Today would have been Robert A. Heinlein's
His name popped up on this blog once before
Here's a word for both the pop educators and the "hooked on classics" crowd: balance. In between the old kid-unfriendly classics such as Great Expectations and The Great Gatsby, uber-depressing nihilo-crap like A Separate Peace and Catcher In The Rye, and ancient works such as Beowulf and Canterbury Tales that require an advanced degree in linguistics to read, there's gotta be some fun stuff. Kids need to be able to develop the discipline to read challenging works, but for the sake of morale and future reading habits they've got to be exposed to literature they might actually enjoy.
I was one of those kids who hated reading during childhood. I took a stab or two at reading for pleasure but could never get into it - mainly because I didn't know where to look for suitable authors. In my early twenties I finally stumbled across paperback science fiction. The combination of fascinating subject matter and excellent writing style (particularly that of Heinlein and Niven) did it for me. I now have a book collection that could completely fill the bed of my pickup truck - old college textbooks, lots of sci-fi, some classical literature, books on history, current events, and philosophy. I discovered the joy of reading despite school.
Labels: Birthdays, Culture