Fidra books

shop.jpgThere are a couple of recent posts on Fidra books that may be of interest to any EduBuzz or Edinburgh based readers. 

The childrens’ writer  Steve Augarde  is visiting the shop  “on Thursday 8th May at 7.30pm to talk about the joys and problems of writing for children and young adults and to give plenty of practical advice on how to get your work in front of an agent or a publisher”.  

Vanessa has also written a post about Harry Potter appearing on the A level reading list.  Harry Potter?  A level?  I don’t like to get snobby about books, as I read anything with words on that sits still for long enough – newsletters, noticeboards, cereal packets, Enid Blyton, Tolstoy, whatever.  The only book I remember failing on in recent years was something by Martin Amis which I just couldn’t hack.  I fully admit that I loved reading the Harry Potter books – they’re good stories.  But I’m afraid I don’t rate them as challenging literature, if that makes sense.  Re-reading the Fidra post, though, perhaps it’s the good story element that warrants inclusion.   I was quite surprised recently to hear that a friend’s son is reading a John Grisham novel for Higher English; this is someone else whose books I’ll read as a quick page turner but I wouldn’t rate beyond that.  I wouldn’t want to have to read them twice, although they do make good films.    

Perhaps I am just a book snob after all, and haven’t moved on since my own school days.   I fully admit that I don’t really know what the requirements and expectations are these days for A levels (or Highers), English or otherwise, and it is oh so easy to make sweeping statements from the comfortable pedestal of ignorance.  I didn’t even do English beyond O level – and O levels must surely date me.  I really wouldn’t like to think that students today were only studying Chaucer, Shakespeare, Lawrence, Eliot as there is so much good, well written, challenging story-telling about in recent literature.  I would hate to think that syllabuses and expectations hadn’t moved on since I was at school so perhaps Harry Potter and John Grisham do have a rightful place on the syllabus.  Just don’t tell me that Dick Francis is on the list as well.    

Oh help, I’m at serious risk of expressing opinions on things about which I really know very little.   I should just stick to harmless anecdotes and shut up.   But do visit the Fidra blog.

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6 thoughts on “Fidra books

  1. I remember my daughter doing Memoires of a Geisha for her Higher English and being torn thinking it was a bit “lightweight” but her teacher encouraged her and she did well….I read Great Expectations for my O Grade all those years ago and loved it despite myself – and did well in the exam. I wonder about the correlation – loving the book certainly helped me focus.

    Interesting post – looking forward to reading other comments!

    Jackie

  2. Perhaps after all the most important thing is enjoying the book, whatever it is. There’s nothing more demotivating than having to study something you have no interest in.

  3. Until I had to read Great Expectations for O grade I couldn’t understand how people could actually not do their reading homework (not, not actually do it, which is obviously easy, but try and still not be able to do it). It was almost physically boring, agony, torture – the only way I could stay awake at all and force myself to drag my eyes over the words was to eat at the same time. When the food ran out, I had to stop, mid chapter, mid paragraph, mid sentence – mid word. By Dickens I did not like that book!

  4. Allowing students to choose their own book – or at least one of the books – seems to be a big step forward from my days! There’s nothing worse than a book you hate, however worthy it might be, when there are so many out there you might like.

  5. Perhaps it would be an idea for examiners to consider allowing students to choose books that are within certain categories…i.e., if you choose books by Rawlings or Grisham (and many, many others), there’s no way you could get a grade higher than ‘C’ because the books are relatively ‘easy’ reads…grade the books according to difficulty? I dunno…I hate discouraging any kid who reads for pleasure but I think reading for pleasure and reading for advancement can be two entirely different beasts. Just a thought.

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