English major Patrick Rochelle has a nice opinion piece in the most recent GW Hatchet. Rochelle urges the University not to shortchange the humanities, and cites last week’s Toni Morrison events as a notable celebration of the humanities in general and literature in particular.
As Rochelle notes, Morrison referred to reading a mode of discovery–not just of the self but the world outside the self. She recalled reading an adult novel lying around her Lorain, Ohio home and enjoying it while not really understanding a word. (Her mother belonged to a book club, and the book delved into psycho-sexual themes.) Morrison implied that this early appetite for reading and curiosity about language were key to her development as a writer. Her advice to kids? “Read anything and everything.”
I wonder if readers of this blog can remember “forbidden” books they read in childhood? I gobbled up novels by Pearl Buck and Leon Uris, and read Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying before I had any idea what it was about. (The cover offered a hint, but beyond that I was clueless.)