Books from English Classes Past
By ewillse on June 23, 2008
Confession time: I wasn't an English major. And now I am launching myself into the world of professional book reviewing and journalism.
I majored in anthropology, for many of the same reasons I am a voracious reader. I love a good story. And I am curious about stories that point me towards a world vastly different from my own. I love historical fiction and speculative fiction for the same reason: they tell a good, compelling story, grounded in a world that is far from my own commonplace. And I love the books that are seemingly close to my own experience, of being a girl and a woman, of living in a major city, of making my way in the world. Because the emotions, or the humor, the mistakes and pratfalls, might be close to what I know, but the details are often fascinatingly dissimilar.
I loved reading ethnographies that explored different cultures rituals' and beliefs. I loved also reading sociological and anthropological views of my own culture, examining and analyzing things I might otherwise take for granted.
All this is to say- there are some of the classics I haven't read. And some others I haven't read since high school or early college. I wonder if I would relate to them differently, now. And I want a community setting to help me work through a few of them- to help focus my thinking and hear what others might be thinking. Like the best parts of an English 201 class- without the midterm exam!
I'm a book reviewer because I'm making a commitment to be a better reader and a better writer. And because I'm curious about the new books out there. But I'm increasingly aware that I need both a broad appreciation for an engrossing, detailed story, and better honing of my sense of literary context. Grad school may be on the horizon. Someday.
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