Happy July! Katy Lee here with a question for you. For the summer, we have assigned some classic books for our kids to read. They are books that I read as a child and loved.
But here’s the problem … my kids are complaining that they are boring and hard to get into. And they are “no fun.”
So, being the understanding parent that I am, I picked them up to see what they were talking about. I remember these books as being wonderful. How could they not like them?
And perhaps, after a few pages, I could kind of see what they were referring to.
For one, the beginnings are all back story with a third person omniscient POV feel. Third person omniscient is a method of storytelling in which the narrator knows the thoughts and feelings of all of the characters in the story, as opposed to third person limited, which adheres closely to one character’s perspective.
Being a writer and knowing how many recent released books don’t open with backstory anymore, but rather jump right into the action and reveal backstory a little at a time, I found myself skimming quite a bit. Which surprised me, because I still think they are great books!
I remember how they affected my life as a child … and are still a part of me today, and I want my kids to experience them, too, regardless of all the “telling” by the author.
Let’s face it, though. Literature has changed. We live in a fastpaced world where people expect instant gratification, and that includes quick reads. But at what expense will this be? What will be the outcome of this shift in writing? Will our love for the written word be trumped by our need for a fast read to keep up with our fastpaced lives to the point that the classics go away? If no one is reading them anymore, they just might.
So here is my question … Do I hand back the books to the kids and say read them? Or do I allow them to choose their summer reading? I’m sure many would say, “At least they are reading,” but if I give in, it could mean they never pick up the classics again. And in my opinion, they are missing out, even if the writing doesn’t follow the current trends.
So, what do you think? Is reading always supposed to be fun? Or will the work they have to put into the books give them more of an appreciation for the written word?