Tuesday, June 21

Will Banned Books Get Boys Interested in Jane Austen?

From Annual Jane Austen Night*
Geek Mom offered an interesting article on Wired on how to get teenage boys to read the classics.

Why, simple! Give them a list of banned books, like:
  • Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  • Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs
  • Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  • The Stranger by Albert Camus
  • Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Whoa! Pride and Prejudice? Darcy's dip in the lake certainly was not written by Jane. Even Geek Mom knew that. So she went to the source to find out why pimply pre-pubescent boys would read a spinster's 200 year-old-novel:
"If you’re wondering about that last one … well, as Nick, another of the boys in the group, explained, “It’s good to read to get the cultural references.” I suspect the allusions Nick was trying to understand involved the Undead, but hey, I’m not going to argue with anything that could get my kids to voluntarily pick up Jane Austen."
They're reading the original in order to understand Pride and Prejudice and Zombies??!!!! Ack! Guess that's is better than endlessly playing World of Warcraft or hanging around the mall.

*Image: Click on this link


  1. You know it just might work!

  2. Well, I read The Mysteries of Udolpho so I could understand the references in NA...I guess that's not quite the same thing.

  3. I've been reading your blog for quite somtime and enjoy it a lot! I homeschool and our history/literature curriculum assigns "Pride and Prejudice" for all the high school kids. For one, the guys are willing to read it when they find out it will help them to get the girls! ;)

  4. haha! This is very much like who kids were lead (hopefully) to read Wuthering Heights because of the Twilight Series!!

  5. Ooops! I meant 'HOW kids...'

  6. Yes, it could work.

    If for instance you began looking at issues like free speech and censorship. Explore recent news items, look at famous instances such as Stalins Russia, tie it in with what is going on in the Arab World today. Try role play, discuss issues, hold a classroom debate on these issues.Get a local councillor or MP to come and talk about what democracy means today and how free speech fits into our world.
    Do they think free speech is a good idea?
    Should any sort of censorship be allowed?

    As part of this process a banned book could be introduced and read with them. Why was it banned? Do they think it should have been banned? Do they know anything that should be banned? get them to write a review about the book.etc.

  7. When my youngest son read Twilight I was so shocked. Then I found out he read Romeo and Juliet - He loved the latest movie and then I shared the '70's movie version -- not as crazy about it but he thought Juliet was pretty hottttt! So, you never know what will work so just give it a go and see what happens.

  8. Kathleen said,"Then I found out he read Romeo and Juliet - He loved the latest movie and then I shared the '70's movie version -- not as crazy about it but he thought Juliet was pretty hottttt!"

    Well of course if you can get sex in there you are bound to be on to a winner. A no brainer!!! (I'm trying to be more American in my phraseology these days.)