Category Archives: Middle School & up

Books | The Great American Read | PBS

Source: Books | The Great American Read | PBS

While I find promotion of reading through a television series a little odd, I love the idea of the Great American Read.  The top 100 novels selected by national survey is broad in scope, but I do question some of the titles that made it to the top 100, feeling this is more a projection of a title’s contemporary popularity rather than the voters’ mindful reflection of best loved novels that might have been read over a lifetime.  The list, however, is otherwise alluring especially to those who wish to be better readers or more prolific readers.

Goodreads.com has joined in the fun with a matching list providing a user-friendly way to managing your progress, especially in conjunction with their yearly reading challenge.  Goodreads.com hosts a site wide reading challenge every year beginning in January, allowing participants to elect how many books they would like to read over the course of a year, and track their reading progress along the way.  I’ve found this to be a fantastic way to challenge myself to read more throughout the year, and with each successive year.  Additionally, goodreads members have produced hundreds of themed lists, including the avid reader’s answer to the Great American Read list: The Great American Read – What they missed.

 

An early review of Ernest Hemingway’s “In Our Time”

via Ernest Hemingway’s “In Our Time” | The New Yorker

This review was published in 1927, after Hemingway’s great literary success “The Sun Also Rises.”  There are a few things I love about reviews that are more contemporary to great classics.  The first is the quality of writing of the review itself.  Often the review is written by a now familiar author, and the review is a fabulous peek at that author’s style and growth as a writer.  If the reviewer is not a hence famous author, the writing style is still instructive in the quality of publication meant for common consumption.  The second reason I love early reviews of classics is it often reveals the spirit of the day that the work was written, and provides subtle historical perspectives that current analysis might miss.  And finally, I love to see how ideas grow over time, revealing the ways that people shape literature as much as literature shapes people.

Outside of one’s own curiosity, this early review might serve as a great side lesson in comparative literature, literary analysis, journalistic writing, or to bolster a unit on Hemingway, short stories, or even obscure writings of famous authors.

Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation? – The Atlantic

“The results [of research] could not be clearer: Teens who spend more time than average on screen activities are more likely to be unhappy, and those who spend more time than average on nonscreen activities are more likely to be happy.”

More comfortable online than out partying, post-Millennials are safer, physically, than adolescents have ever been. But they’re on the brink of a mental-health crisis.

Source: Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation? – The Atlantic

The God Who Loves You by Carl Dennis | Poetry Foundation

It must be troubling for the god who loves you…

Caring for other human beings has a transforming effect on a person’s perspective.  Being a parent – and especially a parent of teens – forces one to accept that, although we can see the outcome as clear as day, our child’s free-will oft times supersedes our authority.

Here the author seems to personify God with similar authority of a parent: watchful and omniscient, prone to anxiety and disappointment, vigilant and hopeful, and yet still powerless to the free-will of His creation.  This is a stunning poem with a clear voice of the author, yet infinite so to touch all people in moments of reflection and self-assessment.

Source: The God Who Loves You by Carl Dennis | Poetry Foundation

My Drowning (And Other Inconveniences) | Outside Online

After a legendary career in adventure writing, Tim Cahill thought his story was over. Thrown from a raft in the Grand Canyon’s Lava Falls, he was trapped underwater and out of air. When he finally reached land, his heart stopped for several minutes. Then he came back—and decided to risk Lava again.

This article is really about “story” and its connection to human experience, to the human condition.  An excellent reflection on the importance of story, of one’s own story, of our family’s story, of history, and of the story of man.  Especially useful for beginning writers, or students exploring their own lives and its meaning.  It is not a complete exploration, but it is certainly a starting point in the discussion.

Source: My Drowning (And Other Inconveniences) | Outside Online

How We Haiku — Teaching Stories 11

 

It’s one thing to appreciate haiku, but it’s a totally different animal to teach it.  Teaching requires flexibility, passion, and a degree of mastery of the subject that allows the teacher to converse freely and energetically enough to engage the audience in a learning moment… wherever and whenever that teaching moment occurs.

Check out this inspiring Teaching Story – How We Haiku.

Source: How We Haiku — Teaching Stories 11

C. S. Lewis Reviews The Hobbit

What a treat to find this authentic review of one of my favorites, The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, written by the equally as favored author C.S. Lewis.  Reviewed in the same year The Hobbit was published, Lewis’ poignant reflection on Tolkien’s first novel introducing the characters and story of his later published work The Lord of the Rings trilogy hints at the profundity of the work.

A world for children: J. R. R. Tolkien, The Hobbit: or There and Back Again (London: Allen and Unwin, 1937) The publishers claim that The Hobbit, though very unlike Alice, resembles it in being the work of a professor at play. A more important truth is that both belong to a very small class of… Read More »

Source: C. S. Lewis Reviews The Hobbit