Culture Education US Politics

Readin’ and Such

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Tomorrow (well, three hours from now) is the first day with students in my classes, and, as is normally the case, we’re going to talk the first day about what we’ll be reading this year. Unfortunately, we aren’t going to be able to keep up with the President, as we’ll probably only get to one play in each of my classes, not ‘three Shakespeares’.

It’s unfortunate that the President doesn’t actually read the books he claims too. I was talking with one of my colleagues this afternoon about why literature matters to high school students, and she said that what resonated most with her as a high school student was the humanity in the stories. If bush had actually read Macbeth, Hamlet, the Stranger, even the biography of Roberto Clemente, would it be enough to change him? Might he learn an appreciation for a little nuance? As someone who loves and teaches literature, I’d like to think so, but I’m afraid a summary prepared by an aide just isn’t the same.

Part of Bush’s summer reading list is here.

Anyone know if there is a comic book version of The Stranger?

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a seventeen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

1 Comment

  • There is no way one can read Hamlet and not be changed a little. Just a little. Even if only from the attempt to decode the language and subtle references.

    What the ‘press’ sometimes miss when they discuss Bush and intellect is the change in the question from ‘intellect’ to ‘articulate’. I remember in humanities class that it was sometimes the least articulate student in class that came up with the most brilliant insights and correlations. That depth is missing in Bush, even if he could talk well. There is a shallowness and lack of insight and curiosity that does not come from people who read and pondered the books on this list.

    Why do they publish this list? I am assuming that it is some tradition started by a president that actually read books. I don’t understand why they want to insult our intelligence with this list. Just say that he tried to read a book but ended up falling asleep on the couch halfway through Rockstar:SuperNova.

    Here is my reading list from the summer:

    Cosmos – Carl Sagan

    Yep, and I didn’t even finish it yet. It is wildly fascinating but tends to put me to sleep. But I have caught every episode of Rockstar::SuperNova!

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