Saturday, August 29, 2009

Literary Newsday...

Saturday is newsday apparently... Lev Grossman - Time book critic and author of The Magicians and Codex - has an article in the Wall Street Journal arguing that the revolutions in literature are coming from the ranks of popular authors rather than trickling across the border from the avant garde. I don't necessarily agree with him on every point, but the overall thesis seems sound and well-argued. Well worth the read. Reading By the Numbers is a startling op/ed from the New York Times about the so-called "Renaissance Learning" software that assigns numerical values to books. Children in schools that use this software are required to read so many points' worth of books. The manner in which these points are assigned seems haphazard at best, for instance Hamlet is worth fewer points than the most recent Gossip Girl book. The whole thing is faintly appalling and hopefully the publicity can help get some things changed. If nothing else, the software designers really need to re-think how the frigging points are assigned because they seem to be missing the whole point of reading as a transformative experience rather than an exercise in cramming more words into our students' heads.

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Pages to Type is a blog about books, writing and literary culture (with the occasional digression into coffee and the care and feeding of giant robots).