Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Exciting Syllabus News

You say the word "syllabus" and some people start falling asleep and drooling.
That's because they are bored to tears by the very thought of school.
Not me, I love a first day.
And I love the end when the final paper or project is turned in and you look forward to the next semester.
It's the middle that really sucks.
Mostly I love getting my new books.
They always hold so much promise.
It's amazing.
So last night we got our iPods - how cool is that???
We don't get to keep them - we turn them in when the semester is over - but we will be uploading music during the course and other files. It is still kind of a work in progress thing, but I have to tell you I just love my professor.
Not in a girl-crush kind of way - no - but because she's so enthusiastic about children's and young adult literature. And she sees this course as a learning opportunity for her too.
Way cool.
The books we read this semester (and this is for you Caroline Cool):

The Catcher in the Rye
A Room with a View
Weetzie Bat
Out of the Dust
Girl with a Pearl Earring
About a Boy
Speak
145th Street
Persepolis
Feed

Meg, my professor, said that the books are not that onerous because she wants us to really focus on the media. I know that this list does not contain 20 Newberry winners, like Caroline had to read for her class but this is a pretty good cross-section of books dealing with disaffected youth and problems girls encounter. If you haven't already read Speak, you should. It's not a long book - none of these are really - but what happens to the female protagonist is devastating. Kids - and boys - can be cruel. We're also reading an excerpt from Reviving Ophelia which I read years ago when DN1 was younger. And to her credit she is a science major! If you've read the book you'll know this is an enormous achievement and she is going against the grain of society.
That's my girl!
Anyway the grad students have to provide a presentation to the class called "Bandleader Presentations." We have to prepare a 30 minute presentation about a particular book, identify and upload songs from that period, identify slang or fashion associated with the music, and so on. Out of 8 grad students only 5 were there last night. I so wanted to sign up for Persepolis - because the music of that period is punk/Iron Maiden/Kim Wilde/Michael Jackson (those last three are mentioned specifically in the text). A veritable cross-section from one spectrum of music to the other. Plus I remember the fall of Iran - one of those viable memories from when I was 15 or 16. And then later I served with two Marines who were held hostage by the Iranians after the fall of the Embassy, so that time means something to me.
So after we all started making choices, guess who shouted out, "I'll take Persepolis!"
Me!
(Obnoxious older student that I am.)
I'm so psyched.
If you haven't read Persepolis, get to a library or bookstore and read it.
It is a graphic novel (yes, meaning like a comic strip) and should take you 1 1/2 hours - or 2 if the kids are interrupting.
Anyway, enough exciting news about books.
Now it is time to get ready for work.
What a drag.
Perhaps later I'll actually have knitting photos.
Wouldn't that be something!

2 comments:

Purl said...

What a great class! I'm jealous. I used to love school, but law school ruined that. English classes, however, are always great fun.

Caroline said...

Intriguing list! I'm ready to start doing a little reading. I love A Room with a View and have even read it a few times; but the only other book from your list that I've read is Out of the Dust. It's so sad, but well worth reading. A lot of my high school stuents have read Speak and say it's great.

Oh! But before I start your book list, I have to finish my "knitting" related book, so I can send it on to you:)