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Old 10-10-2011, 09:23 PM   #61
tamborine
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You're a lot better person than I...more power to you!
I was definitely NOT one of the cool kids.
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Old 10-10-2011, 09:41 PM   #62
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I don't know, our public transportation system from the burbs to the city just instituted two "quiet cars" on every rush hour run. It is absolute heaven, and most in those cars are reading. Now, there are 6 other cars on the train, containing readers here and there, and the rush hour trains are pretty much carrying professional adults.

On the other hand, I took my daugher to the dentist today. I was reading my book, and a lady came in with her son, and was reading a magazine and telling her son the fat content of candy corn. I looked, and he was as miserable as you would assume. Finally, she shut up and I was able to enjoy my book. At least my daughter is not embarrased when I whip out my kindle.
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Old 10-11-2011, 11:14 PM   #63
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Is it not?

Wow! All the readers I know are pretty cool. My 8 year old niece's school do regular reading mornings with the parents and kids sharing reading experiences, and she plows through a book a week and is still 'one of the cool chicks' at school.

Folk should stop worrying about what other people's opinions are and do what they enjoy - cool, geeky or nerdy. No wonder kids these days get so fecked up with all the labels society places upon people.

Love a fat, forty, female, nerdy geek with anger issues.
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Old 10-12-2011, 05:02 AM   #64
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Prolific cover-to-cover readers will always be a minority, but I think a lot of people are always reading something... just not necessarily fiction. Reading is just one of the least social mediums for storytelling. Video games, film, and television are much more social. Reading is done in one's "alone time" rather than in "fun time with friends", which means it will never be as mainstream compared to the other mediums. But it's still cool!
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Old 10-12-2011, 10:01 AM   #65
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Reading can be cool or uncool.
Reading is often (stereotypically) engaged in most voraciously by those kids who don't don't do the other more sterotypically cool stuff. They are reading when their friends are playing sports or dating, and reading is a substitute for other social interactions, and something that even the most shy and socially inept can excel at.
When those kids are seen reading, reading is percieved as uncool.

But when a more well rounded, or otherwise socially accepted person is seen reading, it's perceived as cool. The James Dean-like (or for my generation, the Luke Perry-like) characters--the brooding, leather-jacketed anti-heroes-- are often portrayed at well-read with a poet's soul.
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Old 10-12-2011, 07:09 PM   #66
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My mom was an elementary school teacher so I grew up in a house filled with books, and hanging out before and after school with other teacher's children in classrooms full of books. It never bothered me that reading wasn't "cool". In fact, I'd say by the time I was old enough to know what "cool" was, I loved reading and I knew what all the non-readers were missing

I'd also agree with those that couldn't stand a lot of required school reading. One year I participated in a book debate - I was so excited at the beginning, and then wound up loathing every book we read with the exception of Bridge to Terabithia (still love). After that painful experience I never participated in another. Honestly, if teachers require books that turn away kids who are already avid readers, what hope do they have to turn kids into readers?
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Old 10-13-2011, 08:02 AM   #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Apache View Post
I have loved to read all my life. I used to carry a book to school and read between bells for class to start. Then in High School they tried to force me to read A Scarlet Letter. I hated that book and never did finish it. I think that is the only book I never finished. I even loved to read my history books and would read them cover to cover in the first week. I still carry a book with me every where I go. If I am eating alone at a restaurant, I read while I eat. I would rather read than watch TV or Movies.
Apache
I started with comics, then those damn Barbara Cartland virgin novels and on to Johanna Lindsey, Star Trek novels and Dune. Shakespear was easy for me and Lord of the Flies upset me so much I was a mess for a week. My problem was not that I had to read boring stuff in school but that I finished in a few days when the class only did a chapter a day. I can't read a chapter a day and in some cases a chapter a week. Who can stay interested in something while reading so slowly?

I never cared what people thought about my constant reading when I was a kid , I don't care now.
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Old 10-13-2011, 08:13 AM   #68
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The key, which perhaps many schools are missing, is to tailor the reading assignment to the student. Just as we have many sub-forum threads here for various genres, reading programs should offer choices and be aware of preferences among successful readers. I try to read most all genres but prefer some over others. For beginning readers, the worst thing you can do is require them to read something they don't want to read when trying to launch their habits.

On the other hand, we (speaking for myself) should not limit ourselves to a single genre or viewpoint when reading books or news. Take a break and expand your horizons. As far as being "cool," remember what Bill Gates once told a high school graduating class at commencement: Be nice to nerds. You'll probably be working for one someday.
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Old 10-13-2011, 08:48 AM   #69
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Like many mentioned, reading most of the time is something we do by ourselves, whereas "cool" is something that's done in a social setting most of the time. (There are a few exceptions where loners are cool, but that usually happens when someone has a physical skill that's way better than everyone else's.)

The other part is also the way schools force you to read and over-analyze a book to a point that it makes no sense.
"Why did the writer make the protagonist eat an apple, and not a pear or a banana?" Because the apple signifies the fall of Adam? No, not really. He used an apple because an apple was the first damn fruit that came to his mind, or he was probably just munching on an apple at that time. If he just came back from a store and got a papaya, then he'd probably write that it was a papaya!

I -hated- trying to find some meaning in something that had no meaning. It really made me hate the books I read at school. And it's funny considering I was obsessed with reading from the age of 5. One of my favourite books as a kid was three musketeers. I first read it at the age of 6 or 7 and actually understood it (I also read it in Russian at first, and the translation was definitely made for adults, the language used was a lot more complicated/advanced compared to the original)... I would spend my time reading history and philosophy books in the evenings and love them, but at the same time, I was always behind on reading school material because I couldn't stand the over-analysing.

The funniest was in college, I almost failed my history of philosophy class because I was simply unable to read the book for the class, yet when I went home, I'd read another philosophy book that was way more detailed, and actually enjoyed it because I didn't have to look for all these meanings that aren't really there... and the only reason I passed is because I read my own book and understood the general history and knew about all the philosophers.

Like someone else mentioned, if they taught sex like that, made kids watch plenty of videos and make the kids over-analyze every single frame (what is the person feeling when they touch here, or there, what is this called, why is this shaped like this, etc.), they would probably need to be forced to have sex in the future, as every time they'd try to do it, they would just remember all the names of parts, and the reactions they're having, why, how, and so on to a point that they won't be able to enjoy it.

Last edited by ekster; 10-13-2011 at 08:51 AM.
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Old 10-13-2011, 09:11 AM   #70
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mldavis2, Schools attempt to expose children to a cross-section to hopefully find stuff that they like that they wouldn't have picked up otherwise. The book you dreaded reading is perhaps the same book that launched the kid in the next row on a life long love of reading. And they are apparently making reading, and many things, more interesting than when I was a kid. My kids come home singing about their spelling words...I HATED spelling.

ekster, yes sometimes an apple is just an apple, but oftentimes writers have reasons for choosing the words they choose, and learning to look for and appreciate those reasons is important. Be be open to the possibility that what you saw as "trying to find some meaning in something that had no meaning" was perhaps sometimes your own failing in not recognizing the meaning, and that that same lesson maybe made someone else in class appreciate the power of metaphor, or emotional import of word choice for the very first time.

Last edited by ApK; 10-13-2011 at 09:13 AM.
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Old 10-13-2011, 09:43 AM   #71
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I don't have a problem with metaphors or finding meaning in them. I know there are times that writers have very specific reasons to pick certain words/items/descriptions/etc.
But the way it was done is school, every single phrase was expected to have a meaning.
I cannot recall the book we read, but it was some coming of age story. The example with the apple above is real. That apple had no significance, it was a quick one liner. Had maybe all of 6 or 7 words dedicated to it. The character was hungry, so he munched on an apple while waiting. The way that was going, I could find a meaning in every single phrase (why were the walls beige? Why were there a few clouds in the sky? Why did the boy say hello to his neighbour? Why was it warm outside? Why did the door open inwards?) It can go on forever, and I think we can agree no writer is going to have a meaning in every single phrase.
I'm fine with finding a meaning when there is one, I'm fine with someone pointing out something that I missed and accepting it, but that was too much for me. The idea of metaphors was simply abused that time.
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Old 10-13-2011, 10:01 AM   #72
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I can't resist bringing in the Monty Python sex lesson here.



I think there is a problem with schools and lessons in general. As Wordsworth has it,
Quote:
Shades of the prison-house begin to close
Upon the growing Boy,
Probably most of us would rather not be at school at all when we're children. I always hated school, even though I was good at academic subjects. It was the lack of freedom and choice that I found objectionable and the dreariness of being taught in classes, where so often the pace was determined by what the majority could cope with.

But we do need to learn how to read and do maths and so on and most schools don't have the resources to give us the individual tuition that most of us could do with.

Now that school is long behind me, I'm grateful that I finally learned how to read. I could already read when I started school at the age of 5 and was always a voracious reader, but it wasn't until I was in the sixth form (grades 12 and 13) and more or less by chance doing A-level English literature that I learnt to read critically and with great attention to detail. In retrospect, that was one of the greatest gifts of my life.

I do think that most things can be taught so that they're fun (I used to be a maths teacher, so I know that can be hard work for the teacher, but is achievable), and I'm all for it. But one of the reasons for schools is so that we learn how to work, how to complete tasks we don't much like and, if we're lucky, how to make the most of whatever we are made to do. Those are useful lessons for life.

If schools impart to us a wide range of skills, we ought then to be able to build on at least some of them for future enjoyment.
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Old 10-13-2011, 10:17 AM   #73
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Originally Posted by ekster View Post
I don't have a problem with metaphors or finding meaning in them. I know there are times that writers have very specific reasons to pick certain words/items/descriptions/etc.
I am reminded of a lesson on Robert Frost's poem "Fire and Ice":

Quote:
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
The teacher wanted us to discuss, at great length, why Frost used the word "suffice." I said, "Because it rhymes with ice," but this was not an acceptable answer.
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Old 10-13-2011, 11:26 AM   #74
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C.S. Lewis has a great quote somewhere about how people are always reading meanings into his work that he never intended.
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Old 10-13-2011, 11:55 AM   #75
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Reading would be a lot "cooler" if there were more pictures like this one of Marilyn:
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