I have come to the conclusion, as a result of having spent many years in public schools, that one of the main reasons that kids of my generation don’t read is because they are only introduced to crappy books/literature by school teachers throughout their lives.
As a result, by the time you reach high school, the average reading level is probably somewhere around 5th or 6th grade (at least in most schools). Of course, if I’m remembering correctly, newspapers are written at a 4th grade reading level. Hmm.
I remember in my 11th grade Honors English class, we had kids in there who could barely sound out 2 syllable words- let alone try to understand “The Crucible.” Don’t even get me started on “The Great Gatsby.” Gag me with a stick. I mean, really. If I wanted to read about nothing, I’d read my textbook. *rolls eyes*
Of course, that was then and this is now. I actually read my textbooks now.
The other issue then was when we actually read something worthwhile, we’d take so much bloody time going about it that I’d read it and then get it done so early that I’d forget all the details and do shitty on the quizzes.
I’m in a stats class right now. Plus, since I got my undergrad in music education, I’ve had a number of edu classes. I know that teachers are supposed to teach to the bell curve–the mass in the middle and the outliers be damned. Well, I’m not that much of an outlier; not when you compare me with the brighter members of the world’s population. However, compared to those that I went to school with, I was a veritable genius — at least in some areas. No, see what made me a “nerd” wasn’t that I understood what was going on, but rather that I was interested in trying to understand what was going on.
BTW, for your information, I don’t classify myself as a nerd. I’m a geek. There is a difference.
The bell curve is the majority — also known as the “average.” I am very rarely average. Sometimes I am above average. Sometimes I am below average. But right in the middle? Not so much. It’s even harder when the average is sub-normal. *rolls eyes*
So what I thought I’d do here is to suggest some books that are good to read; not because they are “classics” (whatever the hell that means), but because they are easy to digest — at least initially. Going on with the digestive metaphor, the books that I’m suggesting here are listed because they have taste. I mean, who cares what rich people did back in the early 20th century? Who gives a damn about wolf pee? I really don’t give two shits about the Puritans, to tell you the truth. I know who they are. It’s been pounded into my head year after blessed year. I don’t want to have to read a novel about them; especially if it was written in their style of language!
Probably the best book we ever read was “The Grapes of Wrath,” and really, on the evolutionary scale, that only rates about 4.5 as far as interesting reads go when you’re a teenager/youth-type. And besides, we didn’t read it until the 11th grade, in my AP US History class. That’s a very narrow chasm of folks, you know.
Just because everyone else has to read that crap doesn’t mean that they should force every generation afterwards to read it too. That’s just like I was telling people on the comments board in relation to Alex Barton; just because you were treated like crap doesn’t mean that other people deserve the same treatment.
Okay now, in no particular order:
- “Way Past Cool.” It’s probably on some school’s banned list. Screw ’em. Of course, what some people don’t know is that actual legit “classics” find their way onto banned book lists as well. *coughsToKillAMockingbirdcoughs*
- “Ender’s Shadow” – by Orson Scott Card – Bean is Ender’s Shadow. He is like the quintessential aspie. Read it and you’ll see what I mean.
- “The Power of One” – by Bryce Courtenay – one of my top 10 favorite books since I was was 16.
- “Whale Talk” – by Chris Crutcher (another banned author) – One of my top three rotating favorites.
- “Leaping to the Stars” – Book 3 in the series by David Gerrold
- “A Wizard Alone” – Book 6 in the “So You Want To Be A Wizard” series by Diane Duane. BTW, one of the main characters in this book has autism.
- “The Ear, The Eye, and The Arm” – by Nancy Farmer – a favorite since I was 11. I’ve actually had to repurchase this book, because the original fell apart.
- “It” by Stephen King. I used to not want to read Stephen King because he was a “popular” writer. Unlike some “popular” writers, however, he is actually original and innovative every time he writes something. Woah.
- “Orbital Resonance” by John Barnes
- “Mother of Storms” by John Barnes
- “My Teacher Flunked the Planet” by Bruce Coville.
- “The Night of the Twisters” – Ivy Ruckman
- “Maniac Magee” by Jerry Spinelli
- “The Swiftly Tilting Planet” – Madeline L’Engle
- “We All Fall Down” – Robert Cormier
- “Starship Troopers” – Robert Heinlein
- “Return to Camerein” by Rick Shelley
So I got a little lazy and stopped linking to their synopses. Oops. Oh well.
~ by lastcrazyhorn on June 15, 2008.
Posted in aspies, autism, concentration, education, fun, literature, research, social justice, special interests
Tags: banned books, bruce coville, chris crutcher, crappy education, diane duane, ender's shadow, heinlein, ivy ruckman, jerry spinelli, john barnes, leaping to the stars, madeline l"engle, nancy farmer, orson scott card, power of one, return to camerein, robert cormier, stephen king, way past cool, we all fall down