Non-fiction for senior students

I've been reading some non-fiction lately, partly to find something for my senior classes, and partly because I've been off the novel for a little while.

I started with Eating Animals thinking that might be a controversial but interesting read, but I think that some students would be really confronted, if awakened, by some of that information. I have taught Fast Food Nation with some success in the past. I might still come back to Safran Foer's text, even if just in part because of the beautiful writing.

Your Skirt's Too Short by Emily Maguire is a reworking of Princesses and Pornstars for young adults. I think some students would really get into the sexual politics and issues raised here. Maguire writes about her past as a slut and in doing so, questions our definition of the term. This would make the young reader think, perhaps for the first time, about power and discourse of sexuality. But, I found that she lost her way after the first few chapters, perhaps because the content wasn't new, or indeed meant, for me.

Lastly, I read Nice Work by Jana Wendt. I heard an interview with Wendt on local radio and was inspired to rush to the bookstore and snatch it up. The interview was so much better than the book.

This was disappointing, but perhaps to be expected. Wendt after all was one of Australia's better reporters, she could question an interviewee into the corner. Words are her weapons. Her writing on the other hand I found quite forced.

The objective of the book was to find out what drives people in their work. Wendt shadows a boxer, a priest, a forensic anthropologist and others in this quest. I just wish there had been more of the subject and less of Wendt in the overall book. The world of work is a fascinating topic, the book didn't live up to my expectations.

So, back to the drawing board. I'm waiting on my copy of Zeitoun, by Dave Eggers. This might be the one! I live in hope :)

Happy tales,

Barking Owl

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