Classic of the Day: Lord of the Flies by William Golding

It should be obvious that I won't actually set out the plot of this book in too much detail.  If there is anyone out there who hasn't read it, I'd be shocked.  This book is required reading in pretty much every English-speaking school in the world, and probably in other languages as well.

So why should I even mention it?

Well, think about it like this:  Let's say you, as an adult, absolutely love reading, and wish you could promote every excellent book you read to 13-to 16-year-old boys.  You tell them that there is a particularly interesting book out there that involves a plane crash, a deserted island with mysterious beasts, a bunch of youngish boys and no adult supervision.  And best of all, it's violent and has been banned in many places at one point or another.  (There is also that gross pig's head on the cover which helps.)

Sounds pretty cool...  then you tell them to analyze it chapter by chapter to investigate the meaning of pretty much everything that happens.

I tell you, that's pretty much the worst thing you can do, and will make the kids never trust another adult again when they recommend a book.  Reading is now a chore, no matter how good the book might be.

So here is why I mention this classic: so that you give it to them before it is assigned in class.  I know, I know.  It's violent.  It's got language.  It's difficult. It has concepts we might not want kids to read just yet.  I say too late to worry about that.  I've already recommended Battle Royale, and we all know how popular The Hunger Games books are.  These things are plenty of the above as well.  Here is one that, should a reluctant parent hesitate to give those other books a try, would certainly not mind their kid taking a classic.

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  1. Virginia said...:

    Just read two related articles:
    -The Guardian just announced a "design a cover for Lord of the Flies" contest. See here for more details.
    -CBC has a report called Is the Fun Gone from Reading? "37% of students in developed countries read without any pleasure at all. They read for work, for information, anything but for the joy of the act itself." Very sad, especially for us public / school librarian types. What can we do to bring the fun back in? What do you think?

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