Turning 30

I’m turning 30 in a little less than 6 months and so a friend of mine posted a link to this article: 30 Books You Should Read Before You’re 30 at The Huffington Post.

So how many have I read?  How many can I read between now and then?

  1. “The Dream of a Common Language,” by Adrienne Rich
  2. “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues,” by Tom Robbins
  3. “The Sun Also Rises,” by Ernest Hemingway -I started this book for a class in graduate school but never finished.  Maybe this time I will.
  4. “The Secret History,” by Donna Tartt
  5. “Anna Karenina,” by Leo Tolstoy
  6. “A Collection of Essays,” by George Orwell
  7. “Hamlet,” by William Shakespeare- Read and taught!
  8. “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay,” by Michael Chabon
  9. “Hateship Friendship Courtship Loveship Marriage,” by Alice Munro
  10. “Native Son,” by Richard Wright
  11. “Demon-Haunted World,” by Carl Sagan
  12. “Infinite Jest” by David Foster Wallace
  13. “The Unbearable Lightness of Being,” by Milan Kundera
  14. “Song of Solomon,” by Toni Morrison- Read in college.  Really like Morrison and she’s also an Ohio native from a nearby town!
  15. “Critique of Pure Reason,” by Immanuel Kant
  16. “Siddhartha,” by Hermann Hesse- Read in high school, I’m thinking 10th grade.  Loved it.  Have it on my kindle.
  17. “The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao,” by Junot Díaz
  18. “You Shall Know Our Velocity,” by Dave Eggers
  19. “How Should a Person Be?” by Sheila Heti
  20. “Leaves of Grass,” by Walt Whitman
  21. “Enormous Changes at the Last Minute,” by Grace Paley
  22. “Portrait of a Lady,” by Henry James
  23. “Slouching Towards Bethlehem,” by Joan Didion
  24. “Letters to a Young Contrarian,” by Christopher Hitchens
  25. “A People’s History of the United States,” by Howard Zinn
  26. “The Golden Notebook,” by Doris Lessing
  27. “Giovanni’s Room,” by James Baldwin
  28. “Autobiography of Malcolm X,” as told to Alex Haley
  29. “A Room of One’s Own,” by Virginia Woolf
  30. “Birds of America,” by Lorrie Moore

3/30 already read… Not great.  I’m going to start by picking three of the non-fiction choices on this list as I’d told myself I’d read three non-fiction books before thirty already.  Then, we’ll see what I can get through.

Thug Notes

I recently discovered the youtube videos of “Thug Notes” where a black man gives a summary and literary analysis of classic literature using current slang popular in the urban population- and to an extent suburbia as well.  I am pretty impressed with the content and analysis but am disappointed that there is some swearing and images that may be questioned in a school context.  Another issue that some students have brought up- I teach primarily in urban settings- is the idea that people seem to think their students will only pay attention if we find a “rap” to teach a concept or other pointedly black forms of expression.  Some of my students felt this was demeaning.  I in no way think that is the idea behind these techniques- rather, we, as teachers, are struggling to keep content relevant.  So what are your thoughts- do Thug Notes hit the right notes or are they in poor taste?