here I am -

- trying to get teenagers interested in literature …

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me presenting books

Trying to get them to want to read books (instead of going online :)), and encouraging them to reflect upon what they have read. A very interesting and challenging task.

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students talking about funny books

These 17-years-old are part of a national jury called Ungdommens kritikerpris (young critics award), a jury which will decide which was the best Norwegian adult fiction book in 2013.

kritikarpris_JA1_8023_2The teacher and I, making lists of pro & contras

I have visited the class three times this winter, talking about criticism; how to read in a critical way, and how to discuss fiction, and how to give grounds for evaluations.

On my last day in the class we were visited by the newspaper. All images are from Stavanger Aftenblad

the reason of beauty is emotional

Here is David Brooks; adding valuable arguments to our ongoing study of art & beauty:

We really have to trust our emotions, which are much smarter than our reason in some ways – because our emotions tell us what to value.

- we don’t have the choice to control our emotions, but we do have the power to educate our emotions. And we do that through literature and through art and music to give ourselves a repertoire of emotional experiences.

 
 
 

how to be alone

Some years ago I read Sara Maitland’s book A Book of Silence. It’s a beautiful book based on Maitland’s own experiences of living alone in the Scottish highland. Now she is out with a new book, in a way it’s a continuation of the first, but How to Be Alone is also an attempt to better distinguish between the two concepts of silence and solitude. “I am writing this book because I would like to allay people’s fears and then help them actively enjoy time spent in solitude.”

The first chapter is called “Sad, Mad and Bad”, it asks:

How have we arrived … at a cultural moment which values autonomy, personal freedom, fulfillment and human rights, and above all individualism, more highly than they have ever been valued before in human history, but at the same time these autonomous, free, self-fulfilling individuals are terrified of being alone with themselves?

Why is our culture so afraid of solitude? Are people preferring to live alone a threat to society? Must they be sad, mad and/or bad to choose an alternative way of living? (You all know my longing for Antarctica, so obviously I feel it’s my own sanity which is under scrutiny here).

Maitland asks:

  • could some people’s peaceful happy solitude function as an antidote, or even a balance, to the frenetic social activity of others?
  • what, exactly, is our social responsibility in a society where most people feel powerless?
  • why does other people’s claim to be happy in a different way from oneself provoke so much anxiety?
  • why – and how – have we come stigmatize people who prefer to be alone?

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Greta Garbo chose to retire at the age of 35 to ‘live another life’