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Rescooped by Gena Christopher from Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading
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21st Century Literature by Women: A Reading List

21st Century Literature by Women: A Reading List | American Literature: EH 202 | Scoop.it
Last week, I asked for help putting together a list of women writers and their works from the 21st century.

 

 

 

 

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A great list to have in one's toolbox. Just may be just the right resource to have available at any moment for the educator whose radar is always tracking for "Learning Moments."

 

If you believe the saying, " "When the student is ready the teacher will appear," lists like this one are like the green room at the theatre. When you hear your cue, you're ready to appear.


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TheGermanItalianBritishLink's curator insight, March 9, 2013 12:11 PM

...still a lot of reading to do :-)

Rescooped by Gena Christopher from Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading
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Abraham Lincoln's 9 Favorite Poems

Abraham Lincoln's 9 Favorite Poems | American Literature: EH 202 | Scoop.it
Originally posted on poets.org: If Abraham Lincoln's leadership is any indication of his ability to navigate America's complex cultural landscape, then you might want to take heed of Lincoln's recommended reading list.

 

 

 

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My recent scoop re: "For those who want to lead, read" (http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/08/for_those_who_want_to_lead_rea.html) was rescooped more than any scoop I've published. 

 

This article may therefore be of similar interest. 

Another of interest might be this from the Library of Congress: http://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/lincolnpoetry/

 

As I reviewed this collection of Lincoln's favorite poems,  the last of which was actually a reference to his own poetry, of which I was unfamilar, I began wondering whether or not his taste ran more towards  what might have been "classical" or or more towards contemporary writings. 

 

Of the 8 poems mentioned that were written by poets other than himself, 5 were written within his lifetime, 3 were not, Of the three not written within his lifetime, 2 were written quite long before his birth; the third, "A Man's A Man for A'That" by Robert Burns was written just 14 years before his birth.

 

And I began to wonder whether "kids these days," at least those who are the focus of concern regarding their declining interest in reading, are being maligned a bit too harshly about their reading reluctance. 

 

It's all just wondering without drawing any data-driven conclusions. However, several thoughts passed through my mental meanderings...

 

We know that Lincoln was NOT a reluctant reader; that he was quite an enthusiastic reader as a child. But, we also know that the range of other distractions or access to storytelling was significantly narrower in his day. Reading must have been the most accessible source of storytelling beyond the direct oral access to friends, family, preachers, teachers and others. Reading was the #1 "virtual" access to stories. And, that virtual access, like the virtual access of the internet or television, or movies, DVDs, and Netflix streaming, must have been perceived, at the time as being so far beyond the limitations of direct storytelling. Books may well have been perceived at the time as being an overwhelmingly relatively easy access to an "infinite" volume of stories. 

 

I began reflecting upon my own young reading experiences which I'd identify as having occurred between the early 1950s and mid 1960s. TV, radio, and records were books' primary competition for my story seeking hunger.

 

My tastes in reading weren't for the classics so much, though I remember Treasure Island being a favorite and I did have a very small collection of treasured "chapter books" all published by the Whitman Publishing Company of Racine, Wisconsin. I know because I still have every one of those books in a honorary shelf on my main bookcase. Titles included Gunsmoke an "authorized edition featuring Matt Dillon, western marshal of the CBS television and radio programs," Maverick (the cover title listed as "Warner Bros. Maverick starring James Garner and Jack Kelly), Zorro (listed as Walt Disney's Zorro on the cover though Johnston McCulley is identified in what appears to be 4 point font as the creator of the character on the inside title page), Wyatt Earp, The Walton Boys in High Country, Black Beauty, Robinson Crusoe, Robin Hood, Sand Dune Pony, and The Call of the Wild (unusual in that Jack London's name, unlike every title listed above actually appears on the cover.

 

There were "classics" but for the most part, they were pretty connected to contemporary influences on my interests in storytelling; many having direct links to my television consumption which ran heavily towards westerns in those days. 

 

But look at those titles on Lincoln's list. Most were relatively contemporary. They were not when I was a kid and for today's young readers they are all for the most part quite distant from contemporary and must compete with a far greater array of storytelling options now available. It may not be so much that in "the good ol' days" when kids weren't like "kids these days," they may well have been much more like them than we give them credit for being. Perhaps they were, like kids these days, quite attracted to storytelling, to stories told by people who had been to or imagined worlds beyond the experiences of most live storytellers they might have access to, to stories much more accessible via technology advancement in publishing and distribution that themselves leaned more towards "what sold" than what was "classical," that  like today led them to explore "other stories" accessibile via the most readily available technology.

 

I dunno. It's just mental meanderings. But, I can't help but wonder whether Lincoln's interest in Shakespeare and Thomas Gray, came simultaneously with his interest in more contemporary stories or whether the contemporary came earlier and the taste for more "classical" stories was an acquired taste. 

 

I can't help but wonder whether today's reluctant readers readers are not so different in their taste for stories. But, they live in times where access to engaging stories comes in so many forms that the trajectories of their appreciation for the well-told story is simply taking them on a different route. 

 

I remember not liking Shakespeare as a high schooler. I was still reading James Bond and Mad Magazine and listening to the Beach Boys. But, as I think back on my own craving for storytelling, I realize that James Bond superceded my interest in "Disney's Zorro" and preceded my interest in To Kill a Mockingbird; my interest in Mad Magazine superceded my interest in Archie comics and preceded my interest in National Lampoon and Candide and Johnathan Swift, and my interest in the Beach Boys superceded my interest in, well, I don't even remember, but it preceded my interest in Peter, Paul and Mary and Bob Dylan and Joan Baez and then Woody Guthrie and then John Steinbeck and then and then...

 

I was a "late bloomer" of sorts, but I wasn't "dumb." I just had a trajectory in my reading interest and appreciation. But, thanks to several encouraging teachers, I found myself less and less discouraged by teachers who criticized my reading likes and more and more encouraged by teachers who were happy to share with me "something they thought I just might like." 

 

In rereading this meandering contemplation, I realize that it may or may not be much more than off the top of my head thinking out loud first thoughts. 

 

But, I'm reminded of a lesson I learned from Ansel Adams as he critiqued one of my photographs. He taught me that when he critiques "young" photographers' work, he does not expect that they will gain much from hearing all the ways their work is not as good as his. He said he'd learned that where a photographer is on his or her journey as a photographer wasn't as important as what the next step was that each photographer was ready to take. And, that was where he felt his comments and suggestions would most valuable.

 

It's not so easy to be "there" for every one of our students particularly in the days of pacing guides. 

 

But, as we first are weaned from complete dependence upon our parents' world, and then begin discovering our own world, we eventually must begin to wean ourselves from our provincial world view before we can be begin to become receptive to the world  beyond the existing provincial borders of concern.  

 

What does this all have to do with our job? 

Growing up is a journey. That journey may not need to be the same for everyone of our students, but we should be encouraging a greater and broader trajectory regardless of what point each of our students' journeys has reached.

 

Vygotsky has told us that what is nearby (contemporary) is an easier route to what is beyond nearby. What was "nearby" for Lincoln was not nearby for me. What was nearby for me was not nearby for my students. I did eventually find my way to Byron and Bryant and Burns and Gray and even Shakespeare, but each of them spent considerable time on my "Why should I care about those guys list." 

 

And I recognize that Bob Dylan and others who were contemporary influences for me were influences BECAUSE they were "nearby." They are not so "nearby" to today's students' lives. But, maybe what is nearby has just as much potential for affecting their intellectual trajectories in the direction of the universal truths of the "classics."

 

 

 

 ~ http://www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~


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