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Author Topic: Show AND Tell: The Importance of a Happy Median  (Read 10158 times)
RimeScales
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« Reply #30 on: May 20, 2011, 06:06:47 PM »

Tis interesting to hear everyone's views.
I must agree with Quinn when he talks about dialog. A female char may have fine long legs, world class breasts and an ass that never quits, but to spell all that out in the first few lines of a story like it was all that mattered is booor-ring.
However. To have the female char discribed in a heated conversation between two primed male teens gives the prespective so much more 'oomf'. It gives the scene... heart so to speak, and it opens up your options as to what will happen next.

@Alflor: You hit the nail on the head when you mentioned classic books are forced down school kids throats just because they hold a concentrated dose of moral issue and values.
I personally couldn't stand Catcher In The Rye and that was one of the books I suffered through in school. A story about a demented and troubled teen in need of medical help. Who in the name of god is interested in that!
And to back myself up I'll reference the scene where the little darling go's to a hooker for closure. And that is just one example of many within those damnable pages.
Another author that has taken many by suprise is Darren Shan. Anyone heard of him? His books are adult themed and aimed at children and teens. Yet no one has said anything against them. They are crude and simply written. But against all odds, deeply satisfying. I believe he somehow perfected his writing style to include all the right details, while moving the plot along at a nice pace.
Not a pick of yammering bulk is to be found in his earliest works.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2011, 06:12:25 PM by RimeScales » Logged
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« Reply #31 on: May 21, 2011, 02:23:02 AM »

Oh god, catcher in the rye, tried reading it, it was like reading some whiny emo kid's diary.
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« Reply #32 on: May 21, 2011, 02:30:10 AM »

Yeah. But it's a hell of an improvement over the Newberry Award garbage we were forced to read in elementary and middle school. Now THAT was a waste of time-- no redeeming qualities whatsoever. At least Catcher is considered a classic. Stuff like The Diary of Anne Frank isn't even that.
There was one story I read in middle school, just one, that really caught my attention. It was called "Harrison Bergeron" by our friend Vonnegut. Now that story really hit in all the right places. In fact, with the whole twisted version of "No Child Left Behind", this is exactly where our society is heading. Unfortunately, stories like that don't often sneak by the Board of Ed.
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« Reply #33 on: May 21, 2011, 03:17:58 AM »

a short story we read from one of the big lit books was about an automated house that ran as it decayed, while all the humans had died from nuclear war, one of the few that stuck with me.
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« Reply #34 on: May 21, 2011, 10:29:51 AM »

There was one story I read in middle school, just one, that really caught my attention. It was called "Harrison Bergeron" by our friend Vonnegut. Now that story really hit in all the right places. In fact, with the whole twisted version of "No Child Left Behind", this is exactly where our society is heading. Unfortunately, stories like that don't often sneak by the Board of Ed.
Yikes. That sounds uncannily similar to the German educational system. They don't have any special or AP programs whatsoever because they're afraid of fostering "elitism". I'd say their one redeeming factor is that (at least) they're flexible. Persuade them long enough and they'll actually move stuff around to accomodate you, even if just off the record.

I'm curious - has anyone ever gone through James Thurber in high school? I stumbled onto his fables literally just the other day and I couldn't stop laughing. Masterwork of satire, as far as I'm concerned.
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« Reply #35 on: May 21, 2011, 12:04:23 PM »

The automated house that went on "caring for" its people after they were all dead is a story by Ray Bradbury, from The Martian Chronicles I'm pretty sure. The people had all died in the nuclear destruction that ended civilization on Earth, leaving only the Martian colony to carry on.

And yes, Reiter, we had some James Thurber in high school or junior high, mostly selections from The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

I guess I have to disagree with most of you about the award winners and classics that USED to be taught in the American schools. Those writers are excellent, and books of that sort are more than worthy of attention. I say they "used to be taught" because they aren't any more. The crap, what little of it that there is, that is used to teach reading today isn't worth the paper it's printed on. And that's largely due to the idiotic insistence on standardized tests and the whole "No Child Left Standing" nonsense.

Americans are losing the ability to read. It is no longer valued as it once was, no longer taught as seriously, and the number of adults who read anything for pleasure or entertainment has declined appallingly.

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« Reply #36 on: May 21, 2011, 11:11:24 PM »

Oh god, catcher in the rye, tried reading it, it was like reading some whiny emo kid's diary.

Kinda like Great Expectations.

Only the kid there is British.
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« Reply #37 on: May 22, 2011, 02:48:46 AM »

Altivo, I must disagree, the catcher in the rye is total crap.
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« Reply #38 on: May 22, 2011, 03:23:21 AM »

I don't think much of Salinger myself. But I was never asked to read that.
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« Reply #39 on: May 22, 2011, 04:11:07 AM »

I don't think much of Salinger myself. But I was never asked to read that.

I had to read Catcher in the Rye in 11th grade.  It was written mediocre-ly at best.  He tried to pull the whole "time skip" trick, but it wasn't delivered very well.  I remember chapters where I had no idea when and where he was at.  There also wasn't really much of a climax in the story.  It just ended after a fairly insignificant event.  Wasn't amused.
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« Reply #40 on: May 22, 2011, 05:26:29 AM »

Catcher had its moments for me, actually -- the part with the pimp beating the crap out of Holden made me giggle. What I didn't like was how weighted with symbolism that book was. Every action, unless interpreted symbolically, was just annoying and seemingly random. I don't like books like that. If you're gonna use symbolism, make sure it still makes a good story. It's like writing a poem where all the lines are completely random and its only saving grace is that it rhymes.

I talked to a guy
Without a pie
So let's deny
The gender fry
Untie the fly
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« Reply #41 on: May 22, 2011, 07:09:05 AM »

I tried to read catcher on my own, couldn't get past 5 pages. It's one of only a handful of books that I consider unreadable (The twilight series, due to bad fanfic level writing, holy blood, holy grail, it's too much of a slog, and catcher in the rye, whiny emo kid's diary.)
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« Reply #42 on: May 22, 2011, 11:45:56 AM »

I consider James Joyce unreadable. Salinger just isn't worth reading.

Hemingway is mostly distasteful to me for the subject matter he chose, which I think is often the problem with getting kids to read classics. For most boring I actually nominate Theodore Dreiser, but most of you probably didn't have to read him. I hit him in college. On the whole, though, I think the works I read in school were worthy choices for numerous reasons, and I don't share the resentment most of you seem to feel about them.
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« Reply #43 on: May 22, 2011, 08:10:11 PM »

a short story we read from one of the big lit books was about an automated house that ran as it decayed, while all the humans had died from nuclear war, one of the few that stuck with me.

'Tivo is right. The story is entitled "There Will Come Soft Rains." As a kid, I was a ravenous Bradbury reader. So many of his stories set standards in his time that have become cliches. "The Illustrated Man" is a great premise for a collection of short stories and was probably my favorite book. "The Veldt" was written about 1950, but is very important today; considering internet and artificial intelligence. The new releases of his books have updated forwards and comments. Those alone are great reads.

Outwardly, the thread seems to be drifting but it strikes me that all of the stories that are being berated are telling based and those that are being praised show heavily and the reader is encouraged to co-create. Hemingway's "The Old Man and the Sea" is almost exclusively telling. "The sail was patched with flour sacks and, furled, it looked like the flag of permanent defeat." Unfortunately, that's the only line that really impacted me...
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« Reply #44 on: May 22, 2011, 09:28:35 PM »

So Quinn, you're saying you needed a visit from Fleet's or at least a strong laxative after reading "The Old Man and the Sea"?  Grin

Ernest Hemingway was a Nobel Prize winner, of course, though probably that story wasn't what impressed the judges. I suspect that <i>For Whom the Bell Tolls</i> and <i>The Sun Also Rises</i> had more importance.

Frankly, I prefer Pearl S. Buck, Kristin Lavransdatter, or John Steinbeck over Mr. Hemingway in any case.
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