Wednesday 4 April 2012

'Extended Reading?'

 This is my mum's new favourite thing, since my twin brother's English teacher sent home a list. Unfortunately, it's not so much mine.
 Apparently, reading widely all the time widens your vocabulary, helps you notice language patterns, yadda yadda yadda. Extended reading is about reading things you can understand, and is fun and enjoyable.
 To me, extended reading books are what I call 'old people books'. They were written a hundred or so years ago, and the people who read them are usually adults who read them for enjoyment or were forced to read them at school.

 My mum went through the whole list, as well as the rest of the same list -- which the teacher got straight off the net -- and not all of them were written in the land before time. I'm cool with that. What I don't understand is the fact that none of them are actually interesting. They're either old people books or crime novels or dystopian novels, basically. And I've got to ask: how's that extended reading?
 Personally, I've read everything from Bloodlines (excited for Golden Lily much?) to Frankenstein, from Magic Bites to White Crow, and I've never thought of any of that as 'extended reading'. They've just been books I've liked reading. And sure, most of the books I've read in the last five years have been some sort of YA paranormal romance, but hey; all writers have different voices, different vocab, and different ways of looking at things. Whether all those vampire books have helped my reading, I don't know, but they've definitely helped my writing -- I can read a Kindle book and straight away tell that a person needs an actual editor, so hopefully one day I'll be able to be my own editor (I'll have to finish the first draft first though).
 Okay, so I'm rambling a little, but here's my point: my mum bought me one of the books on the list. None of them actually sounded even mildly interesting, tbh, but I grudgingly picked one on a long-time fave topic -- Greek myths.
 I'm trying to read it, I promise. I tried reading the foreword, and I tried reading the intro, too. I've got on to the actual bloody myths, and they're three effing paragraphs long! You then have to read at least double this of explanations about the origins of the myths and whay they're actually referring too, and unfortunately, they don't make sense. The refrences seem to be completely at random, and the amount of different names each different god/titan/thing has, they could at least be indexed at the back. Also: I don't know who all these Mesopotamian-Babylonian-Hemitite-Peslegian people are! Do I look like I know the full history of the Mediterranean? I sure well hope I don't. This isn't a book to extend your reading -- it's a book to concisely represent all the reading a history professor has done in twenty years at his University!
 Argh. This is my angry face.

 To summarise: extended reading exschmended reading. You should read what you enjoy, and occasionally be a bit adventurous if you want to be. But none of this crap is gonna make you any cleverer.
 If I've offended anyone or whatever, I am totally sorry -- I know I get really annoyed when people say they don't read books at all because it is a total waste of time or whatever -- but this is simply my opinion. Sorry.
 Serial ranter out!

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