Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Stake Through the Heart Would Have Hurt Less

One of my summer school students finished her coursework early this summer. She puttered on the internet, but got bored of it.

I suggested that she could read-- I have a handful of novels that go with the English courses.

She scoffed, saying, "Who reads for fun?" I'm not sure if it was a serious comment, but it sure seemed like it.

Who does read for fun?

I love to read for fun. I read both fiction and non-fiction for fun. I've read articles on the internet and websites on poison ivy. I know I'm not alone.

But as a writer and an English teacher, it's always hard to find the students who don't consider reading to *be* fun. Though, I think a large part of the problem is that many of these kids have never really read anything that they enjoy. I mean, really enjoy. They've been forced to trudge through books in high school, and the idea of reading more like the ones they don't like can surely be a daunting task.

My Oldest Bother admits to having similar problems with finding fiction he wants to read.

Walk into a bookstore or library and while delightful to a bibliophile, it can be daunting nonetheless. I don't want to read bad books. No one does. But how hard is it to find what you want if you have particular preferences. Oldest Bother likes thrillers, action, something to keep him turning pages. I like hard female characters, preferrably in mysteries, and preferably without much romance. I do a lot of research to narrow down my list of potential books to a few at a time taht seem most closely matched to my requirements. Oldest Bother reads when it strikes him, and doesn't think about research.

And my student... she had already written of reading. In favor of anti-socail sites like My Space.

Hubby says I picked the wrong profession. High school kids aren't generally known for bright decisions. Hubby says I made it worse by picking an alternative high school where the percent of non-scholarly students is higher than the average high school.

I think I'm just a glutton for punishment. I am, afterall, a writer, too. Nothing says maschocist like pouring ones blood, sweat and tears into a manuscript or three, then sending it out for possible and likely rejection.

And maybe, just maybe, I can introduce the kids to Raymond Chandler or Elmore Leoanrd or James Cain and maybe, just maybe, they'll realize that it is possible to find interesting books.


Travis Erwin said...

I also read for fun and always have. And I can say i know a handful of current high school students that do the same.

pattinase (abbott) said...

My brother and father have never read a novel they weren't assigned. I can't help but think a few here and there would have enriched their lives. They say since the gas prices rode, people are reading more. We can only hope.