Friday, January 02, 2009

A new year two-fer -- now Adam Gopnik

Lately, when I read the New Yorker, I find myself enjoying another of Adam Gopnik's essays. For example, this new one aobut Samuel Johnson "Man of Fetters" which I liked almost as much as his essay on John Stuart Mill which was great.

Apparently Gopnik is so well known that a whole blog about him is available. On the other hand, not everyone is a fan. James Wolcott is less excited. Maybe he's jealous? Or am I just too swayed by Gopnik's prose.

More later.

Welcome 2009 - Books miscellany

Welcome 2009. I was afraid that my blog wouldn't let me back in, after all this time. So here are some items I have been reading this afternoon.

My Google news alert for books brings me: "Reading Serious Books Challenges Your Thinking."
by Mwenda wa Micheni from the African Business Daily which asks a key question:
Do our leaders have time to read serious literature; literature that engages the mind and offers direction? What literature do they read if they do at all, empty pulp literature?
I think we know the answer regarding Obama, Bush, and Palin. But for myself, I know I'm not reading enough books. Mostly articles and student papers. When invited to join "good reads" I feel very much the fifth wheel, as I have nothing to contribute.

On the other hand, from the UK, we have this:
"Poor teachers fuelling 'loathing of books' by Graeme Paton:
The poor teaching of English in schools is leading to a "loathing of books" among children, according to" novelist Susan Hill, author of The Woman in Black, Strange Meeting and I'm the King of the Castle. Hill claims to be "flooded with "desperate" emails from pupils struggling to understand her novels because they aretaught "so badly, so dully and so mechanically" that many children were being turned off literature altogether.
I'm wondering how applicable this is to the US? Is it always the teacher's fault? What about No Child Left Behind?