Wednesday, October 23, 2013

October 23. Day 296. Reading between the lines

Someone needs to address those official forms which ask you to nominate languages spoken at home. Nowhere is the ability to tick the box that corresponds to the language used most often in our home: Whinge.
The official dialogue I am most proficient in right now is the Teen Whinge characterised by grunts, mumbles and profanity.
As such when it was announced that the novel set for English "totally sucked" I took on the information with not only a grain of salt but with the whole salt mine.
So to prove him wrong I decided to read the book and guess what? It totally sucked.
Really, I should not have been surprised. I'm pretty sure there is a whole industry in writing "important", "worthy" and intellectually boring books that are designed to be analysed and not enjoyed.
It is almost as though being a good read automatically disqualifies a book for reading in school (and also win an award where lack of popularity seems to be a criteria, especially in reading material for young people).
These books are designed to be pulled apart and broken down in essays that involve words such as analyse, compare and contrast.
They are not designed to be loved and shared. The don't become dog-eared through repeated reading. Corners are turned down to mark pages with "important" quotes that will make awesome supporting evidence in the persuasive essay. There two books that I can quote large chunks from.
The first is I Heard the Owl Call my Name. Year 10 English. "Past the village flowed the river, like time, like life itself, waiting for the swimmer to come again on his way to the climax of his adventurous life, and to the end for which he had been made. Wa Laum. That is all."
I can not remember anything of the content of Margaret Craven's book but that illustrated something "important" that I needed to learn by rote for an essay. Yep, that's how to foster a love of reading (not).
The other book is Hairy  Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy.
"Out of the gate and off for a walk went Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy". That I know from reading over and over again. My son loved that book and it had a rhythm and pace that demanded to be read out loud. Repeatedly. It was a book that you could get into.
It it my belief that this is what this artwork I came across in the Visual Design  Studios at work today is about. But it may not be and I don't care because I reckon that art like books really should be about enjoyment not analysis. Others can write an essay and if I choose to take notice of them at all it will be with more than a grain of salt.


  1. I'm with you on this one. I hated English Literature at school, but was a complete bookworm at home. I've never understood why English Literature is one of those subjects you can't drop. I'm a big fan of enjoying books and not analysing them.

  2. Brilliant artwork and I do understand where you are coming from although I soon learnt to analyse and say what they wanted me to say about books - even if I didn't believe what I was saying!

  3. great piece of artwork and an interesting read. i always enjoyed english literature but i do agree with you that some of the books i had to study were not the best books to read x

  4. I used to hate and detest the way that the books we had in English Literature had to be pulled apart so much.

    Thanks for linking up to Project 365.