Thursday, February 17, 2011

"the sort of book that can ruin reading -- the very idea of reading"

Fred Clark:

So the older daughter is eligible for honors English next year. Bravo!

I respond with enthusiasm and what I hope comes across as encouragement without too much pressure.

"I'd have to do the summer reading."

"You like summer reading."

"Yeah, but there's like this 900-page book that she makes every class read."

"War and Peace?"


"The Brothers Karamazov?" (I suppose these guesses don't really count as "English" literature, but I'm thinking 900 pages has to be Russian.)

"No, it's like 'Fountain ...' or 'Fountainhead,' something like that."

And suddenly this conversation has taken an unwelcome turn. I like the idea of my daughter taking honors English. I do not like the idea of my daughter taking honors English from someone who regards The Fountainhead as worthwhile. I do not like the idea of her studying literature with a teacher who doesn't like literature and who seems intent on infecting students with her distaste for it.

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