Let's Talk Bookish

Let’s Talk Bookish – Required Reading

Welcome to my Let’s Talk Bookish post. Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, created and hosted by Rukky @eternitybooks, where we discuss chosen topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

I haven’t done one of these in forever and honestly I’m so far behind that at this point I’m going to just continue to pick the topics that interest me until I complete them all and/or catch up.

This topic is talking about if required reading is a curse or a blessing. I swear that I already wrote this post, but maybe I just thought about it a lot because I can’t find it.

I personally feel like required reading is a double edged sword. I see the pros in required reading, but I also see the cons.

The Pros of required readings

**** It expands your horizons.

As narrow as a lot of required reading tends to be there have been some books that I was required to read that I probably wouldn’t have on my own that opened me up to new genres/stories. In my sophomore year of high school we had to read Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko. It was a book about a native american man who is struggling through some stuff. It was written in a style I wasn’t use to, but one I enjoyed way more than I thought I would. Same with in my senior year when I read The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien, which is a book about a group of soldiers. I never would have read them on my own, but after I read them I was so glad that I did. Sometimes it’s nice to have your reading choices challenged.

**** Vocabulary/analysis building

I’m not sure if this has changed in recent years (I doubt it), but most books are written at a 5th grade reading level. That’s great because that means they’re easy to understand and enjoy. However, they’re not very helpful in building your vocabulary which some might not care about, but I think is at least a bit important. Also, some popular books aren’t that great when talking about literary analysis or larger conversations. Some, are, but I think a lot of required reading is chosen because they have a lot of meat on them that allows for lots of discussion and/or analysis. This is awesome because it builds are critical thinking and reasoning skills which I think would should all keep nice and sharp as we make our way through our lives.

The Cons of Required Readings

*** A Colonizer Bias

Many people have been talking about colonization and how it has affected our daily lives and also our education. Most required reading lets be honest are written by old, dead white guys or occasionally a white woman. Specifically when you’re talking about the classics. Shakespeare, Dickens, Thoreau, etc. It’s so Eurocentic it’s sad. I think those men did have interesting stories to tell, but I also believe that there are authors from other parts of the world who have just as valid of a contribution to make to the literary world. On the other hand, I think if we had more diverse required reading (and some schools do) I think it would be more valuable to education and literary discussion.

**** Building a dislike of reading

I think one of the greatest flaws of required reading is that it can leave a bad taste in people’s mouths about reading. If the only reading you do is required reading and you don’t enjoy what you’re reading I believe you start to think that all books aren’t for you. I remember hating Shakespeare and dreading the fact that I knew every year we would read another one of his plays. It didn’t stop me from loving to read, but it did make me enjoy my english class less. I think choice can be very powerful in creating a love of reading and I’m sad that so much time in classes can be taken up by a topic that no student even enjoys.


Well, those are my thoughts. They’re all over the place, but since I have such mixed feelings, but also am old enough that I no longer have required reading I’m probably not going to get more on point with my feelings. I’d love to read your thoughts on required required! What do you think? Good, bad, or somewhere in-between?

Let's Talk Bookish

Let’s Talk Bookish: Banning Books

I’ve been missing a lot of these book discussions recently, but I hoping to get back into. There are some really great topics that I’ve missed that I’ll be trying to post of later in the upcoming weeks.

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, created and hosted by Rukky @eternitybooks, where we discuss chosen topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

This week’s question: Banning books, a bookish sin or a reasonable act?

This was an easy answer for me I think it’s a terrible thing to do. I must admit I haven’t put a ton of research into this subject so there many be aspects of this debate that I’m missing, but banning books it’s just not something that happens at schools, but is something that happens at prisons and other places as well. It is form of censorship that I think is truly controlling in a way I don’t support.

What is the purpose of a book?

Obviously there are many answers to that question and it would depend on who you ask as to what answer you would get. However, I would say that in general a couple answers are agreed upon especially in the larger community.

  1. Entertainment: Fiction books especially are a large source of entertainment for people. Banning that form of entertainment would be like banning shows like Game of Thrones, Scandal, Stranger Things, etc. Shows that might be a little bit more “adult” , but that students of certain ages have definitely watched. Parents are able to allow or deny access to that material to their children. I believe it should be the same for books if we are talking about banning books from schools. Parents should have the ability to allow or deny certain access to books. Not all parents agree on what is appropriate or not and having an outside source decide for you is something most people don’t appreciate.
  2. Broadening your horizons: Whether reading fiction or nonfiction one reason authors write and why readers read is to get new information and experiences. By banning books people are censuring not only the books themselves, but thoughts, ideas, and possibilities. That to me is a very dangerous thing to do.

Schools

Most schools ban books when requested by parents. I believed those requests are mainly based on complaints about language or sexual explicit content. While I believe parents should have a large say in their child’s education I don’t believe it is appropriate to try and get a book completely banned from school because I can guarantee that not all parents will agree. If the parent is truly that concerned then they should be looking over the books their children are reading. If they are not willing to put in that level of commitment than I don’t think they have much of a leg to stand on when trying to force a school to get rid of a book. I know parents are busy and that is a lot to expect, but truly every parent has different standards on what is appropriate and expecting a school to agree with everyone parent is silly.

Prisons

So, I actually spent some time looking into this subject a bit and its utterly ridiculously. There truly seems to be no rhyme or reason to these bans and it seems to vary from state to state. Alabama has banned art books about African art as well as anatomy drawing. There’s also world travel guides that have been banned. California seems to mainly sticking to banning pornography though if you look they also are banning books on the black panther party and alternative religious practice outside of Christianity. You look at Florida’s list and it doesn’t make sense with some issues of magazines like Popular Science being approved while others were rejected. If you’re curious about which books are banned where you can look here. There’s no good way to look up certain books, but most lists are alphabetized.

The Final Stance

From what I’ve seen through just a very brief exploration of this topic my feelings remain the same. While there might be some books that people might not generally argue with being banned (anything with sexual content probably). I think banning those books makes it easier to slip in books that might challenge the status quo like Harry Potter. Harry Potter is be usually requested to be banned because people think it encourages children to practice witchcraft which generally not something conservative christian groups appreciate. You also have books banned in prisons that are about the problems with our current prison system. That is a very intentional removal of knowledge and information.

So, I don’t approve of any censuring of books. You as an adult or parents have the responsibility to choose what you read. You don’t have to agree with it or like it or encourage people to read it, but neither would I say you have the right to take that ability away from anyone else.

Uncategorized, wonder wednesday

Wonder Wednesday: Life Changing Books

Hello everyone, welcome to Wonder Wednesday! I hope you’re all staying nice and toasty in this very cold winter. Today I’d like to talk about life changing books. Now, perhaps life changing may seem like an extreme, but as a lover of books I feel like there are many books that have had a very powerful effect on me. Books have the power to make us question our assumptions, bias, and encourage us to consider ideas maybe we haven’t thought about before.

Do you have a book that you feel like has been life changing for you? How has it changed your perspective or affected you?

Do you feel like books have the power to create a deeper understanding for something in people or are they just for fun?


I’d love to hear your thoughts! Please feel free to comment below!

wonder wednesday

Wonder Wednesday

Welcome to Wonder Wednesday! This idea came into being when I was wondering how to interact more with all of you. I’m a bit more an introvert so I thought the best way to get to talk with you all was to dedicate a post a week to a question for us all to discuss if you’re interested. These questions will usually be related in some way to books, reading, or writing since that’s what we’re all here for.

My first wonder is, what is your favorite fantasy book or book series? And what do you enjoy about it? Is it the characters? The plot? The wonderful world that you just want to be a part of?

I personally have a really hard time with this question, because I have lots of books I have enjoyed reading. I would say right now though that it is The Others series by Anne Bishop. It’s five books long. I love the characters, plot, and the world though based on ours is fascinating. Has anyone read this series? I look forward to hearing from you!