Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Archive for the tag “Robert Louis Stevenson”

Lit One-Liners

BookRiot became another 2013 discovery, and I am hooked. How could I resist posts delivered free to my mailbox which concern all things books? I definitely found this one by Rachel Cordasco a saver. It will be incorporated into my AP warm-ups where I have students create micro-précis  statements as a ready-set-go for the May exam. Here are some pull-outs from Cardasco’s post:

    Posted by   Rachel Cordasco   from BookRiot            

30 One-Sentence Lessons from Literature

1. Hamlet by William Shakespeare: Just make up your mind already, dude.

2. Anything by Stephen Crane: It doesn’t matter what you do- the Universe still thinks you’re super lame.

3. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes: You can never read too many novels…oh wait, maybe you can…

4. Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser: Cluelessness is not something you want to broadcast when you’re a young woman in strange new city, for you’ll just become a skeevy-guy magnet.

5. Dracula by Bram Stoker: If you have a choice between Count Dracula’s castle and the Holiday Inn, stay at the Holiday Inn.

6. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley: If you absolutely must create a freakish monster thing, be sure to make a girlfriend for it, cause if you don’t, he’ll be really, really mad.

7. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka: Sucks to be a bug.

8. Macbeth by William Shakespeare: You should treat your guests well by, you know, not murdering them in their beds.

9. Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain: When you travel around in a boat with a friend, away from human civilization, when you do run in to people you realize just how crazy they all are.

10. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen: When it comes down to choosing between the hot guy who treats you like crap and the not-as- hot guy who treats you like a queen, it’s really not a choice at all.

11. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad: Don’t frighten the natives.

12. The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells: When the freaky alien things come swooping down on Earth and shooting lasers or whatever at everyone, run as fast as you can cause those aliens are mean.

13. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald: Yeah, yeah, money can’t buy happiness- check.

14. Anything by e. e. cummings:



are for


15. King Lear by William Shakespeare: Don’t bother arguing with your parents. Or your children. Just don’t bother.


My own contributions:

Beowulf by John Gardner: growing up in a cave with a fiendish mother definitely changes your perspective

Daisy Miller by Henry James: It’s true, when in Rome, or at least in Italy, as a single American girl, who should do as the Romans–Italians do–then again, maybe not.

Room with a View by E.M. Forester: what is about Italy and young women anyway?

“The Lovesong of Alfred J. Prufrock” T.S. Eliot: What if, What if, What if Hamlet hadn’t been your poster boy of decision-making?

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson: getting in touch with your inner feelings definitely deserves a second thought

A Garden of Verses


As children we begin our acquaintance with poetry through nursery rhymes and catchy little verse books and move up to reading by way of Dr. Seuss. If the love of poetry takes hold. Then we discover there is a world of rhyme through the pens of such poets as Jack Prelutsky (shown happily proffering his poetry pencil). And of course, Shel Silverstein.

Robert Louis Stevenson and Lewis Carroll come to mind for when we are older. And then what? We are told “good” poetry shouldn’t rhyme and rhyming verse is childish. We then go deep into the likes of Robert Frost, Longfellow, and perhaps Langston Hughes when we get into school. This is not a bad thing. Not at all. Life gets more complicated as we get older and poetry can be that reflection.

I wonder if this is where we lose the initial love of poetry, when we have to work at understanding it through its symbolism, imagery, and meter. Cats and fiddles, Jacks and Jills no longer suffice as poetry thrills. Tis a shame.
My freshmen groan and revolt when I trot out the poetry unit. I wish I could say I have swayed their opinions or created new converts at the end of the designated nine weeks, yet that doesn’t happen as often as I’d like. Most do appreciate poetry a bit more. Sure, that works for me–I’ll take it.

I wonder how many of us would continue loving poetry if we could only be allowed more Jack Prelutsky when we are all grown up.


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