So here's the deal. As everyone who has ever heard me ramble about literature before, which...is pretty much everyone I'm friends with, I abhor classic literature. I was brought up on books, and living the life I was given, books easily became my always reliable method of escapism; the library was my safe place.
Beginning in middle school, when books began no longer just being books, and were turned into something that has to be scrutinized by detail, English classes became something I ended up abhoring just as much as the books we read in those classes. My escapism got grotesquely turned into something else entirely. My books, my beloved, wonderful books, were being torn apart and I had to sit there and watch.
Which brings me to now. I'm still the same person in that regard. I can't bring myself to analyze books that we read in class, unless absolutely forced to, and even then do so with reluctance and ineptitude.
So it's funny that a few weeks ago, I was offered an ARC from a publisher entitled Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots. And, you know, I know that by saying this, I'm going to offend people, but to me, this book was really openly environmental, and had a much larger, clearer impact on my environmental awareness and literacy than any of the books we've read in class. So yeah, there's a romantic subplot and family drama, but that's what makes it all the more enjoyable. And yet, I'm sure any "literary scholar" would immediately take a book like that and dump it into some pile, labeling it "trash fiction" and not giving it a second glance.
My point? Why not use literary texts that actually mean something to its readers to convey the messages we're trying to convey, such as the environmental ones in this class, rather than the ones where the point has to somehow be dug out of mountains of unrelated text? Why not give books the readers can actually enjoy and relate to, and more importantly, understand?
Just my two cents as a reader.
The books I read should not be disregarded just because they are simpler, more modern, and arguably, not as well written (although that is all a matter of opinion, and to a person like me, a book entitled Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots has considerably more substance than any of the hidden gibberish we've read in class).
(On a side-note, to be shamelessly self-promoting, my review for Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots is located here.)