11 February 2014

Today we discussed Neil Gaiman’s article from The Guardian: Why Our Future Depends on Libraries, Reading, and Daydreaming.

We talked about his idea of fiction as the “gateway drug” of reading, that fiction creates empathy, and a little about how this article connects to F451 and why it might be a decent bridge between our dystopia unit and the poetry unit (e.g. Gaiman, like Bradbury, suggests implicitly that reading is a kind of dystopia vaccine. Preventative medicine).

But we didn’t get to talk about his Twelve Obligations. I’m pulling them out here for your reference, if you’re interested. I’d be happy to talk about these more. I think they’re powerful and important obligations that we all have–perhaps writers and teachers and librarians most of all.


4 thoughts on “11 February 2014

  1. I thought that what he said about their being “bad books” for children was wrong. I didn’t find a love of reading until I began the twilight series. Looking back on all of them now I can understand how they might be considered bad literature but as a 6th grader I thought they were the best things I had ever read in my life. I spent more time reading then I used to because the story was so interesting to me. After reading those books I then went looking for more books like it which then pushed me to have a love for reading. I think that once you get older you can understand what a “bad book” is but as a child no book is really bad, as long as they’re reading something then that book is good for them.

  2. I was absent on Friday.. But here is what I had to say about the text: I noticed that after the ‘closeness’ section, he tied closeness with belief. He wrote, “The person who gets close enough to poetry… Is going to know more about the word belief than anybody else knows, even in religion nowadays. ” And the three beliefs he listed were, self-belief, relationship belief, and literary belief. Then he connects all of them by saying that they are all closely related to God-belief… You enter into Him to bring about the future. I think I get this part, he is saying that you need to get close to poetry in order to get its message and understand it. And I completely agree with him but going back to ‘closeness’, he confuses me, or rather I’m not convinced, just because you read or write poetry, does it mean that you understand the metaphors you are reading about, or using? I don’t think you always do, especially in literature terms.

    I agree with Neil Gaiman, I think pleasure reading is the first step toward any reading as most of my classmates were saying. Once you start reading for pleasure, you get used to taking in the information and understanding it. You get to understand the overall message because it usually has a story, that is interesting, like wizards, myths and other cool stuffs/elements. They are just captivating and the plot is easy to follow. and I think that it’s a gateway to others because you might get bored with a specific pattern. So you might try something new because you love taking information in your mind and picturing it. For example, I used to love fantasy but now I every time I pick up a fantasy, I read a witch, a wizard, evil, and I get bored because I know who is gonna do what. But now I like dystopia books and those are not really children books. They have plots that are thicker and they tend to use bigger words. When I read and don’t understand a word, I sometimes look it up and I have found those words used in different writings. So I’m able to understand different subjects of writing.

  3. I totally agree with Neil Gaiman’s argument for letting kids read what they want to read. If you force kids to read books that adults think are “classics” and make them talk about what they learned it could make them lose their interest in reading which is probably the worst thing that could happen to a young reader.

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