A Trip to the Bookstore

My Survey of English Literature II class went to the bookstore today to buy their books for the semester.  I am not sure how much my students enjoyed the experience, but most of them seemed to find something that interested them, and I certainly found something, actually many things, as I always do.  Here is what I purchased, in the order that I found them.

Ivan Illich, In the Vineyard of the Text
Jacques Derrida, Ghostly Demarcations
Simone Weil, Waiting for God
Nelson Algren, The Man with the Golden Arm
Ivan Illich, Gender
William Golding, The Paper Men
Salman Rushdie, Step Across this Line

  1. Curtis said:

    Envious. Where was this book shop?

  2. Lauren said:

    A very serious list of books you have there! (I say this just to make myself feel better for using this as an excuse to finally get around to reading the Hitchhiker books. And Julie & Julia, which is entirely terrible, but which seems to me to be a sort of literary trainwreck that I just can’t turn away from.)

  3. Lauren,

    I love the Hitchhiker books, but I will let you watch the trainwreck on your own. Let me know the gory details.

  4. d said:

    Did any of the kids get interesting books?

  5. Curtis said:

    Um, watch the trainwreck? Julie and Julia is a biographical book, not just a movie.

  6. Curtis,

    Yes, within the logic of the metaphor, you watch the trainwreck. If I was to talk about reading the trainwreck, I would be mixing my metaphor.

  7. d,

    Yes, many of the books looked interesting, though I was not personally familiar with all of them, of course. Here are a few that I can recall: Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler, something by Timothy Findley, something by Margaret Atwood, Spook Country by William Gibson, The Spire by William Golding, Lion Country by Frederick Buechner, Waiting for Godot by Samuel Becket, etcetera.

  8. Curtis said:

    So here is my question:

    Given the intent is not to inspire reading for quantifiable results as apposed to reading for the sake of intensive interest and personal benefit- concluding that all works then can be read well and with merit and satisfaction, aren’t you remotely afraid given open selection that, rather than content and concept discussion, you’ll be getting the soap opera quality of ‘I just didn’t like it when alison was mauled by the bear.’ statements instead of, ‘I don’t understand this literary event of why Ambrosius wishes the monk who is now a woman were a young make monk again, what the heck?’

  9. Curtis,

    The level of literary response is always a concern for me, whether people are reading John Milton or Danielle Steel. Obviously I would prefer my students to be reading the former over the latter, but reading the former will not guarantee that they will write well about what they have read. People only learn to think and write well about literature by seeing good thinking and good writing modelled for them. I fully expect that there will be some fairly superficial analysis over the first while, but my hope is that this will change over time, and only time will tell.

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