Monday, November 28, 2005

Some thoughts on literature

I’ve been in the habit of going to Monash Uni library to do my marking. I can get heaps done there when I’m not distracted by housework and my computer (yes I know they have computers at the library but they are not so obviously in my way, tempting me). This afternoon when I was driving home I was listening to an interview on Radio National with Wayne Macauley author of Blueprints for a Barbed Wire Canoe. It has recently been put on the list of thirty recommended books available to be studied by Year 12 students in Victoria by the VCAA. This list has caused some controversy recently in certain sections of society as it contains (shock, horror) films, Paul Kelly’s song lyrics, a blog and even a CD, as well as novels, for example Camus, Green, Hardy, poetry, drama (Hamlet and King Oedipus and others) and short stories (Henry Lawson and others). I really enjoyed hearing the conversation between Wayne and Ramona Koval on writing, literature, the effects of a parent’s death at a young age, and more. I had decided to read as many of the texts on the list as I could and I will definitely be looking out for this debut novel of a new Melbourne writer. Recently I read another novel on the list, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, “an epic tale of fathers and sons, of friendship and betrayal, that takes us from the final days of Afghanistan’s monarchy to the atrocities of the present.” I found this book gripping and absolutely unputdownable. I read it in a day and was haunted by the writing. I am so glad that literature like this is on the list that our young people may get to interact with. I’m pleased that the list contains such a rich range of literature in its widest definition, texts that teach us what it is to be human.


  1. Anonymous2:19 pm

    Jo it has been lovely to meet you at the inservice. My very new blog is so as I start my journey into the world of blog.. The book I mentioned is The Sewing Circle of Beerat(?) and it is a complmentary read for kite runner. Well that's my first comment.Say hi to Miranda -Sue

  2. Anonymous5:05 pm

    JO, I, too, loved The Kite Runner and we considered studying it at Year 12, but decided instead on I'm Not Scared - probably because it's easier to read. Sad but true. If you're thinking about texts suitable for study lower down the secondary school, try Parvana's Journey. Our year 7 students and their teachers have benefited greatly from their work on this text. It's set in Afghanistan and is an amazing story of survival. It really opened our kids' eyes and made them step out of their own lives and consider things from another perspective. In 2006 our Year 10s are studying Walk In My Shoes by Alwyn Evans - I think - sorry, Friday night. It's about an Afghani refugee teenager who is locked in Woomera for some time. We hope this too will open our kids' eyes. Just thought I'd share. Cheers. Fraudulent Teacher!!