TSS - Themes

I've been thinking about themes recently and for no apparent reason.  Themes often are difficult concepts for my seventh graders to grasp.  They confuse them with main ideas.  When I encourage them to think in more broader and generalized ideas, they begin to dart their eyes to avoid all eye-contact.

When I read, I often don't consider the literary elements that I teach.  Rather, I question how the book reached me.  Did in incite emotion? Did it encourage me to change? Seek out further books? Question what I once thought?  And whereas I once considered works through the eyes of its time period, social status, and other historical elements (when appropriate), I rarely do anymore.  

I don't know if I ever really will or want to go back to that sort of rigorous and analytical reading.  I used to joke that I couldn't read a simple magazine article without analyzing it.  I joked.  But it was real.  And at times tiresome.  Sometimes, I wanted a book to just be a book.

Themes, however, are broad enough for me to speculate about personally and (and slightly) analytically.  I know of some bloggers who create thematic quests - "What does happiness look like?" or even broader still, "What is valued in life/relationships/self".

My non fiction generally goes through themes, but they're rarely pursued thoroughly.  I'm interested in Eastern philosophy and religion and have plenty of books on my shelves purchased for reading.  But most sit.  I use the non fiction classification as an example because it is the most obvious to me, but wouldn't it be interesting if I began cataloguing my reading (even if at first mentally) in general observation.  Perhaps if I narrow down one curiosity while reading (especially the Greats) I will find greater satisfaction.

Or, perhaps I'm just rambling because I've had an awful reading week (and a half) and am looking for inspiration.

The Real

Talent Show auditions went well.  Basketball games were fun even though we lost. Progress report grades were submitted. Garage sale was taken care of and furniture was sold.  In the world of Life, this week has been rather successful.  But hell if I'm not still exhausted and sleeping it off.

The Blog

I've been pretty quiet around this here blog.  I still have a handful of reviews to write (which I might get around to this week - fingers crossed).  Allie & I did discuss and share our reading rut woes, which began the Outta the Rut RaT.

I also did a post on the GLBT Blog sharing all of the wonderful books everyone has read for the month of January.  I'm hoping to be able to do this every month.  

The Books

This week, I read

I plan to read
  • Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens (still)
  • Subjection of Women by John Stuart Mill (still
  • Ghost Orchid by Carol Goodman (to get me outta my rut!)


  1. I don't think I purposefully analyze what I am reading, but now it seems to happen naturally. I never used to be this way, but reading so many classics-well, they lend themselves to it easily. I started to catalog the remaining titles on my list into themes and eras near the beginning of the year to organize my reading, but abandoned it. I like jumping in without knowing where it will take me.

    I hope you have a good reading day today. Read something fun to get yourself back into it. I think once I finish Siddhartha, I am grabbing a fun YA title to get me excited about reading. I need that. :)


  2. I found a list of simple themes on the internet and passed it along to my 7th graders. It helped a great deal, though they still have a way to go.

    While I don't read for themes, I do write for them. After many years of book blogging I grew tired of the basic review format - plot summary, what works, what doesn't. Now I try to write about one or two things that interested me or impressed me and that tends to be what the author says about a particular theme.

    I hope this has made reading my blog more interesting; it has certainly made writing it more fun.

  3. I go through phases of analyzing and not analyzing what I'm reading. I don't often set out to tweeze out themes, but sometimes when I find myself thinking a lot about a book and what it deals with, I end up considering themes anyway.

  4. For me it depends on the book. If it's a thinking kind of book, my mind naturally gravitates towards examination. If it's a just for fun book, I don't bother to analyze. I have a hard time reviewing just for fun stuff though.

  5. I enjoy analysing a book's theme, but I like it best when they stand out to me, if that makes sense. Not necessarily when they're obvious/easy, but when I can sense right away there's a lot there to think about. Whether that happens or nor seems to depend more on my mood than the book :P

  6. Gah, I don't miss discussing themes at ALL LOL...I always felt so stupid in my classes when we got into the themes of novels :/ Of course I like my novels to have a theme..but a theme in the broader sense..not something that I have to pick apart and interpret every sentence...where I'm actually reading two different things at the same time. I like a book to be a book, lol. And I think that every book has something important to say.

    Hope your reading mojo comes back!! Mine's pretty much shot :/


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