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.


Collin Kelley said...

I read Fear of Flying in the summer between sixth and seventh grade. I had no reading boundaries.

Becky C. said...

I could go on an on about this. My parents let me read anything I wanted. But I went to Catholic Schools. All they had to was ban a book or movie--and the girls would rush to get their hands on it. I never did--because I had learned that just because something is banned does not make it any good.


Kate Evans said...

6th grade Collin? You gay men and your libidos, ha ha. :)

Becky, I could only hope one my books would get "banned" by some entity--banning equals sales!