Bunyan and Classics, a 12 year old daughter and Ursula Le Guin


Hugh Paxton’s Blog has just read John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. I bought it as part of my completely unsuccessful campaign to make my daughter read classic literature.

I shall spare her Pilgrim’s Progress.

It is, without doubt, the stupidest book I have ever endured. I know it, like its author, was a product of its time and that makes me extremely glad that I am a product of the here and now.

I shall also spare her Herodotus. He’s much more amusing but will smite dead any interest in classic literature. She’ll spot all his flaws and inventions and pretenses at knowledge in a nanosecond.

Instead my beloved daughter will have to listen to and read A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin. That book has stayed with me ever since I read it when I was about her age and still now remains wonderful. It is in its way about a pilgrim and progress, foolishness and growing up, overcoming adversity, achieving wisdom but it doesn’t force all that down your throat. It is a great story. That’s the way to make a young girl read more. Or so hope I.

We’ll see if this approach works! Incidentally my beloved daughter has never expressed any interest in Harry Potter. In her social circle Harry Potter is for nerds. Let us hope Ursula Le Guin’s hero, Ged, isn’t.

If he is, she and I will sit down together and she’ll be enjoying the complete works of Charles Dickens whether she likes it or not. I’ll start her off with Bleak House.


From Hugh’s library in Bangkok!

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