Reactions to Books
Last weekend, an AP Language* student and I discussed a question her teacher had asked the class after/about one assignment, "Have you ever read [nonfiction] you enjoyed but disagreed with?"
I told her that since I was in h.s., I'd mainly felt that way about one type of writing: material I thought was wrong but was argued in an interesting way and made me think about new aspects of the topic. I'm relatively sure that was what the teacher was driving at,** especially since the article strongly took a controversial stance but explicitly extolled the value of independent thought.
However, I told her, in the past ten years I've found a different kind of writing I enjoy but disagree with: nonfiction that in a generally credible way promotes a social agenda I totally agree with, but that isn't precise enough for me as a somewhat expert on the topic. I'm glad the material is out there, and I'm not upset because it is predominantly right; I do sometimes learn from it; but I keep saying to myself, "well, almost" or "not in all cases."
As you may guess from my LJ, Bob, I feel that way about much writing in polyamory and fat acceptance. Sometimes this approach works well, as at the Fat, feminism, and Fandom panel at DetCon1, and sometimes not so well.
This leads me to wonder if others feel similarly about my writing but for opposite reasons: glad to see it out there, but it's too nit=-picky and might give comfort to the other side.
* Unlike in the days when the dinosaurs and I took AP English, now there are two tests: AP Language and AP Literature, the former keyed to Freshman-Comp skills though tougher, often including classical rhetorical terms. My high-school students often take AP Lang their junior year and AP Lit their senior year.
**I've come to regard the teacher trying to get a single answer--truly socratic, in my opinion!--as one of the endemic flaws of teaching I'm familiar with. Sometimes students ask what I think, in regard to a question I just asked about some fiction, and they're surprised when I say, "I don't know. Mainly, I want to know what you think." Then I do think about both my ideas and their answer, together.
Status: apparently turned into a morning person!!!