9780805095852

Lit Up One Reporter. Three Schools. Twenty-Four Books That Can Change Lives.

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780805095852

  • ISBN10:

    0805095853

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2/2/2016
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.

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Summary

A bestselling author and distinguished critic goes back to high school to find out whether books can shape lives

It's no secret that millions of American teenagers, caught up in social media, television, movies, and games, don't read seriously-they associate sustained reading with duty or work, not with pleasure. This indifference has become a grievous loss to our standing as a great nation--and a personal loss, too, for millions of teenagers who may turn into adults with limited understanding of themselves and the world.

Can teenagers be turned on to serious reading? What kind of teachers can do it, and what books? To find out, Denby sat in on a tenth-grade English class in a demanding New York public school for an entire academic year, and made frequent visits to a troubled inner-city public school in New Haven and to a respected public school in Westchester county. He read all the stories, poems, plays, and novels that the kids were reading, and creates an impassioned portrait of charismatic teachers at work, classroom dramas large and small, and fresh and inspiring encounters with the books themselves, including The Scarlet Letter, Brave New World, 1984, Slaughterhouse-Five, Notes From Underground, Long Way Gone and many more. Lit Up is a dramatic narrative that traces awkward and baffled beginnings but also exciting breakthroughs and the emergence of pleasure in reading. In a sea of bad news about education and the fate of the book, Denby reaffirms the power of great teachers and the importance and inspiration of great books.

Author Biography

David Denby is the author of Great Books, American Sucker, Snark, and Do the Movies Have a Future? He is the film critic for the New Yorker and his reviews and essays have appeared in The New Republic, The Atlantic, and The New York Review of Books, among other places. He lives in New York City.

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION XIII

CHAPTER ONE
BEACON, SEPTEMBER: THE FIRST DAYS OF ENGLISH 10G 1

CHAPTER TWO
BEACON, OCTOBER: FAULKNER AND HAWTHORNE 12

CHAPTER THREE
BEACON, OCTOBER: SYLVIA PLATH AND CONFESSIONS 29

CHAPTER FOUR
BEACON, NOVEMBER: NUTS MATTER, AND BOLTS, TOO 35

CHAPTER FIVE
BEACON, NOVEMBER: HUXLEY 44

CHAPTER SIX
BEACON, DECEMBER AND JANUARY: ORWELL 63

CHAPTER SEVEN
MAMARONECK, ALL YEAR: PERSONAL CHOICE 78

CHAPTER EIGHT
BEACON, JANUARY: SATIRE 97

CHAPTER NINE
BEACON, FEBRUARY: COELHO AND HESSE 107

CHAPTER TEN
BEACON, FEBRUARY: VONNEGUT 120

CHAPTER ELEVEN
BEACON, MARCH: VIKTOR E. FRANKL 131

CHAPTER TWELVE
HILLHOUSE: THE YEAR 144

CHAPTER THIRTEEN
MAMARONECK, SPRING: TENTH-­GRADE ENGLISH 178

CHAPTER FOURTEEN
BEACON, APRIL AND MAY: DOSTOEVSKY 184

CHAPTER FIFTEEN
BEACON, MAY AND JUNE: SARTRE AND BECKETT 203

AFTERWORD 222

Appendix 1: Reading Lists 239
Appendix 2: Beacon Students’ College List 242
Bibliography 244
Ac­know­ledg­ments 248
Index of Authors and Works 251

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