I love literature; life without storytelling would be very dull.
After some months of bookish disappointment during which my intuition has failed me on several occasions, I am finally back on track with some hundreds of pages of great fiction behind me.
I have been following a thread, starting with “The Help” telling the story of African American maids in the US south during the civil rights movement of the sixties (Kathryn Stockett). Then I went on with Mississipi, another sad story of segregation and racial discrimination taking place just after WWII (Hilary Jordan). In parallel I was reading the autobiography of Laura Ingalls Wilder (the author of the little house on the prairy) which tells the story of pioneers in the American north west in the last decades of the 1800.
Before that I had read a Swedish classic, W. Moberg’s tale of a family of imigrants from the county of Småland that finally settle in Minessota in 1851, after months of traveling, with the hope of starting a new life, away from poverty, famine and oppression.
Then I deviated from the theme a bit, although I did stay in the Americas. Following a friend’s suggestion I read the “Discrete hero” by Mario Vargas Llosa and loved it. From Peru to Cebu and I have now shifted continent, reading Haruki Murakami’s “Sputnik darling”, but soon I will be leaving for Africa on a “Long walk to Freedom” by Nelson Mandela.
Reading is such a good and enjoyable way of understanding and learning about the world, working on your language skills, getting perspective and developing feelings of empathy; I really believe it should be an intrinsic part of school curricula.
The potential contribution of librarians and scholars of comparative literature to education is really undervalued, which is a true pity. Time to change that. I am also convinced that soap-operas are serious learning material, but that’s another story….