Sunday, January 28, 2007

Dear well-read pea,

In anticipation of your future brood of children, I did some research about what will make them well-rounded and literate...

Ran across lists of Books Kids Should Read Before they Graduate. Here's Andrew Motion's list:

The Odyssey by Homer
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
Hamlet by William Shakespeare
Paradise Lost by John Milton
Lyrical Ballads by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
Ulysses by James Joyce
The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot

Seriously? ULYSSES???! For a kid? Ulysses gives me a panic attack if I'm within 50 feet of it in a library. This list only works if your 5 year old is in graduate school.

Hey, my wee one, I know you want to read Dr. Suess, but let's read the Lyrical Ballads first. Andrew Motion is a tool. Then I saw this list by Ben Okri:

There is a secret trail of books meant to inspire and enlighten you. Find that trail.
Read outside your own nation, colour, class, gender.
Read the books your parents hate.
Read the books your parents love.
Have one or two authors that are important, that speak to you; and make their works your secret passion.
Read widely, for fun, stimulation, escape.
Don’t read what everyone else is reading. Check them out later, cautiously.
Read what you’re not supposed to read.
Read for your own liberation and mental freedom.
Books are like mirrors. Don’t just read the words. Go into the mirror.That is where the real secrets are. Inside. Behind. That’s where the gods dream, where our realities are born.
Read the world. It is the most mysterious book of all.

Thank you, Ben Okri, for not being a pompous douchebag about books.

For your enjoyment...

1 comment:

pea in a pod said...

Dear Pea,

This is truly fabulous! Trust your neurotic pea, however, to look at a list of supportive and inspirational directives and interpret them as instructions that I have already somehow failed to follow sufficiently (HAVE I read the books my parents hate? DO I REALLY read for my own liberation and mental freedom? Oh shit! I've messed it up already!)

Love you,

Crazy pea