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Old 07-19-2007, 09:55 PM   #16
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I'm so glad I'm old. When school let out for the year all the teachers told us was to not let the door hit us on the rear on the way out.
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Old 07-19-2007, 11:42 PM   #17
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That is beyond bizarre. In every English class I've ever taken, we were ALWAYS assigned actual literary works, not political diatribes by hacks.
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Old 07-19-2007, 11:47 PM   #18
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I'm still sort of suspecting the thing to end with "Ha, that was all a joke, there's no way I could write all of this with a straight face." It's that blatantly incorrect.

I still can't get over her essentially saying, "I'm not just bashing liberals. I'm also bashing republicans who aren't completely conservative."
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Old 07-22-2007, 04:15 AM   #19
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Maybe one day I'll read a conservative book (although hopefully it's notone of Laura Ingram's). All the stuff my teachers have assigned me has been extremely liberal. It's pretty one-sided.
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Old 07-28-2007, 06:29 PM   #20
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To update you all, it has continued to be one of the funniest books I've ever read. I mean honestly, I think her premise going in must have been, "Let me take all the most extreme examples, make them represent everything liberal, then take quotes out of context and make inferences about them that are completely out of nowhere." I mean, she devoted a good 10-15 pages on Michael Moore alone!

She still has yet to defend any conservative views in the entire book, just talking critcizing democrat's criticisms, without looking at the substance. If you doubt Bush, you are anti-American and are secretly looking to become ridiculously rich and powerful.
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Old 07-28-2007, 06:39 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by shart1780
All the stuff my teachers have assigned me has been extremely liberal. It's pretty one-sided.
How so?

Are you talking about literature such as 'To Kill a Mockingbird' or is it those pesky science books?
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Old 07-28-2007, 10:21 PM   #22
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As someone who took AP English and the later exam, it is my view that reading any book outside of the undeniable classics is a waste of time. Laura Ingraham certainly will not be given a place at the final exam.
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Old 07-28-2007, 10:29 PM   #23
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Originally posted by VertigoGal
I'm sure I've bitched about this before, but the required basic economics class for seniors at my high school has to read the Fair Tax Book. I live in the right wing infested suburbs of Atlanta. They don't read anything remotely equivalent from a liberal perspective and because it's a general prereq economics class the level of depth/interest isn't extraordinary. So, of course, most kids around here emerge from the class worhsipping Neal Boortz and plastering Fair Tax bumper stickers all over their Hummers.
I'll be honest: I hated my microeconomics course in college. The way it is taught, in my view, is that you're given a very cursory summary of economics, as imagined by the most kooky of Reagan-era supply-side economists. You'll probably be taught a bunch of things on the far-right wish list, such as ending the minimum wage.

For me, what bothered me about it more than anything was not being exposed to those points of view. I find value in learning that kind of stuff, even if I disagree with it. My problem was that these kinds of ideas were taught as the "gospel truth," with no room for debate.

Basically, for me, I ended up looking at this class as a lesson on what Republicans believe in. That's not to say that I didn't find any value in it, because my outlook on the world these days is often very economics-centered. However, the main difference is that I put people, integrity, and long-term growth first, and "corporate profits at any cost" last. Supply-siders probably put the latter first and how to gut government, so they don't pay any taxes ever again, second. To me, that's truly about as "amoral" as it gets.
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Old 07-29-2007, 12:37 AM   #24
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I just got back from vacation, and I halfway expected to see An Inconvient Truth in the hotel room instead of the Bible.

I wouldnt say reading Laura Ingram is so bad.
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Old 07-29-2007, 12:38 AM   #25
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Originally posted by 2861U2
I just got back from vacation, and I halfway expected to see An Inconvient Truth in the hotel room instead of the Bible.

I wouldnt say reading Laura Ingram is so bad.
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Old 07-29-2007, 12:39 AM   #26
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Originally posted by 2861U2
I wouldnt say reading Laura Ingram is so bad.
Well, if your goal is to read a reasonable take on American's current politics, it is. If it's for laughs at what extreme, blind conservatism brings, then it's fantastic.
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Old 08-09-2007, 04:21 PM   #27
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Not sure if this is really relevant to philly's summer reading assignment, but I thought it was interesting.
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High school reading lists get a modern makeover

By Amy Brittain
Christian Science Monitor, August 8


"It was the best of times; it was the worst of times." Charles Dickens's famous line in A Tale of Two Cities could be used to describe what is probably hitting home about now for millions of American high school students: Lazy summer days cut short by the frantic rush to finish required reading lists before school starts. "Most teens spend the summer doing whatever, and then cram the reading in during the last two weeks," says 2007 high school graduate Henry Qin of Boston.

Precious summer minutes spent poring over Shakespeare or Nathaniel Hawthorne may seem less than appealing to teens, but some experts say there is a slowly growing trend to infuse more modern literature into summer reading. As a result, the revered literary canon, which includes such classics as Hamlet, The Grapes of Wrath and The Scarlet Letter, may be due for a shake-up. Glance at high school summer reading lists across the United States and you are likely to find more recent authors such as Alice Sebold, Walter Dean Myers, and even Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong alongside Dickens and the Brontë sisters. "The natural evolution of these lists is that they expand and include voices that are underrepresented," says American Library Association (ALA) president Loriene Roy. "If you don't include authors like Amy Tan or Virginia Woolfe, what does that mean? A lot of discussions have come up over the last 20 years over what one needs to know. [The question is], 'Who do you bump off?' "

Summer reading lists vary widely. Some high schools require books and even give essay assignments to be completed by the first day of school. Mr. Qin of Boston still remembers his frenzied rush to finish Victor Hugo's Les Misérables before his high school freshman year. "I didn't understand why we were reading it," says Qin, who will be a freshman at Duke this fall. "Summer reading is a good thing if and only if there's a context for it. I don't like the idea of just handing us a list. If you say, 'Read these books,' tell us why." Other schools choose a more flexible model and present students a list with choices often recommended by local librarians. But what is clear: Cementing one's status on a required reading list is no easy feat, as librarians or summer reading committee members must argue to bump a classic for a book with undetermined longevity.

Practical concerns such as budget and time cause administrators to resist including recent young adult literature, or literature geared toward 12- to 18-year-olds, on required lists, says Beth Yoke, executive director of Young Adult Library Services Association, which is the fastest growing division of the ALA. But Ms. Yoke says she sees a trend to include more diverse literature in required reading. "Kids want books that they can identify with," she says. They want to see an African-American character, or a Muslim character, or a strong female character."

Yoke says that it often takes at least a generation for a new young adult book to make required lists. "If you're doing required reading in schools, you've got to buy a bazillion copies of these books and you have to have developed the lesson plans of all that supplementary material," she says by telephone. "Teachers have been teaching To Kill a Mockingbird forever and a day, and they don't want to have to develop all new materials." In addition, educators feel that classics still have important lessons to teach, even if they are from different time periods. Betsy Ginsburg, a librarian who edits a recommended reading list from the Houston Area Independent Schools Library Network, says a variety of summer reading is crucial for intellectual breadth. Schools, she says, should keep classics on lists since they frequently relate to students' curriculum and capture a time and place in history.

For the most part, reading lists are still heavy on classics. But consider the differences between reading lists from the 1960s and those in the 1980s. Of the nine most commonly taught books in public high schools in 1963, only one (the 1938 play Our Town) was written in the 20th century. By 1988, the 10 most commonly taught novels in public schools included four books from the 20th century: The Great Gatsby (1925), Of Mice and Men (1937), Lord of the Flies (1954), and To Kill a Mockingbird (1960).

But not all novels take a generation to catapult to required summer reading lists. Some new staples in summer reading lists: Life of Pi by Yann Martel, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, by Mark Haddon, Monster by Walter Dean Myer, and The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. "Ten years ago, these reading lists didn't have new books like that," says Alleen Nilsen, Arizona State University English professor and co-author of the textbook Literature for Today's Young Adult. "These are really popular new books."

So what catapults Life of Pi and The Lovely Bones to the elusive reading list club? Both are bildungsromans, or stories of young people coming of age. Ms. Nilsen says this theme is crucial for reading list inclusion, as youth need to feel a connection to the literature. J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye is an example of a long-lasting bildungsroman. The 1951 book was widely panned for its controversial subject matter, but it soon won the hearts of American teens. "That was a book done for adults, but kids loved that book," Nilsen says by telephone. "Every year there are like 10 books that get compared, and it's like, 'Oh, this is the new Catcher in the Rye. ' Of course, none of them ever are. But they're in that style – the flip, honest kid that's critical."

Nilsen says she understands why teens are frustrated with heavy assigned summer reading but says she's encouraged by the modernization trend. Her own granddaughter has chosen to read the young adult award-winner Monster rather than a difficult classic. "It used to be, no matter where you were in high school, you got this list of classics that the value was to talk about them with other people, not to read them yourself," she says. "We're taking this lesson from the [physical education] teachers. Rather than making kids do these things they hate, they're letting them choose what they want to do, so that when they're adults, they'll keep exercising. Summer reading is the perfect time if we want to get kids to read the rest of their lives without us sitting over their heads and telling them what to read. Let them ... just lose themselves in a good book."



What students are reading

High schools are updating their summer reading lists to include books focused on modern themes. Here's a sample pulled from high school websites across the nation.

University Heights, Ohio:
Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich
A Hand to Guide Me by Denzel Washington
Bad Boy: A Memoir by Walter Dean Myers
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass

Lexington, Ky.:
The Pearl by John Steinbeck
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

Torrance, Calif.:
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Night by Elie Wiesel
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Buffalo, N.Y.:
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Breathing Underwater by Alex Flinn
Bless Me Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom
Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Dallas:
Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver
Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama
Freakonomics by Steven Levitt

Atlanta:
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
Native Son by Richard Wright
A Bend in the River by V.S. Naipaul
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Old Bridge, N.J.
Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
It's Not About the Bike by Lance Armstrong
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
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Old 08-09-2007, 05:21 PM   #28
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In the past couple years my soon-to-be-a-junior sister has had to read Nickled and Dimed, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night, Obama's book, Orwell (can't remember if it was Animal Farm or 1984), and several contemporary non-fiction books about recent world events or other cultures. Orwell's pretty much the only classic I've seen her read, and not being around during the school year, I have to wonder if their "English" curriculum includes any old American or actual English literature at all.

When I was in high school the summer reading lists hadn't been updated in a decade and were full of old classics along with some crap. My school had a "choose 3 from this list, 1 from this list, 1 from this list" system though, so I got to read mostly decent stuff.

I'm shocked something as good as The Kite Runner or The Lovely Bones has already made reading lists, and stuff like a Denzel Washington book or crap like Angels and Demons (enjoyed it, but it ain't literature) is on those lists.
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Old 08-09-2007, 05:36 PM   #29
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I just looked on my high school's crappy website for the summer reading lists. Looks like they haven't changed the giant lists from which you must choose 2, but now require 2 distinct books for older grades (some new...12th graders and the senior year focus on world lit luck out with Kite Runner and Namesake) and for some reason the whole school has to read 96-page The Little Prince. So I guess they got a little more modern since I left the place, and apparently lax in that I never got to read a book that short.

Totally irrelevant side note I came across while googling some of these new-fangled high school book assignments - Lois Lowry wrote another Giver-world sequel? wow, maybe I should go spend a few hours in barnes and noble and read it.
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Old 08-09-2007, 06:32 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally posted by shart1780
All the stuff my teachers have assigned me has been extremely liberal. It's pretty one-sided.
Like what. Give us some titles.
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