Admittedly, it is a bit weird writing up semi-formally status reports. Since this project is something I wanted to do of my own volition, I did not think about needing to write up reports of my progress, but am very glad I have to. They keep me honest and give me informal deadlines to meet which help the work pace.
That aside, where am I? I finished The Ocean at the End of the Lane and a post dedicated to that book and my thoughts on it will follow shortly. Currently, I am working on some logistics concerning what to read next: The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett or Conjure Wife by Fritz Leiber. As of now I am leaning towards The Wee Free Men as like the Neil Gaiman novel, I have read it before. In addition, I think that I already know in what capacity I want to use Pratchett’s work.
While I love his humor and insight into our society and the way he portrays them through unapologetic satire in his Discworld novels, I think that trying to assign an entire book by him is honestly unrealistic. The Discworld is not just something to be dropped into, especially into a book that comes late chronologically; there is a lot of context that is not necessary, but definitely makes the book more enjoyable. Not to mention that the plot of The Wee Free Men is fantastic in my opinion, but what I really want from the book are a few quotes and passages concerning the roles and thoughts about witches in this mock-up of our Earth. Since complete knowledge and context of the Discworld is not necessary, I should be able to work in the quotes and passages as prompts for small writing assignments designed as review and warm-ups. My intention is for the students to demonstrate their knowledge of the readings and class discussions in a non-stressful manner that also gives them room for play and creativity. If this is indeed the way I decide to use Pratchett’s work, I will make sure to include other quotes and passages that I find to create a well rounded sample of ideas.
Finally, I have a better idea now of some of the more scholarly sources I will need and what it is exactly that students should take away from this class. A post detailing those more fully will be posted later this week.