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Which novels would you recommend for adults whose reading skills lag?

 
 
plainoldme
 
  2  
Reply Wed 13 Apr, 2011 02:54 pm
@ossobuco,
If you think "lack of esteem" is correct, then you are missing my concerns.

I fear for a nation . . . make that a civilization . . . in which there are citizens who are not fully literate and who have no idea why centuries of human activity have put us into the political, economic and scientific situation we are in.

I want my students to develop better reading and writing skills so that they are not taken in by the commercial and political shills who would peddle a bill of goods. I want them to read with greater comprehension so that they understand science so that they can be good citizens. I want them to learn to argue so that they will not be taken in.

I do have grandchildren that will have to live in a world that these students -- and not just me -- are contributing to.

plainoldme
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Apr, 2011 03:10 pm
Not all novels that we remember fondly stand up the second time around.

When I taught ELL students at a suburban Boston high school, I thought a memoir I had read sometime in elementary school might interest them. It's Fifth Chinese Daughter by Jade Snow Wong.

I loved it because Jade Snow detailed the transition in her family between being Chinese and Chinese-American. I loved how she defeated her family's attempt to arrange a marriage for her with a rather dull young man. I loved that she went to college over her family's objections and, while she was in school, changed from a person totally uninterested in art to someone who became a professional potter.

Forty years later, the book didn't wear as well. Although I had several Asian students, they could not identify with someone who came of age during WWII.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  0  
Reply Wed 13 Apr, 2011 03:15 pm
@plainoldme,
That's the way it sounds, lack of esteem for them. I know you want them to have these skills and I do too.
plainoldme
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Apr, 2011 04:08 pm
@ossobuco,
Then, I have a criticism to make of you. i consider it impossible to misconstrue my words that badly.

If you were correct in your wild assumptions, I would have quit before the first semester lapsed.

ossobuco
 
  0  
Reply Wed 13 Apr, 2011 05:41 pm
@plainoldme,
Do you? reread yourself. Your disgust is clear.

Not all of us matured in a timely manner re world literature, and very many of us didn't know of, or, if we did, cared a kumquat about restoration in England. This is the world wide web here.

I'm interested in your students, would like to hear more about them.
plainoldme
 
  3  
Reply Wed 13 Apr, 2011 07:17 pm
@ossobuco,
Since you have a long standing knowledge of me drawn from our years of intimate conversations together when I bared my soul to you, I just guess I have to say that you are right. You are always right. I am such a beknighted person that I don't know my mind. How could I be so ignorant? Now, you can recommend Nineteen Eighty-four.
plainoldme
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Apr, 2011 07:27 pm
I'm trying to put together a list that fills two sides of a single sheet of paper: one for older titles and the reverse for newer books. I've been talking with several different groups. In fact, the head of the ELL division wants me to make a copy for her because no one has done this before. Question

I have put a few titles on the list that I might eliminate because I think the books are too long or the 19th C language is too difficult to read.

Here is where it is at to date:


OLDER TITLES:
The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
The Apple Tree by Daphne Du Maurier (stories)
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury (stories)
Foundation by Isaac Isimov

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Call of the Wild by Jack London
White Fang by Jack London

The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White

Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey

Mama’s Bank Account by Kathryn Forbes
These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maude Montgomery
Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank Gilbreth and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey


Travels with Charley in Search of America by John Steinbeck
Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon
ossobuco
 
  -1  
Reply Wed 13 Apr, 2011 07:39 pm
@plainoldme,
You are spraying at me.
I somewhat respect you.
I don't like it and never have when you make fun of people re their presence, or when you are there as some kind of savior for them and making fun at the same time.
Looks have for a long time seemed to matter to you. That was my first gripe, your concerns about looks.
People of different opinions get to be evil, it seems.
I'm not always right. But you tend to blast on a2k and some of us should speak up.
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Apr, 2011 08:11 pm
@plainoldme,
Quote:
I personally have a hard time with detective and spy fiction as well as mysteries. I just can't get into them. However, that won't keep me from recommending a few.

Accessible, exciting, and easy to follow: Walter Mosely's Easy Rawlins crime novels.

Blonde Faith
Cinnamon Kiss
Little Scarlet
Six Easy Pieces
Bad Boy Brawly Brown
A Little Yellow Dog -
Black Betty
Gone Fishin’
White Butterfly
A Red Death
Devil in a Blue Dress Starts with this one.
ossobuco
 
  -1  
Reply Wed 13 Apr, 2011 08:18 pm
@tsarstepan,
I've read a bunch of those. Nothing I'd argue with, and possibly good for this class.

But wait, plainoldme will not be interested as they are thrillers.

I have a thriller I've kept for a while, written by a turk in germany. Nicely terse.
But, well, never mind.
0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Apr, 2011 08:33 pm
@plainoldme,
I absolutely love Michael Chabon and Nathan Englander. From Englander, I read his short story collection, For the Relief of Unbearable Urges, and his Kafkaesque/dysutopic novel The Ministry of Special Cases.

Recently, I read Chabon's The Yiddish Policemen's Union and his oddly titled novella The Final Solution.

Both authors (at least with these reads) deal with different onion layers of the Jewish universe. The Yiddish Policemen's Union was the most recent work of fiction to finegle its way onto my top favorite works of fiction. The first addition to the list in 3 years. Great murder mystery with a keen sense of humor.

However, I can't recommend these books to your students. Heck, TYPU is a fictional work of alternative history. I wouldn't want someone who's lack of historical knowledge be confused with this what if novel.

One needs a modicum of knowledge of Jewish history and culture pre and postWWII to understand both writers' works. Both writers dive miles deep into the ocean of identity (religious and otherwise) and both tackle the inconsistencies of organized religion.
msolga
 
  3  
Reply Wed 13 Apr, 2011 08:40 pm
@plainoldme,
Just a thought, POM.
Would it be helpful to your students if they could listen to an audio recording & read the book at the same time? (I realize that not all books would be available on audio, or that this could get expensive.)
I used to love listening to Shakespeare's plays with the whole class, while reading the text at the same time in senior high school Literature.
It made some of the more obscure bits a lot more accessible, too.
plainoldme
 
  0  
Reply Wed 13 Apr, 2011 08:57 pm
@ossobuco,
You are so wrong. You follow me around just to criticize me. Some of us should speak up? Well, perhaps, it should be me. I am sick to death of your stalking.

I have no idea where you got this business about my concern with looks. You can't document it, you can't explain it, because it is a product of your imagination.

When I offered you a plausible explanation, you rejected it.

I never attack anyone who does not attack me first. I have been ignoring you but you just seem to keep coming at me with your petty concerns and your overwrought imagination.
plainoldme
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Apr, 2011 09:01 pm
@tsarstepan,
I only know Mosely from the movie version of Devil with a Blue Dress, which Don Cheadle from Denzel Washington and from a recent interview.

Which Mosely book do you like best?
0 Replies
 
plainoldme
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Apr, 2011 09:05 pm
@tsarstepan,
That's a lot of great info. What about Chaim Potok's books? After my youngest gave up listening to books at 12, he went into an anti-reading phase. Fortunately, he would read his assigned books. I remember he was angry with one of Potok's books, which may have been My Name is Asher Lev, because it was too interesting. He complained that he couldn't put it down.
plainoldme
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Apr, 2011 09:13 pm
@msolga,
Last semester, when Henry V was one of the choices, I advised them to watch both the Olivier and Branaugh versions. Ditto Twelfth Night. There's one directed by Trevor Nunn and another staged by Branaugh for British television. Richard Briers is in the television version. The man can play anything.

I love watching two or three versions of Shakespeare's plays. It is amazing to see what the actors and directors do with the characters. In fact, that's what I did last summer.

0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Apr, 2011 09:14 pm
@plainoldme,
I read the first three books: Devil in a Blue Dress, A Red Death, and White Butterfly. But I can't remember if I read Black Betty. All of them are great but if you had to choose one, might as well as go with the first book. Its a post WWII LA that somehow didn't get translated exactly by the film.

Can't say I have ever heard of Chaim Potok before.



0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Apr, 2011 09:15 pm
@plainoldme,
I'd never stalk you, are you kidding? I do read a lot of a2k threads.
I will post on your threads if I feel like doing that.

Meantime, I did find that novel about an investigator in germany who was turkish.

For those who might be interested -
http://www.amazon.com/Happy-Birthday-Melville-International-Crime/dp/1935554204/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1302750108&sr=1-7

It's a rather quiet and rather short book. I'd recommend it, but I'm not sure, re your students, pom. My memory is that it would be an excellent choice, but I don't trust myself on that.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Apr, 2011 09:28 pm
@plainoldme,
Your concern overlooks what was posted on abuzz, the crones stuff, and here on a2k.
I probably could document it, but have no interest.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Apr, 2011 06:05 pm
@plainoldme,
The Good Earth
 

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