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Friday, May 29, 2009

Where BIG learning comes in both paperback and hardback

On the way to one of my favorite lunch spots near my office, Oasis Cafe, I walk by one of those alternative private schools. The school's motto, proudly displayed on a large canvas banner slung across the top of the building, reads, "Small classes, BIG learning."

Coming back from my lunch, there were several students and teacher-types setting up tables and unloading boxes of books, presumably for an end-of-year book sale. Lovely. But my heart broke a little when I heard one of the teenagers ask, "What's the difference between paperback and hardback?"

"Oh my god," I uttered to myself, "Tell me you didn't get to that age without knowing the difference!" I weep for our future.

Ok, so I respect people who are willing to ask questions when they don't know something, but come on, you should really do a little thinking on your own before even considering asking such stupid questions. Preferably, before asking any sort of question to someone else, you have first asked yourself what you think the answer might be. It's amazing what you can figure out for yourself if you only give it a little effort. Surely this girl has held a few books in her hands before (right? can't we only hope?), and has noticed that some books have a hard binding, while others have a soft binding. Gee, I wonder.

Ugh.

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12 comments:

FrankandMary said...

I truthfully am just glad to hear a youth as a question rather than remain in the dark, but adults really get to me with this. Last week an adult by me was wondering aloud why there was a 3 day weekend coming up. *Cough*
~Mary

FrankandMary said...

Hmm, ASK not as.

Trovan said...

What are books? Are they those things by the cash register that tell me all about my favorite celebrities' lives?

Zac said...

The difference between hardback and paperback? About ten bucks, assuming it's trade paperback. Fifteen bucks if it's mass-market paperback.

Sra said...

Well, those adults who ask dumb questions were once kids who asked dumb questions.

The money thing is part of the reason that I try never to buy hardback if it can be avoided. Another reason is that I like bending the cover behind when I read.

Claire said...

I'd say it's the difference between a D+ and a C-, usually.

I don't know what happened. I mean, sure, I spend an inordinate amount of time reading, but I also make an effort to proselytize. I reach out to "the youths." But all they know are their FaceySpaces and their lappity-top boxes.

Yes, I stole that from Dennis Leary. Because I can.

But back to the point. Books need to work harder, or, more correctly, the Book Lobby needs to campaign harder. Whatever happened to "Reading is Fundamental," the emphasis being on fun?

Kids, both blessed and burdened by the sheer variety of external stimuli available to them, have turned off their imaginations. In harnessing wonder to technology, I fear we have stripped the next generation of its ability to create those things that will enchant generations beyond.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to climb down off this soapbox and go to the library.

Sra said...

Yeah, I think you're right, Claire. Maybe kids these days really just don't think, because they are no longer internal creatures entertained by their own imaginations, but by all the external stimuli of new technology.

Not that I'm knocking technology, or anything, but balance is always a worthwhile goal.

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Sra said...

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Sra said...

Well, those adults who ask dumb questions were once kids who asked dumb questions.

The money thing is part of the reason that I try never to buy hardback if it can be avoided. Another reason is that I like bending the cover behind when I read.

Trovan said...

What are books? Are they those things by the cash register that tell me all about my favorite celebrities' lives?

FrankandMary said...

Hmm, ASK not as.

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