Sunday, June 26, 2016

Reading Challenge Book 20: Why Read?


Looking at the title, I probably should have started this whole endeavor with this book!

Why Read?
Mark Edmundson

I decided to brush off the e-dust that had been collecting on this and read it, as I'm stalling for time before I dive into rereading a series I'm very much looking forward to (more on that next month).

Mark Edmundson defends a liberal arts education, his position on how literature teachers should approach their classrooms, the literary canon, and the inherent value of reading works of literature. This is not a casual read, but it is a thought-provoking one.

I, as an early-career teacher of English, will face in my classrooms students who do not see the value in reading anything beyond text messages and Call of Duty stats. I know this because it has already happened. I know this because I myself struggle to fit reading into my daily routine (this book took me almost two weeks!).

The value is there, of course, and anyone who reads for pleasure understands this. Edmundson points out that in today's world people increasingly turn to electronics (he names TV and video games), and this shift in focus is to the detriment of students. He specifically refers to college students, people at a stage in their life where they're not only forging themselves into career-ready young adults, but also dealing with serious relationships and life issues (marriage, home life, job-hunting, finances, independence, etc.).

Anyway, this was a solid, academic read. Yay for variety! On to the next one.

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