Friday, February 26, 2016

Weekend Reads and Thoughts: Feb 26

It's been a while since I've posted any links, and I've had some saved for some time now, so here they are to peruse at your leisure:

Do Teens Read Seriously Anymore?
by David Denby, The New Yorker

This article seems to be largely taken from material in David Denby's new book, Lit Up, in which the New Yorker critic spends time in high school English classrooms to figure out if, and how, students can be taught to appreciate great literature in the age of smartphones. From what I gather from the article, Denby sees rays of light in the interactions great teachers have with students, but is a realist when it comes to just how much good this can do in an age when students are transfixed by their constantly flickering screens.

Over the course of the next month I'll be reviewing Denby's book for a Catholic publication, and I'll post the link here when the review runs.

Smartphone Era Politics
by Roger Cohen, The New York Times

While we're on depressing subjects, here's a lament for the loss of readers, and real community, in the twittering age. I don't know if what's more disheartening--the world Cohen describes, or the fact that this kind of lament has become so routine, proof that this distracted isolation has permanently lodged itself in us like a cancer that we tolerate because we are too busy to be bothered with seeking medical care.

Teacher, Heal Thyself
by Ray Schroth, S.J., America Magazine

Fr. Schroth has been with America for over 60 years, teaching for much of that time, and has compiled some excellent bits of wisdom here from his experience. His piece exemplifies, I think, a truly Catholic approach to education--practical, rooted in personal encounter, and steeped in great literature.

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