Riener now hopes to help and inspire the next generation of English teachers – and teach any adult who wishes to expand on what we learned in high school literature classes. He’s written two books about teaching American and European literature. And you can get a lesson, in person, this Saturday, January 9th at Politics and Prose. Riener is giving a book talk at 3:30 p.m.
Here’s how Riener describes the books:
Volume One, Teach Me How to Work and Keep Me Kind, (ISBN#9781475816945) focuses on the American literature course I offered to juniors. Volume Two, Puzzle Me the Right Answer to That One, (ISBN#9781475816976) considers the European literature course for seniors. Both are published by Rowman and Littlefield. [Both volumes are available now at Politics and Prose and online at politics-prose.com.]
In discussing the work students and I did in class, I’m trying to offer a defense of a liberal education. Reading about literature becomes a way to ponder Big Ideas. We reflect on the relationship of art to history. Ultimately, we talk about ourselves. The book seeks to inspire young teachers by showing what an individual teacher with freedom, trust, and terrific students can achieve in the classroom.
The book might serve as an introduction to literature and its analysis for people who felt they missed out the first time around.
Both volumes assert that high school students can consider the powerful intellectual and emotional matters contained in the literature they read. I try to honor the noble humanity of young people, despite the many assaults on their dignity in the high school culture.