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Disliking Books

In: English and Literature

Submitted By isaccnorman
Words 365
Pages 2
“Disliking Books”, written by Gerald Graff, tells the story of how he went from a child that disliked books and reading, to a teacher who read anything and everything. Gerald grew up a Jew in a racially mixed neighborhood and was often picked on because of this. He had refused to read anything other than comic books and sports books as a kid because he did not want to be picked on for being a “bookworm” too. By the time Gerald reached college he hadn’t known what to major in and he defaulted to majoring in English. Even as an English major student, Gerald found it hard to read “serious” literature. He found it hard to relate, he “saw little that could resemble his experience”. An interest in reading had started sparked to form in Gerald after he had read “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”. He was intrigued to learn that there had been a disagreement over the true ending of the book. He was tasked with discussing the ending of the book with his classmates and there he found his confidence. Discussing books made Gerald go back, re-read books and discover things he hadn’t noticed before and to view his literature from different points of view. Gerald later on recalls that it was the “critical conversation” he needed, that held him back from fully accessing literary text. Leaving Gerald alone with just the literature wouldn’t allow him to get “deeper” or more into the text, instead its different interpretations and theories that allowed one to truly immerse themselves in literature.
Gerald’s story was one I found very interesting a relatable. As a younger student I often discarded the books I was assigned to read and instead was fascinated by comics. Similar to Gerald all that changed when in high school I was introduced to the Socratic Seminar. During these seminars we discussed our interpretations and thoughts on our assigned reading, causing a room full of new ideas and alternate ways of thinking. Although my love or reading hasn’t quite manifested as strongly as Gerald’s, I do agree that discussing literature is what allows you fully immerse yourself in the text.

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