Saturday, June 28, 2008

Compulsory reading


I love the way this graphic essay by Alison Bechdel explores her reading life. In the piece, Bechdel laments the way adults force certain books on young people--including the canon, other reading lists, and required summer reading. (Read the rest here.)

When I was in high school, my mom was reading Fear of Flying and laughing and laughing. I asked her if I could read it. When she finished it, she just handed it over. That’s the best kind of adult support of a young person’s reading: an adult who gets engaged in a book. Young people who see that can't help but get curious. And it's best if adults don't worry about the "taboos" in books because those are the very things that are likely to get young people reading!

Reading should not involve guilt over what one has and has not read. Bechdel hits that nail on the head.
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