Quest to Read Them All – Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded

As you know, I’m on a quest to read every book I own and this week’s book was quite a departure from my normal reading selections.  I actually couldn’t remember where I got the book when I first started reading it.  I tend to read romance, contemporary fiction, the classics, with a bit of young adult and fantasy thrown in, oh and the occasional mystery to break things up.  This book didn’t fit into any of those categories, but I still enjoyed it.  I should probably mention the title and author of the book before I get any further into my description…

This week’s book is:  Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded by John Scalzi.

I must have picked it up in the every book is a $1 clearance section when Borders was going out of business.  (I bought something like 100 books during the last few days that our local store was open, not just for my own personal library, but as gifts and as donations to one of our local hospitals.  It was a very sad moment for me, I was friends with almost everyone who worked at our local store and would be sad to see my favorite shopping destination empty.)  I can honestly say that the book was well worth the price, and has turned me onto a new blog to follow.  I love “Whatever” – the irreverence, biting whit and apropos social commentary is remarkable.

The book is a compilation of blog entries spanning a decade of Scalzi’s writing.  He takes on everything from Star Wars to Dumbledore, with a helping of politics and parenting thrown in for good measure.  While I don’t agree with all of the author’s sentiments, he and I do side together on some of the more important issue.  One of the points that stood out most to me was his stance on an author’s awareness of their own character’s back story, even if it isn’t overtly included in a book.  He pointed out that the author created the character and they are the only one that has a right to judge the history that was or wasn’t included in the initially published work.  As an English teacher I am in the minority when I say to my students that we can only attempt to interpret what the author meant and the meaning behind what they have written.  The only sure way to know is to ask them and while Shakespeare lives on with us always, you can’t just shot him a text and ask what the subtext of a play within a play was all about.

I am looking forward to following along with Mr. Scalzi, through his blog and perhaps some of his other works, on his continuing adventures.  Hopefully if I should every write he won’t consider my correspondence to trite and will make it to the end of the letter.

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