with your post on my blog. I think it's GREAT you got by that quiz - LOL.

Like Kara, though, I enjoyed the lit classes immensely. So much that I eventually taught English - lol. Rarely had anyone miss a class. Not sure that it wasn't because I didn't assign homework (if you missed class or got sent out, you missed the grade for that day). *grin*

Michele said...

Very Large THANKS Lyn!

Why couldn't I have had YOU for a teacher? LOL

*grin*, AND I cracked you up? Joy!

Thanks for all the nice comments, and have to say , YOUR blog had me laughing out loud too.

Love George Carlin!

CaliMarie said...

Well, I won't lie to you. I was a straight "A" student, but I never cared for any of those books in English and I sure as hell don't care for them now.

I'm not big on literary fiction because I reckon I'm like most other contemporary readers...who just don't have the patience to sift through it.

I'm not looking for these deep messages and trying to figure out what an author is saying by the use of metaphors or whatever the hell.

I'm just looking to be entertained. And I reckon that's why I favor commercial fiction.

It has nothing to do with your intellectual level. It's just a matter of what you desire out of your reading experience. And that, of course, differs for each individual person.

Michele said...

Ah! I hear you Cali!

I just had a saucey thought though.

You said that you don't care for metaphors... I guess it might make a difference as to WHAT the metaphor was for? be impaled on a velvet spike, or spanking the velvet monkey, or just plain ol' weeding the manroot....then it could..fall into the catagory of "entertainment".
Sorry, I couldn't resist. *wink*

Back to your comment.
Looking inward, I would say that I too lean towards commercial fiction. Never gave it a label before though. Thanks for that!


M.E Ellis said...

Absolutely hated 'To Kill a Mockingbird' as I felt I HAD to read it to pass English Lit. Which I did, with an 'A' but that's not the point!


Michele said...

I'd forgotten that one, M.E. and you are right!
They've made a wonderful movie from it and I've never seen it!

I also don't remember much from the book - perhaps on purpose.?

Bailey Stewart said...

It's the teachers. Unfortunately for me, it wasn't until my senior year that I got a good teacher - but by that time the damage was done. I dislike the "classics", I want to know just who decides if a book is a classic or not and who the hell cares where Homer was going?

You just now figured out that Proven Guilty is out? I got it back in May. I'll try to tape it for you.

Poor Brandy - I know how she feels, I even think that being missing is worse than having them die because at least with death you can come to some sort of closure.

Annalee Blysse said...

I loved reading Shakespeare's plays in school. It wasn't a chore. I think it's because even if the stories hold truths that resonate within "readers" to this day, the stories are all about making people laugh, cry, etc.... I get the feeling that if Shakespeare were alive today, he wouldn't want to be considered an author of great, classic literature. He'd want to be the screen writer for Pirates of the Carribean so people would go see his work.

Brandy said...

Because of a teacher in H.S. I hated the Great Gatsby. Still do. However, beause of another teacher, I adore Shakespeare. It's really a 2 sided coin. I had to do a bookreport on Emily Dickenson in Jr.High. That woman was depressing, at leat it seemed that way because the teacher at the time pointed out most of her poems were about death.I remember one about 'a carriage waits for me'. Teacher argued it was about suicide. What a lovely topic for a Jr.High schooler! I broached this topic a month ago. Loke your take on it better.
Thank you for the plea for good thoughts. They are appreciated.

M.E Ellis said...

I think TKaMB had some kid called Scout in it? And it revolved around a family, but that's about all I can recall. Reckon my brain's blocked it out. Same with Macbeth.

My son asked me to help him with his English Lit and I said, 'Ok! Whatcha got?'




Stacy~ said...

Wow, Michele, thanx for taking my post and running with it. I feel so vindicated right now LOL. When I was growing up, I always felt guilty for not enjoying these books. Um, Catcher in the Rye? Hated it! Of course I only read it once, required reading, and I couldn't stand the experience. If I went back to it now, well, who knows.

Kara I'm jealous! I wish that was how I read the classics - with excitement and enjoyment. Oh well, we're all wired differently, but that doesn't mean we're stupid, just unique :)

CaliMarie said...

LOL, Michele.


Michele said...

Bailey - you'll tape it for me?? Oh,like , Major Wow! Thanks.. Yippee! So, like, when ARE you gonna read the latest book? You have me green with envy!

I saw it advertised on Fictionwise, that's how I just found out Harry's new adventure was out.

BTW- I don't Homer knew where he was going either, LOL

And yep, who DOES decide a book is a classic..I mean, I have yet to see Gone With The Wind as required reading or JAWS and they were best sellers !

Annalee! Shakespeare meets Capt Jack? Lo' thats a hoot. LOVE the Idea! A Pirate taming the Shrew - what fun ;-)

Brandy..Yep, had to suffer through the dubious Great Gatsby too. Dearest Emily is a local author around here .. and I"ve yet to visit her house. Yep, she was manic I think... people with angst seem to make the grade as far as being called "classic"... maybe the powers that be that determine what "classic" to read in school are all neurotics????

M.E. --- Too funny = MacBeth? Kids bring back things to haunt you from your youth, don't they...? *grin*

Stacy !-- you're welcome.. Glad you don't struck a pet peeve chord that I forgot I had. Cather in the Rye..isn't that the one with all the swearing? Boys thought that book was the ultimate cool... gee I wonder why? **shakes head**
I tried reading it..quit after two chapters on principal alone.

Oh Cali! *grin*..liked my metaphors did ya? LOL - guess I got carried away. ;-)

Kimberly said...

TKaMB...I prefer the movie...only because it is the debut film of my favorite actor, Robert Duvall. He plays Boo Radley.

Michelle I have to say though...give Hemingway another shot. I adore The Sun Also Rises. If you do read it let me know what you think.