What books would /lit/ recommend for someone who is learning English?
I'm teaching a Japanese girl at my college English, and I want to give her something relatively simple, but not hogwash.
>bourgeois make-up and hairstyle
>big manga doe eyes
>not even running forward to stab capitalist-roaders through the guts with a giant fountain pen
0/10 would not make revolution with
Anne of Green Gables was standard English-language reading in post-war Japanese schools for years. Partly it was selected because of it's political neutrality, but also because of its easy-to-read flow and idyllic setting.
She may have already read it, but if not, get her a copy.
>The novel has been very popular in Japan, where it is known as Red-haired Anne, and where it has been included in the national school curriculum since 1952. 'Anne' is revered as "an icon" in Japan, especially since 1979 when this story was broadcast as anime, Anne of Green Gables. Japanese couples travel to Prince Edward Island to have civil wedding ceremonies on the grounds of the Green Gables farm. Some Japanese girls arrive as tourists with red-dyed hair styled in pigtails, to look like Anne. In 2014, Asadora 'Hanako to Anne' (Hanako Muraoka is the first translator in Japan) was broadcast and Anne became popular among old and young alike.
I went to the Yale University bookstore and bought and read a copy of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone." I suffered a great deal in the process. The writing was dreadful; the book was terrible. As I read, I noticed that every time a character went for a walk, the author wrote instead that the character "stretched his legs." I began marking on the back of an envelope every time that phrase was repeated. I stopped only after I had marked the envelope several dozen times. I was incredulous. Rowling's mind is so governed by cliches and dead metaphors that she has no other style of writing.
But when I wrote that in a newspaper, I was denounced. I was told that children would now read only J.K. Rowling, and I was asked whether that wasn't, after all, better than reading nothing at all? If Rowling was what it took to make them pick up a book, wasn't that a good thing?
It is not. "Harry Potter" will not lead our children on to Kipling's "Just So Stories" or his "Jungle Book." It will not lead them to Thurber's "Thirteen Clocks" or Kenneth Grahame's "Wind in the Willows" or Lewis Carroll's "Alice."
Later I read a lavish, loving review of Harry Potter by the same Stephen King. He wrote something to the effect of, "If these kids are reading Harry Potter at 11 or 12, then when they get older they will go on to read Stephen King." And he was quite right. He was not being ironic. When you read "Harry Potter" you are, in fact, trained to read Stephen King.
Our society and our literature and our culture are being dumbed down, and the causes are very complex. I'm 73 years old. In a lifetime of teaching English, I've seen the study of literature debased. There's very little authentic study of the humanities remaining. My research assistant came to me two years ago saying she'd been in a seminar in which the teacher spent two hours saying that Walt Whitman was a racist. This isn't even good nonsense. It's insufferable.
I actually met the man who did these paintings in China. Interesting fellow. I'm considering buying one of his paintings online.