Monday, August 22, 2005

a box of books

Blonde Champagne has a truly great post about the banalities of textbooks.

Actually it's better than great. It's fantastic and hilarious and all the funnier because, as someone who has had to actually teach with these monster slabs as supposed teaching aids, it's true.

Some textbooks are actually pretty good - they've been compiled with an eye toward people having to actually read and use them. Alas, far too many of them are written by really terrific writers and then bled of any soul or purpose by the publishers, who know that they must make everyone happy.

I still have my Lit anthologies from college. I won't pretend that I reread them on a regular basis (I still can't read more than two John Berryman poems in a row) but I've gotten a lot more use out of them during insomnia bouts than, say, the biology books that are unreadable even at 3 AM.

Editor's Note I have no idea how to make a Biology textbook interesting. Smaller words? More jokes?


tommyspoon said...

C'mon Lemm! You already know the answer!

Tell a story...

Who knows? It may even work for history texts.

Don said...

Good point. That would mean that the writer would assume that a real person possibly not versed in scientific lingo is actually reading what he/she is writing and perhaps wants to learn, thus placing a burden on the writer to think about ways to interest and explain concepts to the reader (as opposed to the bloodless method per lemming's post).

torporific said...

I used to have several literature anthologies, but I sold most of them for beer money. I think I received 12 bucks for my Riverside Shakespeare. That was a mistake.

Hugh said...

Exactly, Spoon. Y'know, Lemming, how James Burke used to do it old-school in Connections? I can just see the colorful little Biology textbook sidebars:

Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon's Duodenum.

The Little Engine That Could: J-Lo's Coccyx.

The Hardest Working Gland in Showbiz: Mandy Patinkin.