** Lit Up by David Denby

Lit up: One Reporter, Three Schools, Twenty-Four Books That Can Change Lives tells the story of three Sophomore English teachers, all trying to get their charges to read and to think. Their methods are widely different, but they are all committed and passionate, and we rejoice with the author about their successes. Not that the author rejoices much: he seems to have much to criticize about the books the teachers choose (he seems to think that there are “good” books and “bad” books, when many teachers just try to get their charges to read), their methods (they do seem to engage teenagers , for the most part!), their failed experiments (isn’t it great that they are trying new things?), and even the essays that the students write (the whole point of the class is to get them to improve on those weak first-semester essays, right?). I would have liked a less curmudgeon host.

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