Possible future reading projects

wind sand and stars
wind sand and stars by ed ed, on Flickr


Now we are reading “Wind, Sand and Stars” by Antoine de St Exupery. I imagine we will take about 3 months over this book.

Next, we will read a book by Bernard Malamud (I’m thinking of a short story called The Natural).

What shall we read after that?

Here are some suggestions.  I don’t expect everyone in our group will be interested in all of these. Some ideas are (much) more demanding than others. Some of them are definitely “study” rather than “reading for pleasure”. I may decide to create new groups meeting on different days, for example I am thinking of creating a Study Group for reading about Free-market Economics. Some teachers of economics and teachers of Business English have already expressed interest in such a Study Group.

  1. Choose a theme for the year, and read several books on that theme during the course of the year.
    1. E.g. “children’s stories”
    2. or “children’s stories that have not yet been translated into Japanese”
      1. We could then also work on creating our own translation and, who knows? Maybe even publishing it!
    3. Basics of economics – reading 2 or 3 basic economics books for English-speaking highschool students.
      1. Some of these books have not yet been translated into Japanese.
    4. A 10-session course on “teaching children how to resist”. This course was designed by an American historian and economist (a retired professor). Here is his introduction to his course:
      1. Teenagers need guidance. They need role models. They need adult supervision from people who say, “Do as I say, just as I do.”
      2. Here is a home school course on civics, or economics, or history. Or maybe a summer school course in between the junior and senior year.
      3. Do not send a student to college without this.
    5. A 100-month course on how to be cultural literate in Western literature!
      1. Part 1 (books 1-50), and
      2. part 2 (books 51-100).
    6. A “Great (Western) Books” course – a slightly less ambitious version of #5.
      1. This course would start with easier books and move on to harder ones.
      2. Participants could drop out (or drop in) at any stage.
      3. The course would involve discussing the books as well as reading them.
      4. Homework would include writing your own discussion questions. 
      5. This is definitely a course of study, not a “relaxed reading” course.
    7. An 18-20-session course on logic and analysis, using actual English-language newspaper articles from the Japan Times, Asahi Evening News, and other Japan-based news media. This is a course in thinking, and how to think clearly. As a teacher, I see a great need for such a course in schools and universities, not only in Japan. Such a course should be taught in Japanese, but I do not know anyone teaching such a course. I cannot teach such a course in Japanese, but I can do it in English. Perhaps someone who takes my course in English can then create a similar course in Japanese. That would be a great challenge!
    8. Liberty and the system of individual enterprise. Here is a list of 125 books. We don’t have to read all of them.
    9. One annual theme could be an author, for example,
      1. Reading 12 books by Rudyard Kipling, or
      2. 12 books by Dickens, or
      3. etc.
    10. Some more “yearly themes”
      1. “spy stories” 
      2. “detective stories”
      3. “women authors”
      4. travel fiction
      5. science fiction
      6. Commonwealth fiction (writing by authors from English-speaking countries OTHER than the U.K. and the U.S.A.)
      7. writing by authors whose native language was not English, e.g.
        1. Joseph Conrad,

7 thoughts on “Possible future reading projects”

  1. Thank you for the suggestion.
    And, I was encouraged by members’ positive comments.
    Actually I ‘ve never considered a long-spanned reading plan.

    I was interested in number 1 and 2, though I think it won’t be “easy” task because simple and short phrases are sometimes very difficult for me.

    If the essay isn’t complicated, I’m also interested in reading some cultural reference.

  2. I am very happy to have your trilingual instruction, Marc. French pronunciation seems very nice to hear for me, though difficult to pronounce. What’s enjoyable is going out into the street to discover one’s own interesting things, or just walking, shopping, window-shopping, etc.But studying or learning is really fine for me, too.I also feel, like the author Saint-Exupery felt, a sort of “schoolboy peace”. He said in the book, “I spread out my maps and asked Guillaumet, the veteran, hesitantly if he would mind going over the hop with me. And there, bent over in the lamplight, shoulder to shoulder with him.”

    Thank you very much for showing many themes. I am interesting number1, 2,9 and 10.

  3. Thank you for the detailed suggestion. I think it is a good idea to decide annual theme.

    I vote for 9-3. How about Saint–Exupery this year, like last year’s C.S.Lewis, although interrupted by Bernard Malamud for a while? We can read French literature in English thanks to Marc’s trilingual character. The book could be easier one like “The Little Prince.”

    I also vote for 1 and 2.

    1. Good! An early response. I was afraid my list was too long and daunting.
      I’m happy to continue reading St Exupery, however, the quality of the English translation needs to be good.

      1. I have two copies of English version “The Little Prince”: one is translated by Richard Howard and the other by Katherine Woods. (I turned my house upside down to find the latter.) I remember personally I preferred the latter, but I don’t know which one is better or either of them are good quality of translation or not.

        What makes up the good quality of translated works? I’ve been mostly satisfied by translated works. As to Sainte-Exupery, how I want to taste his touch and style of story telling. I should’ve leanred French much harder.

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