100 book you must read, otherwise you’re just a bit dumb

selective focus photo of pile of assorted title books
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Read these books or else,

Visit these museums or life

Has been wasted, just squandered

And don’t forget musical theatre,

The ballets and classical music,

See it and hear it before you die

Or suffer the wrath of the masses

And know you’ll be seen after your death

As one of the plebs, the meaningless scum.

I often see those lists of 100 books you must read before you die and I start to panic that I have only read maybe 30 of them. I completely disregard the fact that I normally read about sixty books a year, and just focus on the fact that I’m obviously not reading ‘quality’ literature.

But really, who cares? I want my students to love reading and I think that putting pressure on people to read a set list of books that has probably been compiled by a Cambridge educated man, is wrong.

Books open the doors to new worlds and it doesn’t matter if you are reading War and Peace or one of the Shopaholic series; you are still entering somenody else’s life and learning from that experience. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read something that is considered to be chick-lit, and ended up educating myself.

And there are lists for all sorts of things that I think should be absolutely ignored. Most people don’t have the money to go to London and see 100 West End shows, so are these people less valuable to society than those who have been lucky enough to have access to these experiences?

Life is beautiful because it is so varied, and I really wish that people would be encouraged to appreciate their journeys. Make sure you do educate yourself, but don’t worry if you’d rather not read 1000 pages written by a long dead Russian guy.

Much Love

Rachel xx

i hate that poem

red field summer agriculture
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I hate that poem, not because it’s boring

And not because the words are dulled with age,

I don’t hate it because it doesn’t resonate,

I don’t hate it just because it’s poetry.

And yet I hate it with a passion,

I wrestle with those jarring words

That pierce through skin and prick the eyes

With acid tears, the pain I hold back

Every day comes spilling out in tidal waves.

I am doing a team teach on Monday with the Deputy Head at our school. She is an English teacher and I look up to her as a role model and mentor.

So I went to her office today and we planned the lesson together. I told her that we were doing the poem ‘Poppies’ by Jane Wier, and her first reaction was ‘oh, I hate that poem’. I was so surprised because I had read through the poem and loved it.

She then went on to say that she disliked it so much because she has a young son and she finds the themes in the poem too painful. I was glad that she cleared that up and her reason made me like her all the more.

I try to get my students to see that poetry has that kind of power but it’s so hard to do this with young people. I guess a lot of it is down to the fact that they haven’t had the life experiences that us grown ups have had. But it breaks my heart that some students just don’t like it because they ‘don’t get it’.

I feel a little bit sorry for them.

Much Love

Rachel xx