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by Thomas Hardy
High school English teachers know two things: adolescence is hard, and the literature you teach should reflect your students’ lives. Therefore, teenagers deserve literature that supplies suffering. For the students living through suffering, Hardy, and writers like him, can locate a student’s suffering and reflect it. That reflection can be a step toward recovery and development.
Discussed in this episode: Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd (dir. Thomas Vinterberg), mozzarella sticks, movie tie-in editions, melodrama, guys who are good in their faces, old drunks, The Bachelorette, Matthias Schoenaerts, and hot damn Michael Sheen is a great actor and seemingly a lady-killer...
Here is a selection of recommended reading for February, full of love, birthdays, and late-winter gloom.
When I saw Love, Here is My Hat, I needed to buy it again because Saroyan appeals to my heart and not my literary head. I bought it because Saroyan signals the pull of something or someplace absent; because the stories collected there are about people trying to make do, to make simple lives of love and happiness; and most of all because the book and that title I’ve never quite understood represent an offer. "Here is my hat." Perhaps it’s a gesture of surrender, or of begging.
What seems key about the novel is that what we think of as a historical evolution—or a descent from a unified to a fragmented perspective—isn’t an evolution at all. In fact, the novel has always been insecure. It’s just that the manifestation of its insecurity has changed over time.