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  • Carolyn Sams

    I feel like this is good for all of us to remember! So often we get into jobs and being adults, and forget to read literary fiction...

    This makes me wonder: what would be on the GOOD cannon of literature for all of us?
    My contributions to the library:
    - Classics: To Kill a Mockingbird, Les Miserables
    - How about short stories? Like Flannery O'Connor?
    (And reading Middlesex now! Anyone else reading some good fiction?)

    • Jelena Woehr

      Toni Morrison. 100%. I think if every adult read one novel by Toni Morrison per year, we'd be kinder to each other, to our children, and to animals. She's the queen of making EVERY character sympathetic, even the monsters.

      • Carolyn Sams

        Great reminder!! I haven't read her in over a decade! Which is the first that I should pick up again?

        • Jelena Woehr

          The Bluest Eye if you like to read whatever is making the most book-banners angry, Beloved if you want a really challenging and paradigm-shifting read. Not that The Bluest Eye isn't, but Beloved is very hard to get through because it hits you so hard, but so worth it.

          • Carolyn Sams

            Added to my Amazon list, thanks!! I know I've read Beloved back in high school, but worth another go since I can't even remember it!

  • Alessandra Rizzotti

    Really interesting - I wonder if it's bec reading encourages kids to visualize and understand any empathy that they may read about in a book?

    • Jelena Woehr

      I think it's simpler than that. Putting yourself into the mind of a fictional character is practice for putting yourself into the figurative shoes of a real person who has a different point of view. Practice makes perfect and fiction allows people to practice empathy in a safe place where they can't be "wrong."

      • Alessandra Rizzotti

        I love that pov. Totally makes sense. I used to do that all the time when I was a kid- sometimes even with movies. I wonder if that practice of putting kids in someone else's shoes is used in classrooms. This was a totally weird practice that is still happening in schools- kids are doing slavery reenactments- and unfortunately it is a terrible example of kids being taught how to be in other people's shoes: http://www.good.is/posts/should-schools-have-students-do-slavery-reenactments. Would love to see more positive examples of this. I think mindful education is super important in that sense. Kids learn how to recognize other people's feelings- and how to understand where others are coming from.